From the Field: Preventing Negative Experiences
No group tour provider wants to hear that his or her clients aren't happy with their lodgings. Justin Shuler and Camille Sperrazza share tips for preventing dissatisfaction.
"The best way to combat potentially negative experiences for our student groups is for our representatives to know our vendors well by building quality relationships, to know and understand the logistics of what we are trying to accomplish, and to always prepare for the unexpected. The bottom line is, 100 percent of our successful tours relied on our industry partners doing the jobs we selected them to do. We are travel planners who don't own or control hotels, buses/airplanes, restaurants, attractions, et cetera. It is our job to select the best fit for our clients based on budget, the ability to meet the client's needs/wants, and, most importantly, our belief that the experience/service being contracted can be fulfilled properly."
—Justin M. Shuler, President, Group Travel Network
"I have had only a handful of people arrive and tell me they did not like a resort. That's because I usually only recommend properties I have personally visited. I travel frequently, make it a point to meet hotel management, and record detailed information about resorts so that I can match clients with the type of experience they are looking for. I feel very comfortable recommending resorts and hotels I have seen, and ships I have sailed. I think it is imperative that agents travel and experience what their clients will experience. It is the only way they can book clients with confidence. Should an issue arise, a call or an e-mail to the resort's manager can usually solve the problem—especially if this is someone you have already established a relationship with."
—Camille Pepe Sperrazza, Owner, The World Awaits Travel
Photo of Justin Shuler courtesy of Jeff Lilley.