The following blog post is from my host agency, Avenue Two Travel. With their permission I have modified the post to reflect the services offered by Cavatica Luxury Travel.
Cancelled flights. Refunds. Vouchers. Rebooking. Penalties. Travel bans. Hotels closed. Countries closed. Where should you start when thinking about future travel in a post COVID-19 world?
The best place to start is with a professional travel agent. Cavatica Luxury Travel has the resources and expertise to help you navigate the myriad of ever-changing circumstances affecting travel. Travel advisors spend their careers visiting and making contacts around the globe not only to provide exceptional travel experiences but to have personal contact with on the ground experts in every country and reliable access to the most up to date information. This kind of access is useful when planning travel, priceless in times of crisis.
In a COVID-19 world, it’s important to note the following things will be very different:
Border closings, quarantines or warnings, and travel restrictions
Terms & Conditions contracts
Cleaning protocols for hotels and cruise lines
TSA rules by state
Flight rules and regulations
The way in which we navigate crowds
The speed at which we need to book to ensure a space amidst limited capacity museums, hotels, restaurants, etc.
We are here to ensure that when you are ready, you can begin traveling again knowing a travel advisor is your safety net. Your advisor is a dedicated travel expert who takes time to know you as a person and can provide you with information and options allowing you to make educated decisions on what is best for you and your family.
Planning travel is only part of the equation. The complete travel stop that occurred during the coronavirus pandemic is a great example of why having a travel agent on your side is so crucial. If you had a flight cancelled within the past 3 months and tried to navigate refunds or travel vouchers with airlines, you know the frustration.
Cavatica Luxury Travel working with the Avenue Two Travel air team, spent countless hours and days working with the airlines and fighting on behalf of our clients to get refunds. They rallied with their personal contacts to increase the length of time in which a voucher can be used and rebooked like crazy to ensure anyone stuck abroad could safely return home.
A professional travel agency, like Cavatica Luxury Travel, acts as your advocate. We care about you, your family, and your safety.
In the modern world of instant gratification, we can have shoes delivered next day, have food arrive to our doorstep, learn a new skill, and book our own travel all online. While there is a perceived convenience factor to the experience of an online travel agency where you book your hotels, flights, and transfers all on the same website, you forfeit all personalization and the potential of easily remedying a problem should something go wrong. Who do you call when you arrive to the hotel and it’s closed? Who do you call when your “partial ocean view” room has a view of the dumpster? Who do you call when the second leg of your flight gets cancelled? Who do you call when you arrive to the airport and your guide isn’t there to greet you? Or worst-case scenario – who do you call when there is a worldwide pandemic, travel restrictions are put in place and you can’t get ahold of someone to help you or a loved one get home?
A call center? Or your personal travel advisor at Cavatica Luxury Travel?
What specifically can a travel advisor do for you?
1. A travel advisor will act as your resource and help you navigate the following situations:
If an airline stops flying to your destination
If the country you plan to visit closes its borders
If the destination to which you just arrived becomes a hot spot and you need/want to leave quickly
If the borders close or are going to be closed
2. A travel advisor will always take your call. There is nothing scarier than feeling trapped or helpless during your travels, especially if you’re sick. Your advisor is your advocate and their job doesn’t end just because you are traveling, they will continue to work behind the scenes to find you a solution and ensure your safety and comfort.
3. A travel advisor is a professional. They have years of knowledge under their belts when it comes to managing travel situations and expectations. From travel requirements to quarantine measures and safety precautions, you can count on an advisor to keep you informed. A travel advisor wants to hear about your concerns. They want to stay engaged with you and keep your travel dreams alive during these times. A travel advisor will also be the first to tell you if travel to a particular destination is not a good idea or unrealistic for the time being. Finally, if an advisor doesn’t know an answer to your question, they have a whole network of people to ask. The situation is fluid and the travel rules are changing daily, but the let the advisors keep up with that.
4. A travel advisor has information first on what properties are opening or closing, what cleaning techniques they are employing, or whether the financial stability of a vendor is in question. There is always the potential that a vendor could declare bankruptcy, particularly when travel is restricted. Travel advisors will screen vendors before giving their stamp of approval, and should something unexpected happen, advisors will rebook your trip with another vendor immediately.
5. Travel advisors have relationships with hoteliers, cruise directors, tour operators, and on-site managers all over the world. When there is a bad situation, or a need to act quickly, travel advisors aren’t calling a 1-800 number. They are calling their friends on the ground and asking for personal attention to the matter at hand. You can’t get that when booking online.
6. Travel advisors are your advocates. When that flight gets cancelled and the airline is only offering you a voucher that must be used within a year from the date you booked, you will spend hours on the phone trying to get a refund, and more than likely you will never get through to anyone. Travel advisors have contacts at the airlines and they will get you that refund or at the very least a more favorable outcome. They have your back.
7. Travel advisors know the ins and outs of travel insurance. You never think you need it, until you do. With so many different policies and small print it can be hard to know what insurance will cover your flight home should a family member come down with COVID, or which policy will get you a refund should a travel restriction go into place. Whereas insurance used to be an afterthought, investing early will ensure peace of mind throughout the whole process.
8. Travel advisors care about you. They are in this business for a reason; they love seeing the world and they are brought such joy in sharing that with others. While travel advisors love getting you early access to the Vatican to avoid crowds, or an exclusive reservation to a hot restaurant that cut occupancy, they also love being there when times are bad. Travel advisors spent countless hours on the phone with clients trying to get them home when the travel restrictions were placed and you can count on them to always take that level of care to get you home.
When you return to travel, the most important thing is going to be having peace of mind. With the ever-changing landscape of new rules and regulations, you want to have access to someone who has your best interest at heart and has the resources, contacts, and experience to make it happen. Working with a travel advisor ensures you can dream and plan and travel with the ease that comes from working with a professional.