If you found this post through Google Search, chances are, you either have an interview coming up or you just got hired to work for a call center travel account. In that case, good luck or congratulations! While product training will definitely be provided, it’s still best to start your training with a decent idea of how the travel industry works. Especially if you’re a newbie.
Since most call center training could feel quite rushed and overloaded with information than any trainee has time to fully digest, it could be challenging to grasp the processes. So, in this article, you’ll learn the basics of the travel account, its structure, the parties involved, the job description, processes, and what to expect as a complete beginner. So as soon as you start training you’d have a pretty decent idea of the basics and can proceed learning your account’s knowledge base.
Table of Contents
What is a call center travel account?
A travel account is a call center campaign that caters to the travel industry. Depending on the company, the job descriptions vary, but it all boils down to this: ensure that the customers get the best experience out of their travels. To understand travel account, know that there are 3 main parties involved: the customers (travelers), the direct vendors, and the travel agencies.
The vendors are direct providers of travel-related services (hotels, airlines, tours, car rentals, travel insurance, etc.). Travelers book from these vendors. However, some prefer not to and instead book from a third party: travel agencies.
Examples of travel agencies
|flights, hotels, tours
|flights, hotels, tours, car rentals
|flights, hotels, car rentals, tours, cruises
|flights, hotels, car rentals, tours, airport taxi
|flight, hotels, car rentals, tours, insurance
|flights, hotels, trains, car rentals, tours
|flights, hotels, tours
Travel agencies do not provide the services like direct vendors. Instead, they buy tickets from direct vendors and then resell them to travelers. In a way, they are resellers.
You may ask: Why book from a third party when you can book from direct vendors? After all, wouldn’t prices be cheaper from direct sellers? Well, not necessarily. Because travel agencies buy tickets from vendors in bulk at a special rate, it is entirely possible for travel agencies to offer cheaper prices than direct vendors themselves.
This is a win-win for both parties. While vendors sell their tickets at a lower rate to agencies, they get sure sales in bulk. The profit must be substantial enough to allow discounts.
Pros of booking from travel agencies
For travelers’ side, there are even more reasons to book from travel agencies. Travel agencies can:
- Connect travelers to trusted vendors.
- Find flexible fares that fall within the budget.
- Take the burden off of having too many choices.
- Offer more convenience and flexibility in the event of cancellations and changes.
- Curate itineraries according to the needs of each traveler.
Of course, some customers still prefer to book directly from vendors but there’s also a considerable percentage of travelers who heavily rely on travel agencies.
Travel agent job description
Travel agents’ roles can vary depending on which LOB (line of business) you’re assigned. Some do sales, customer service, or a little bit of both.
- Answer booking and billing inquiries.
- Keep records of client bookings.
- Book accommodation, transportation, and tours throughout the trip.
- Plan itineraries based on clients’ budgets, preferred travel dates, destinations, and transportation.
- Handle unforeseen issues that arise (delays, cancellations, refunds, complaints) by contacting vendors on behalf of clients.
- Ensure that clients are aware of travel policies and requirements like visas, passports customs, insurance, and vaccinations.
These are just the most common tasks. Depending on a company’s requirements, a travel agent’s job description could vary into a more specialized nature.
Travel account mock call
To give you an idea of the typical issues that travel account CSRs encounter on a daily basis, here’s a mock call between a client and three travel customer service representatives from three companies: an airline, a hotel, and a travel agency.
Scenario: The customer’s flight was rescheduled a day later due to bad weather. However, she needs to fly on that same day or miss an important dinner meeting. She also booked a non-refundable hotel ticket.
Customer calling a travel agency
Agent: Thank you for calling Kwestyon Travel and Tours. This is Candace, how may I assist you today?
Customer: Yes, Candace. Listen, I’m a little tense here. The airline, all of a sudden, rescheduled my flight to tomorrow, it’s supposed to be today at 9AM. And I sure booked that flight for a reason. I have an important dinner meeting this evening. So any flight after 3 PM is useless to me. I need the soonest available flight today. Today, not tomorrow. And that’s not all. I have a non-refundable hotel reservation. So you tell me, what do I do now? Because I’m in a tight spot here.
Agent: I’m so sorry for the experience. I’ll do my best to help you with this as soon as possible. Why don’t we start with your flight booking then we’ll go over your hotel reservation afterward?
Customer: Okay. Please. It’s an important dinner meeting. For work. I cannot miss it. I booked it so early! And now this?
Agent: I understand the urgency of your concern. My top priority right now is to get you the earliest flight possible before 3 PM. I’ll check all the options we have for you. May I have your name and flight booking?
Customer: My name is Tabitha Ratched. Flight booking number is KLM359.
Agent: Thank you. Allow me a few minutes to go over the records here. One moe
Customer: I need the next flight today, before 3 PM. Nothing later than that. Okay?
Agent: I understand. Let me just pull up your records here. One moment…
Okay, upon checking here, we can only reissue tickets for the next day’s flight on my end but I’ll go ahead and call US Pacific Airline. I will explain the situation you’re in and check if there are available seats for the next flight today. May I put you on hold for 3-5 minutes while I talk to them?
Customer: Okay, I’ll wait. You have to fix this.
Agent: I will try my best. I’ll be right back. Please hold.
Travel agent calling an airline company
Airline: Thank you for calling US Pacific Airline. This is David. How can I help?
