Travel abroad is one of the most memorable experiences in an individual’s life. Often, travel agents will work with clients who are planning a trip overseas and want your assistance making the trip unforgettable. However, a travel agent’s job isn’t over after they have planned out a trip itinerary and booked the hotel and flights. Every now and then, an emergency occurs while a client is traveling abroad. One of the perks for travelers who book through a travel agent is the security they offer in unexpected situations, from canceled flights to medical emergencies. Check out our tips on preparing for and handling a client's travel emergency quickly and efficiently:
While it’s impossible to know what may go wrong when a client is traveling abroad, it is possible to have a contingency plan in place. Set up guidelines and steps for situations such as a client losing their luggage in a foreign airport, misplacing their passport, missing a return flight or falling ill while abroad. While the details will change case by case, you’ll know the appropriate starting point and feel better prepared to ease your client’s concerns. Your plan should also include a way for clients to contact you and receive a rapid response. Emergencies never occur on a preplanned schedule. It may be early morning for you when your client needs to contact you for assistance halfway across the globe. Make sure clients know the best way to reach you for an immediate response whether that be email, a certain phone number or social media.
No one wants to be frantically searching for paperwork and confirmation numbers during an already stressful situation. Make sure you’re adequately prepared to get in touch with a client, their emergency contact or their airline or hotel. Knowing reservation and confirmation numbers are essential for a fast response time if a client misses their flight or needs to reschedule the trip dates. If your client feels comfortable, keep a copy of their passport in a secure file in the event they lose the document while traveling. Additionally, have a list of each stop on your client’s trip and the numbers for the local U.S. Embassy.
Travel insurance is one of the most valuable tools in any travel emergency. From covering medical expenses in foreign hospitals to protecting clients in the even of canceled flights, travel insurance is safety blanket for unpredictable situations.Health insurance companies often don’t cover travelers while overseas. Also, travel insurance keeps your client from losing money in the event a trip must be canceled or cut short. The total cost for your client will be a fraction of the trip cost but can save them hundreds to thousands of dollars if an emergency occurs.
As a travel agent, you should do everything possible to prepare for travel emergencies that befall your clients. However, you should also give your clients the tools to avoid many of these situations before they happen. Create a list for a travel abroad kit that includes items such as essential everyday medications that may be difficult to locate abroad, copies of their passport, and some local currency. On the list, remind clients to contact their bank to make sure cards aren’t frozen and to be aware of any potential international ATM fees.
Have you ever had to help a client through a travel emergency? How did the situation play out? Share your comments and tips with us on Facebook.