|Kim Salter |
TravelManagers’ Kim Salter, representative from Melbourne, recently faced a situation that highlighted again the relevance of the ever growing responsibility of being and having a personal travel manager.
Taking a phone call from her client’s husband Ms Salter was advised that his wife’s sister had just passed away. Ms Salter’s client was in Kuala Lumpur on business and given it was the middle of the night, her client’s husband decided not to disturb his wife’s sleep as she would need to be well rested when she was told of the distressing news.
“All that was running through my mind was how can I assist in getting my client home as quickly and as stress free as possible.”
While her client slept Ms Salter cancelled her current booking, booked her on the next available flight to Melbourne, started the process of the refund of the original ticket and prepared the paperwork for her insurance claim. As she woke in Kuala Lumpur her husband called to advise of the situation and the arrangements made.
“I had a car waiting for her in the lobby of the hotel and she was transferred straight off to the airport to fly home to be with her family.”
Ms Salter says she was very aware of how different her client’s experience would have been had she done her own booking online.
“There’s no doubt in my mind it would have added significant stress and taken longer to get home, at a time when you just don’t need it. As it was the airline she had booked with could not accommodate her on a flight home that day, so while it was easy for me to contact a different airline, when you are in a foreign country and trying to cope with the stress of knowing you’ve just lost your sister, well it just doesn’t bare thinking about.”
Ms Salter says it’s very common that people don’t realize how much of a difference having a personal travel manager makes until something actually happens to them or someone they know.
“This experience has had a massive impact on my client, she has a new respect for the service I offer and now fully sees the value and the full service she’s receives from me. She’s now an honorary ambassador for TravelManagers frequently referring others to me.”
Her client’s husband called the next day to thank Ms Salter for the stress she had removed from the situation.
“He was so appreciative of the logistical issues I had taken care of to get his wife home plus handling the insurance claim but he also said how much my knowledge and experience provided reassurance to him that his wife would be returning as quickly and as stress-free as was humanly possible.”
Ms Salter believes there is a huge difference in being a personal travel manager compared to being a travel agent.
“Previously I always dealt with clients in a professional manner but I left them at work when I went home. My focus was always driven by my employer and the sales targets that were set. I often felt that my clients were missing out on not only my time but the service that they deserved. It didn’t sit right with me, I felt like I was not giving clients my best. Becoming a personal travel manager has allowed me to consult with my clients on my terms as well as providing a personal service, treating each client’s trip as if it was my own. I take the time to consider how each step can be improved for ease of travel and convenience for the traveller.”
Ms Salter says she’s not lost one client since she started with TravelManagers.
My ‘client comes first’ attitude really does work for repeat business. I answer calls 24 hours a day seven days a week, I never look at the commercial value each client will bring to me and my primary focus is to consider the best options that most suits my client. I have finally found a role which morally sits right with me.”
Ms Salter says she might work a little longer on each client but that she’s finding that less is being spent on marketing because of the strength of the support from TravelManagers and their brand plus the repeat/referrals she is getting from her clients.
“I am really enjoying each consultation as I don’t have the added pressure of needing to get “X” amount from my bookings a day. Last week I spent four hours with a lovely Yugoslavian lady who told me all of her experiences of moving to Australia, living in Paris and leaving her family. She even gave me some delicious cakes; we could have chatted all day. I’ve learnt from being a personal travel manager that my clients themselves and their experiences bring significant value to my business, it’s just a different value.”
With almost three years at TravelManagers Ms Salter says she feels like her life is complete. For more information and a confidential conversation about joining TravelManagers, please email Suzanne Laister at email@example.com
“I have always loved working in travel but I have always struggled with the focus of big retail travel giants, it always felt as if I was working against what I believed in. I’ve established my business in a way that suits me perfectly and ironically but most importantly, it also suits my clients.”