Agent: Hi, this is Candace from Kwestyon Travel and Tours. I’m calling for our mutual customer, Tabitha Ratched. Her flight booking number is KLM359 (Kilo, Lima, Mike). Her flight is set for today at 9:00AM but I’m seeing your airline has moved it to tomorrow. I have her on the other line and she’s in a tight spot right now. She has an important work-related meeting later today and has a non-refundable hotel booking also affected by the change. Is it possible to move her flight to the next flight today
Airline: Okay. Give me one moment. I’ll check it for you.
Airline: Yes, our apologies. There were some delays due to maintenance so we moved all the passengers from her flight to tomorrow. Now, the good news is the maintenance was finished earlier than expected so there will only be a slight delay. Let me see if we have an available seat for her on the next flight. One moment.
Agent: Oh, that would be perfect. Thank you!
Airline: Sure thing. (Two minutes later.) Thanks for waiting. There are a few more seats available for the next flight today at 1PM. This is the earliest available. We can move her to this one.
Agent: Sounds great! Let’s move her to that flight then.
Airline: Okay, I will.
Agent: For documentation purposes may I have your last name and designation?
Airline: David Smith, Passenger service agent.
Agent: All right. Thank you so much for your help, David. That’s all I need.
Airline 7: You’re welcome, Candace. Thank you for calling US Pacific Airline.
AGENT GETTING BACK TO THE CUSTOMER FOR AN UPDATE
Agent: Thank you for waiting, Tabitha.
Agent: I was able to speak with UPA and I am pleased to inform you that there are seats available for the next available flight today at 1:00PM.
Customer 7: Oh, thank you! Thank you! That’s perfect! I really need to fly today, you know. I thought I could never make it!
Agent: You’re welcome! Fortunately, the maintenance finished earlier than expected so there was only a slight delay after all.
Customer: That’s really fantastic. Now, I guess I don’t have to worry about my hotel reservation, right?
Agent: For your hotel, since you’re going to be arriving later than expected, I will contact the property so you won’t be tagged as no-show. May I have the itinerary number?
Customer: Oh, good idea. It’s H08945.
Agent: Thank you. I’m checking it now. Let me take a look at your reservation details. The room type, as you said, is non-refundable and is subject to penalty in case of cancellation and no-show. You’ll still be arriving today at the property but I will call to inform them so they won’t tag you as no-show. Just to make sure.
Customer: Sure, please do. I don’t want to lose that room. Thank you.
Agent: Okay. I’ll be needing to put this call on hold again while I call the property. Please allow me 3-5 minutes.
Customer 10: Okay.
Agent: Thank you!
Travel agent calling a hotel reception
Hotel: Good morning! Estrella at Casino Del Sol!
Agent: Hi, good morning! My name is Candace from Kwestyon Travel and Tours. I’m calling for Tabitha Ratched, one of our mutual clients. Her booking confirmation number is H08945.
Hotel: Okay. Did you say her name is Tabitha Ratched?
Hotel: Alright. Okay. I have the reservation up, how may I help?
Agent: Tabitha’s flight was delayed. Instead of 9AM, she’ll be arriving at your property a few hours later after her new flight schedule which is now set at 1:00PM. I’m just calling to inform you so she will not be tagged as no-show.
Hotel: I see. Hold on. I’m going to update our records.
Hotel: All right. I made a notation here, we will not be tagging her no-show.
Agent: Great, thank you! For documentation purposes, may I have your name and position?
Hotel: Emma Blatchford, front desk manager here.
Agent: Got it. Thanks for the help, Emma. Bye!
Hotel: You’re always welcome, thank you for calling Casino Del Sol!
AGENT GETTING BACK TO THE CUSTOMER FOR THE FINAL UPDATE
Agent: Thanks for waiting, Tabitha.
Agent: Casino del Sol has been informed that you’ll be arriving late for your reservation due to an airline schedule change and that you’ll still be arriving on the same day.
Customer: So, I won’t have any problem checking in, right?
Agent: Definitely not. Nothing to worry about. You will not be tagged as no-show as they have already been informed.
Customer: That’s wonderful! Thank you so much, Candace. You’ve no idea how relieved I am right now!
Agent: It’s my pleasure to help. Would there be anything else that I can help you with today?
Customer: No, I’m all good for now. You’ve been very helpful.
Agent: I’m glad I was able to help you today. Thank you for choosing Kwestyon Travel and Tours. Have a great day. Bye.
Travel account FAQs
Here are the common questions that call center newbies ask about a travel account. I will update this as I see more questions from my channel.
Is travel account hard?
Travel account could be hard but not harder than healthcare and telecommunication accounts. If we base difficulty on the percentage of irate customers, a travel account usually has less. Your hardest calls will largely involve delayed/canceled flights but they’re not entirely unresolvabe. There are a number of alternative solutions you can offer before you declare a case unresolvable. Of course, the level of difficulty would still depend on the LOB (line of business) you’re in. But by and large, travel accounts tend to be friendlier to newbies than, say, healthcare, banking, or Telco accounts. However, I heard that the queue could be quite unceasing so there’s barely any avail time.
What skills do I need to be a travel agent?
Aside from the minimum qualifications for call center agents, a budding travel agent should develop his/her attention to detail and problem-solving skills–attention to detail to wade through the complex logistics that are inherent to the account, and problem-solving skills to deal with unforeseen hiccups. And as with any customer service job, practice maintaining your poise even in the most dire of issues. After all, what good is a trembling voice in the face of an irate customer? Act like you know what you’re talking about even when half the time, you don’t. The answers will eventually follow after a brief hold and a quick consultation with either your Team Lead or your Knowledge Base.