It is so rewarding for us during these difficult times in the travel industry to have such lovely clients. So many are asking how we are and how we are managing. We have had lots of encouragement, patience and understanding with all the constant changes and regulations that have been put into place. New and existing clients have supported us with new bookings for later this year and for 2022 and even 2023. A few have asked how we have coped and probably the easiest way to explain our business and the circumstances is by comparing ourselves with the much-admired England manager Gareth Southgate…
I have much admiration for Gareth Southgate and what he has achieved over recent years. Interestingly when he was a teenager, his then-Crystal Palace youth team manager advised him to give up football and be a travel agent instead. I would like to think that our business of tailoring holidays, our communication and the service we provide, have similarities with the skills required to manage the England team. I am so glad, after experiencing some difficult moments that he didn’t give up.
Most of us (deep down) like to think of ourselves as amateur England managers. We know what team should be playing, what formation they should play and who we should sub & when – we could easily do Gareth’s job, couldn’t we? Likewise, it has become easy for all of us to book some of our own travel plans online, which often works out just fine.
When the national team does well, any criticism made beforehand is forgotten. When a holiday booking goes awry, as it has during these past 18 months due to covid, then help is required. This is when – if you have booked online – it becomes difficult trying to find out what to do: How to change a booking? How to claim a refund if you are entitled to one? Where can I travel to? What tests are required? This is where we come in as your travel expert to sort it out. A quick call to us and we can advise you all of what you need to know and you can avoid hours of searching for information or hanging on the phone for what seems like an eternity.
Summer 2020 didn’t go to plan for travel, just as Southgate had to change his plans when Euro 2020 was pushed back to 2021. Like Gareth we have had to adapt to new policies, amend arrangements, change and restructure and of course communicate regularly with our clients. No question is a silly question, but like Gareth we are here to calmly answer questions and sometimes have difficult and unavoidable conversations – diplomacy is essential!
Over the years in the travel business, we believe we have created the right impression and image to instil confidence in what advice we provide. We are trustworthy and have extensive experience and knowledge, so we know what we are doing. I’d like to think that we wear the smart polka dot tie and the waistcoat, whilst many others may choose a comfy track suit instead…
I believe we are innovative and able to adapt to each situation we find ourself in. Our aim is to at least meet, but hopefully exceed our clients expectations. The key to our success is working tactically, just like Gareth, thinking on our feet and perfecting those set holiday itineraries that take years of practice to arrange. However, there can always be those last minute hiccups when things change, so we also need to see it out and play to the final whistle. We care about our clients and want to make sure everything runs smoothly. It could be a change in flight, being stuck or stranded abroad or having to adapt to the constant changes in covid regulations.
We work extra hard to make sure all is perfect for our clients and their holidays. We are here to put in the time on your behalf and happy to speak on a weekend or arrange a late-night call to make things easier for you. Making sure we are available to answer any questions before you travel, assist you when you are away and be there to hear about your experience when you arrive home. This is all part of what we do and the service we provide.
Last-minute substitutions are common and never in the history of travel have there been so many 11th-hour itinerary changes. With ‘COVID-safe’ destinations being changed at the drop of a hat – our last-minute handiwork or substitutions are in place to ensure that we get you away or find the best alternative solution available.
I am proud that our national football team made it to the final of the Euros. There are so many positives we can take from this journey even though we didn’t win! I think we offer similarities in the way we and Gareth work and I am sure you would all agree that we should never underestimate the value of Sterling!