Quality. There’s many different travel suppliers – ocean cruise lines, river cruise lines, tour companies, hotels, etc. Once you book a vacation, a lot of your experience rides on their performance. Using a quality travel supplier will go a long way to ensuring a great vacation experience.
So you do you know if you’re dealing with a quality supplier?
Well, one way is to work with a reputable travel agent who leverages their experience on your behalf. After 16 years in the business, I can tell the quality suppliers from the others. How? How does a travel agent know which suppliers truly deliver a quality experience?
The Three C’s: Comments, Complaints, Complements
Here’s a few questions we ask ourselves:
- Do we rarely hear a complaint about a particular supplier?
- Will the supplier proactively work to make up for a problem along the way?
- Does the supplier effectively communicate both to the travelers and to the agent?
- Does the supplier treat clients fairly and with respect?
- Are expectations exceeded a majority of the time?
I hope you agree that these are all valid questions to ask. If the answer is yes to all of them, chances are we’re dealing with a quality supplier. It’s very obvious which suppliers do an outstanding job; which suppliers aim to please their clients and which suppliers stand behind their products. And we simply stop using recommending the suppliers that don’t. Clients are never shy with comments, complaints or complements. So we use our clients feedback as well as our own observations.
Going the next step
But imagine getting a call on a Friday night from one of the owners of a travel supplier? Recently that’s what happened to me. The owner, not the customer service representative, not the business development manager , and not the revenue manager called me directly. She asked me about a particular client’s feedback that she received from the on board survey.
So now do we ask another set of questions?
- Does the supplier actively solicit feedback from every guest?
- Do the supplier’s top management read, respond and follow up on each customer feedback item?
- Do the supplier’s owners care so much about the customer experience that they call travel agents for clarification and feedback directly?
Who is this supplier?
Ok so who called? Who went out of their way to find out why their client made a comment? (And by the way, nothing bad happened. The client was simply providing a suggestion regarding their fellow passengers).
And the answer is…..
AmaWaterways. We’ve always had a good relationship with them. And yes, we do a lot of business with them. Back in February we even wrote about who to trust and we highlighted AmaWatwerways. But now, I have straight forward answer to the question: “How do you know if you are using a quality travel supplier?” Answer: “If it’s AmaWaterways.”. I was so impressed that the owner was actively and personally working to improve their performance. And you should be impressed too!