Dear Travel Agents/Advisors,
Do you feel compelled to find the “perfect” trip or vacation for your clients?
What do they mean by “perfect?” Can you control the weather? The conditions of the roads? A delay or cancellation on a commercial airline?
Yes, you can advise them about pickpockets in some cities or areas and tell them not to have valuable items with them, and to use extreme caution.
You can tell them about rainy season and dry season. You can even describe conditions of the roads in small villages. You can advise them to buy a round-trip airline ticket from the point of origin to the destination instead of using different carriers for each segment of the trip which can save money but doesn’t guarantee a cancellation if any segment is delayed. You can highly suggest that they purchase trip insurance but can’t make them purchase it. And despite all of your efforts, sometimes things go wrong, and your client might blame you for a not so “perfect” trip or vacation.
First of all, most travelers will not blame themselves – just because it is more convenient to blame someone else, and they’re trying to get an apology and/or reimbursement.
My suggestion is to send all advice in writing via email and ask for a reply. Make sure you strongly recommend travel insurance and that the client makes sure all paperwork is done for the country where he/she is traveling. Do not assume that if the client speaks English with no accent that he/she is American; many could be holding only a green card and have a foreign passport that requires a special visa to visit the country.
Personally, I used to assume that no one was American. I would always ask which passport they would be traveling with and checked if they needed a visa, special vaccines or other paperwork for the destination they wanted to visit.
Remind yourself and your client that “perfect” is a subjective term and depends on each individual’s experience. A travel agent/advisor cannot get into someone else’s mind and know their expectations and desires.
Communication is the key to avoid misunderstanding, combined with the knowledge that no one is perfect and life itself is not perfect.
Not even the best travel agent knows it all. Luckily, we are always learning, that is the beauty of life.