Archive for April, 2010

From Holly’s Desk…

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

The volcano isn’t the only eruption

Two ladies stranded in Brussels, a businessman bogged down in London on a four-leg trip through Europe, 12 high school students grounded in Paris, our escorted Ireland trip on hold—it’s been a hectic week here at Compass Travel. The volcano crisis highlights what we’ve been saying for years: if you travel with us, you can breathe easier when things go wrong. And, they do go wrong. Not all the time, not to this extent, but why take the chance?

This morning, a woman stopped in to our office and tearfully explained her plight. She had been visiting her parents in New London, but needed to get back home to Germany. Unfortunately, she had booked her overseas flight online and was getting no response from the website. Unanswered calls to the airline left her frustrated and angry. Could we please help, she asked.

Professional and efficient, Wendy took up the cause; she immediately contacted Lufthansa and was able to book a new flight for this woman. “I guarantee, once you start working with us,” I overheard Wendy say, “you will never do it on your own again.”

Late last Sunday night, I came into the office to rebook a dozen stranded students who were scheduled to fly home from Paris today. I knew the backlog of flights would probably cause a cancellation for them even if the ash clouds started to diminish; once flights resumed, the airports in Europe would experience the biggest bottleneck in history. The kids will be back home by Sunday, much to the relief of their parents.

It takes a crisis of this magnitude to really highlight the deficiencies in the online travel industry. Our experienced agents were able to rebook flights, arrange lodging for weary travelers around the world, monitor changing conditions hourly, offer options and empathy, and bring some order to the chaos caused by that pesky volcano. Let me know if your computer could help you do all that.

From some of our happy travelers:

“Wendy, thank you for the call today and the offer to help me over the weekend. I was very impressed with the support you offered me; it’s a clear reminder of why I count on Compass Travel for my planning.” A businessman trying to get to Zurich

“We appreciate all you and your staff have done for us. It’s a lot easier to deal with life’s little bumps in the road when we have great people back in the States doing all they can to help from a distance.” A mother and daughter on vacation in Brussels

From Holly’s Desk…

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Looking for an experience to write home about?

I’m not usually big on watching reality TV shows, but I must admit that I enjoy watching The Amazing Race. Well, why wouldn’t I? It’s about traveling around the world. What I really like most about the show is that the producers incorporate the culture and customs of each country or region they visit into the challenges that the contestants must face. For someone like me who is always on the lookout for interesting places to recommend to my clients, this show is a goldmine of ideas.

The travel industry, like any other, has its trends; often those are invented or reinforced by popular culture. More and more, reality shows are being staged in exotic places–think, The Bachelor, America’s Top Model, and of course, Survivor. Then, of course, there is a plethora of travel and cooking shows on the cable networks that highlight every corner of the globe. These shows not only whet our appetites for traditional romantic or adventurous locales, they promote the unusual, the quirky, and the outrageous for vacation hotspots around the world.

Innovative hospitality vendors offer wild and wacky alternatives for the creative traveler; you can opt to sleep in a cave, an ice palace, a wigwam, or a treehouse. Or how about staying in an inn shaped like a giant dog, or a helicopter turned hotel? If you want quirky, there’s a strange and wonderful experience waiting out there for you. Just call us and we’ll hook you up. I guess, when it comes to travel, imagination knows no bounds…