Did You Have a Travel Headache in 2020?
Technology has certainly opened the world of travel over the past several years, making it seemingly easy to book a dream trip on your own. If there is anything 2020 has taught the adventure and luxury traveler, however, is the importance of using a travel advisor to plan, organize and execute the trip details and to step in when problems arise. For those who planned their own trips that were canceled or postponed in 2020, the number of hours and headaches dealing with the various components of a trip are mind boggling, especially when travel providers reduced their staff, were impossible to reach via phone, ignored emails and text messages and went into a seemingly black hole. Even if the traveler was lucky enough to reach a human, that person was not always able to provide a satisfactory or timely alternative for a rebooking.
As a trusted travel advisor, Latitude was able to offer clients peace of mind about their trips, go to bat for clients seeking airline ticket refunds, rebook existing trips to future dates, negotiate rate holds for trips that were postponed into 2021 and 2022, and assist clients in navigating the new normal of COVID-19 testing, new airline booking rules, in transit airport guidelines, country travel restrictions, ever changing entry requirements and important safety guidelines.
Not only do we have partners on the ground in the countries we service to whom we have direct access, we work with airline consolidators to manage client rebookings and cancelations/refunds; we know which flights are less crowded, which airlines are better at social distancing and can support clients when they need to get home quickly in case of an outbreak or changing rules.
We also put together all the components of the trip to make it feel seamless, from air to meet and greet and transfers at airports, to knowing what attractions are open, including private and VIP access to events. We coordinate the various operators through our local partners so that if something does go wrong, for example a flight missed, everybody serving the trip is ready and informed on the new situation and able to adjust accordingly. With their expertise and 24/7 availability travelers have a trusted contact in their local time zone.
Our trusted partners also have the advantage of doing large business volume with underlying service providers and properties, so that they are able to secure the best value for us to pass on to our clients. Our mission is to learn as much about your mode of travel and preferences to make sure all the details are in place and that the trip is customized to you, not taken off the shelf.
Within today’s the challenging environment it is also important to safeguard your investment and ensure your personal safety should things go wrong. As an advisor we can provide comprehensive medical and evacuation insurance, as well as trip interruption and cancelation insurance and walk you through what is covered and what is not. Some countries and many underlying operators now require proof of insurance upon entry. Travelers should also be aware that the credit card protections offered by most cards are only available if you use the card for direct payment at hotels and airlines. If we as your travel advisor collect your credit card and then pay for services to the underlying operators those protections no longer exist, and a comprehensive travel insurance plan is advised to protect your investment.
As travel advisors it is our job to stay up to date on the latest trends, the newest properties, the state of the industry, health and safety guidelines, travel restrictions and border entry requirements. During the pandemic we doubled down on our training with destination specialists and in country operators to better understand travel opportunities and offerings to better match our client’s budgets and preferences. We have even ventured out to Africa in early November and will again in January to get a sense of the issues travelers face as they set out to travel in this new, strange world.
Latitude is well prepared to assist you in your future travels and we hope that you consider us as trusted partners in exploring this beautiful world.