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Recessionary travel: Resolving Issues

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February 8, 2010 Travel Expert 2 Comments

Following on from the article about difficulties and benefits of traveling in recessionary times (Recessionary Travel: Understanding The Issue“), here are some of the specific issues that travelers face and should be ready to resolve.

On location: Solving problems with your accommodation

If you have a problem, above all, keep a cool head. Don’t assume you have been “ripped off” or lied to. Maybe you have, maybe it is just an error, but either way, that assumption creates very strong emotions in most of us that do not help us to think clearly.

And think clearly you should.

The first thing is to assess the gravity of the problem. Not getting fresh towels each day as you thought would happen is not the same as a flight or accommodation cancellation. If the problem is small, decide if you really want to waste your time trying to solve it. You are (probably) on holiday and don’t want to ruin it with your own emotion.

Secondly, don’t quietly sit and wonder “why did they not put toilet roll in the room”. If the problem is small but irritating, tell someone. Again, don’t let the incompetence or moment of thoughtlessness of someone ruin your stay.

Screaming and Yelling doesn’t work in places like France and Italy – they simply don’t do business the same as the Anglo Saxon mentality. A screaming client in the Anglo Saxon environment is normally pacified so as not to “make a fuss”. In the Latin blood, it is a challenge! And you may find someone who will respond by screaming louder and harder than you, by calling the police and by throwing you on the street.

In addition, it is downright unethical to be so aggressive. Doing business as the supplier or purchaser is still humans dealing with humans and nobody has the right to treat anybody that way. Client to company, or vice versa. (Read another article on PeopleManagement.co.uk on the ethics of complaining: How can I help, sir?)

Most Romans respond to intelligent trust. Blind trust they think is stupid. No trust is an insult. But with a small issue that can be resolved by saying “is it possible to put that right as quickly as possible and I will pay now?” And each culture has its own level.

Specific problems that occur regularly

Apartments. Cleanliness, everything functioning in the apartment (like hair dryer, iron etc), the check-in/arrival, getting the apartment that you ordered/thought you would get. These are the problems that occur more in difficult times. If you have received a big discount, you know it didn’t apply to discounted “product”, but that argument will come across.

During these times, the average request for an apartment has gone from 6-7 days to 4-5 days. If you want 3 days or less, be careful. An agent may take your booking some months in advance, but if a better one comes along, they will often take that. They will at best inform you a few days before (sometimes at arrival) that the apartment is flooded, earthquake damage, or something clever, and offer you an option (nothing like what you wanted). But you will probably be forced to accept due to the timescales involved.

Transfers. It is recommended that you find a company that either doesn’t take a deposit or takes a small deposit. But it is not advisable to pay for the transfer in advance. The drivers may arrive at the airport to collect you but find another trip. When you call them, they will be “stuck in a traffic jam – not to worry, about 15-20 minutes”. They know that if you can’t be bothered to wait they still have your money – even better.

Hotels. Most hotel problems come from getting a damp little noisy room on the ground floor on the street, or being moved to another hotel (actually owned by mother/brother/sister) away from the good area. There is actually a lot of anecdotal evidence that a good hotel in a great area creates an agreement with a lesser hotel. All the bookings come to the good hotel and they spill them over to the lesser hotel. Even at a discount to the client, the benefit of having 120% loading on the good hotel (there 100% turn up) is incredibly profitable – enought to compensate the lesser hotel. Hotels are another, like apartments, where repairs are not as regular and cleaning staff seem to be few and rushed off their feet, leaving rooms less than 100%.

Tours. The main issues with tours is canceled due to lack of numbers (the cheaper the tour the more likely it is to happen) although the excuse could be tour-guide ill or something, or “loading” the tour with many more people. Again, like airlines, hotels etc, there is always a percentage cancellation. Booking to 120% capacity and expecting cancellations is not rare. If no one cancels it then has to be dealt with. You may also not quite get the quality of guide you were expecting… “due to cutbacks” but being told a much better reason.

Adjusting your attitude

Try to relax. Things go wrong – that is travel. And not everything that goes wrong is a “trick”. When booking or searching for anything, try to find a company or person you feel you can trust based on their answers to questions – it is a good sign if they are not “agreeing to everything”. Working in your mother tongue helps this process tremendously, but it is not critical. After all, you are reading between the lines on everything.

If you have any useful (try to be general) tips regarding experiences, drop them in the comment section below or go to the forums where they will be discussed in more detail.

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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. reginadiroma says:

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    Great article! And fantastic words of wisdom ie “Screaming and Yelling doesn’t work in places like France and Italy” So true!

  2. Eli says:

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    I agree. It really shows another side of travel – very valuable.

    I wonder though how much of one’s behavour on a trip can be “learnt”, or is it all down to personality?

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