South Australia’s recent COVID-19 scare sparked an all-too-familiar scramble to get travellers home before border closures for many agents.
By now agents are more than familiar with the drill: hours on the phone trying to rearrange seats on flights that were quickly selling out, plus more time invested in cancelling or postponing land arrangements.
Personal travel manager (PTM) Emma Ross, who is TravelManagers’ representative for Bulimba in Queensland, had a group of clients who had just arrived in South Australia when the news came of imminent border closures.
Realising that they would have to curtail their trip, they were, however, able to enjoy one final day of golfing, knowing their trusted agent was taking care of the business of getting them home before the border closures came into effect.
“The group had arrived in Adelaide on Sunday morning for a much-needed boy’s golfing trip,” Ross said.
“They had planned to spend the week hitting golf balls and visiting wineries, but as they headed out onto the course for their first day of golfing on Monday morning, I was listening to the Queensland Premier make her announcement that the borders would close at midnight.”
Realising that if her group were to continue with their travel plans or delay their return by even a day they would be required to quarantine for fourteen days on their return, Ross alerted her clients to the evolving situation and set about the task of changing their bookings.
“While they played on in the South Australian sunshine, I immediately rebooked their flights and then got on the phone to Qantas to have their tickets revalidated. It took a couple of hours on hold to get everything sorted, during which time all four available flights for that day were sold out,” she said
“If they had been trying to manage the changes themselves, they would have missed out on not just their treasured day of golf but probably also on a suitable flight home.”
Instead, Ross was able to tell her clients to enjoy their day of golf while she took care of the necessary arrangements, and that they should ensure they were at Adelaide airport in time to catch their evening flight home. Now safely back in Queensland, her clients told Ross that their experience has given them a first-hand example of the importance of working with a travel agent.
“They were so grateful for my assistance that they actually insisted I charge them a fee for my time,” Ross said.
“Sure, I missed out on my commission from the winery tours and accommodation that needed to be cancelled, but I have gained some very happy and grateful clients who are now busy telling all of their friends to use me in the future.”