Can This Trip Be Saved? Deciphering ‘Trip
by John Hawks
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Before you jump to any false conclusions, take a really good look at what Travelocity is actually saying in its ads. The online travel site is definitely not promising to resolve any and all problems that come up on customers' trips booked through Travelocity. Actually, the promise being made is simply that Travelocity will work with its partners (read "travel suppliers" like airlines, cruise lines, and hotels) to offer alternatives or substitutes to make customers happy if something goes wrong on their trip. In other words, Travelocity is finally saying it will do what independent home-based travel professionals have been doing for years.
In some cases, Travelocity is actually "guaranteeing" solutions that are already required by law. For example, one promise on its site says that, if you've booked a rental car but the company is out of cars in your rental class when you arrive at the counter, Travelocity will work with the rental car company for a replacement. What Travelocity doesn't tell you is that, if you have a guaranteed reservation, the rental car company is already required under contract laws to honor your reservation, even if it has to pay a competitor to give you a car!
OSSN agents actually go well above and beyond Travelocity's "guarantee" in several critical ways. Here's your # 1 competitive advantage as a home-based agent: You are locally based. If something goes wrong on a trip, or if your clients have questions before they leave home, you're very easy to find (as opposed to driving to Travelocity's headquarters or getting a knowledgeable agent on the phone at one of the big online travel sites). Second, you're already been setting a high standard of service with local customers for years in your community -- long before travel Web sites ever came along. When your clients have questions -- or they need help -- you'll be there for them.