Travellers today face a challenging world where natural disasters, violence and political unrest make the news on an almost daily basis. During these difficult times, travel agents can become superheroes in the eyes of their clients, especially now that Amadeus Travel Platform Connect allows them to assist their clients at anytime and from anywhere.
Robyn Daneel-Spicer, Director Sure Stellenbosch Travel explains she has had clients involved in many predicaments, from volcanic eruptions, to being diverted because of terror attacks, to clients missing their first day of expo due to technical issues.
But the time Robyn really felt she made a difference in her client’s life, was when the client’s husband suffered a severe heart attack whilst she was travelling in the Kruger. Says Robyn: “She was notified that she would need to come home immediately and with the expertise of the ladies in our office and the help of our partner airlines, we were able to bring her home to be with family within 4 hours of her receiving the call.”
Thanks to Selling Platform Connect, helping clients get out of prickly situations has become a lot ‘easier’ to deal with, according to Robyn. She explains the new platform means she is no longer restricted to office hours. “If I’m out and about, I’m not forced to rush home to get to my laptop, I can connect from my mobile or iPad anywhere. It makes our lives much more flexible and allows us to be on call whenever our clients need us.”
The strangest place from where Robyn has been able to help her clients since starting to use Amadeus Selling Platform Connect? “I’ve reissued a ticket from a bathroom in the movie theatre,” she laughs.
Communication with clients is key, explains Robyn and this is where technology can make a world of difference. She says: “Technology has helped us to constantly be in contact with our clients, reminding them of the services and products that we offer and making them know that we are always around to assist, from monthly mailers to small messages to one-day only sales, keeping in constant contact with clients will remind them of why they made use of us in the first place and that dealing with a person is far more reliable than dealing with a website.”
Robyn admits that the emergence of technology in the travel industry means that clients are now able to book a lot of routings themselves, but it has also helped travel agents become more efficient. “Travel agents are able to receive training via the internet now, making sure that we are always up to date with changes in products and the latest in news from suppliers. This keeps us ahead of the curve when our clients have the same amount of information available to them as we do.”
Being a travel agent was definitely not Robyn’s childhood dream. “I actually swore blind I was never going to work in travel funny enough,” she says. She explains that her dad, Richard Daneel, has been involved in travel for over 35 years now. Says Robyn: “After working in the hospitality industry, he asked if I would join Sure Stellenbosch Travel in 2008 for just a couple of months to help out, it is 2016 and I have still not left.”
She has since encountered quite a few funny situations with clients. One of her clients insisted he wanted to be quoted for a trip to (PH) uket – PH pronounced as an F. “The client was adamant that our pronunciation was incorrect.”
Travel is now a passion for Robyn. “I learnt that after working in the industry for three months when I was invited on my first Educational and then had the privilege of travelling quite a bit over the next few years,” she says, adding that those who can travel must definitely do so.
The fact that she can now help people discover her passion is what motivates Robyn. “I love to be the one sending them on their dream trips, helping to plan their romantic honeymoons and advising what they must and must not do. The researching alone is the best part – there is always something new to learn, the industry is ever changing and I would like to be a part of that change.”