When The Travel Agent’s Role Comes Full Circle Despite Do-It-Yourself Technology
What inspired you to enter the travel industry?
I have family overseas and have always traveled. I’ve really learned from my traveling experience and I like to help people to do the same.
When you have someone you can trust who takes care of all the little details of your trip, you travel feeling that bit more relaxed, you’re able to maximize the experience.
You can buy your tickets online, but when you get stuck somewhere, how many phone calls will you have to make when your flight is canceled causing endless stress?
If you’re stuck or just have a question the stress should be on your travel agent’s shoulders not on yours! This is what made us start Air Today; we want to give everyone the service they deserve.
What is your background in the travel industry?
We have worked in the travel industry for five years, each year we’ve experienced growth and improvement b”h and we have representatives in Israel, USA and Europe.
What kind of bookings do you get asked to do the most?
We do air travel the most then as a result car rentals would be next, as most customers would want a car on the other side. Then we get asked to do visas quite a lot and then in close fourth and fifth place are insurance and hotel bookings.
What are the main advantages of booking through you?
Booking through us means it’s all in one place: Flights, car rental, hotels, insurance, visas, cell phone rentals etc.
What differentiates your service from other travel agents?
Nothing is too big; we do everything possible for customer satisfaction. We check all available options to get you to your destination, the easiest route for the lowest prices.
If there’s a problem we are here to help whether it’s the early hours of the morning or late at night.
What characteristics are required to be a successful travel agent?
You need a lot of patience; you need to be a good listener. You can’t drop any of those plates you’re balancing. You have 20 customers traveling; you need to be cognizant of all those schedules and expect the unexpected and prepare contingency plans.
Booking through us means it’s all in one place: Flights, car rental, hotels, insurance, visas,
cellphone rentals etc.
What skills are needed to succeed in this industry?
You need to be reachable and available at all times. You need to be the type to take responsibility for your actions, whether the impact was positive or negative. Take full responsibility and get working on solutions.
Please explain how a travel agent goes the extra mile for his customer.
We had a customer who flew from Tel Aviv to Toronto with two stopovers: one in Kiev and the next one was New York. His flight to Kiev was delayed and he was about to miss his connecting flight from NY to Toronto.
While our customer was on his way from Kiev to New York we did everything we could to get him a different flight from New York to Toronto. When he landed in New York, an airline agent was there waiting for him and our customer was promptly given a new ticket!
How important is it for you to build up a long-term relationship with your customers?
This is important, when it comes to frequent customers you’re going to know right away what he usually needs and likes and what you can offer him. You already have all his information including his frequent flyer account. We have passport details on file and a program that tracks expiry dates; we’ve been known to call customers saying, “Your passport will expire within six months.”
What mechanisms do you have in place to make last-minute bookings for emergency situations?
As an agent we have solutions for all kinds of situations, which includes last-minute booking and emergencies. We talk straight to the airline and have connections there and with Hashem’s help we manage to help our customers get to their destination with very little notice.
To what degree has online booking changed the travel industry?
In the beginning when the online booking has started, travel agencies had a much harder time.
People would say they can buy online in a few clicks and it’s done. Zehu. However to the detriment of many, they found out that the ticket is sorted, but what about service? It is definitely safer to book through travel agencies, if you’re stuck somewhere or somehow, someone can get you out of your bind and you won’t be on call waiting for hours or transferred from one anonymous customer service desk to another.
Good news for the people who still want to order flights in a few clicks:
We can provide the same excellent service via WhatsApp. Book your tickets on the train home from work. Technology does help, don’t get us wrong, it enables us to stay in contact with our customers and as we’ve just said, makes initial booking simpler for the customer, which in turn helps our own success.
We can get your ticket and boarding pass to your smartphone, which helps you track your travel plan.
Describe your approach to planning a complex itinerary and are there destinations you would recommend for couples or families.
I don’t have one stock answer for that. It really depends what they’re interested in, some want to see the Alps, some just want to like on a beach and some want museums, cities and culture. I’ve learned to listen, help people out and be there for them.
Do you have a long-term vision for your company?
We hope to grow and offer more services, we’re looking at options like pre-arranged group trips either for vacations or for visiting Kivrei Zaddikim. We are developing an information center, which will help tourists in Israel with the necessary information to tour Israel.
Air Today can be reached on 02-641-2454, +1-845-414-3544 WhatsApp 972-55-662-3278 or emailed firstname.lastname@example.org