Miscommunications and misunderstandings regarding preferences are the main causes of disappointment for travellers, says Mehalah Beckett, Regional GM of PEAK Destination Management Company.

When travellers book trips through travel agents, important information such as likes/dislikes, preferences and specifications should be fed through the booking channel to the property. However, this information is often lost during the booking process, leading to the property disappointing travellers as it cannot personalise the experience according to what the traveller has specified and expects.

Andrea Hand, Director of Guest Impressions at Tourvest DMC, says this is exactly the gap that the Guest Impressions department aims to fill. “As a wholesaler, we understand that there are a number of links in the traditional distribution channels and therefore it can only be expected that some pieces of information may fall through the cracks along the way.”

Tourvest DMC guests are welcomed with an arrival letter at their first night’s accommodation and one of the Guest Impressions Gurus will call guests to run through their holiday programme to ensure that the holiday they expect is the same one they have booked. At this time, Guest Impressions also reconfirms dietary requirements and if guests are celebrating any key milestones such as birthdays, anniversaries etc. while they are travelling.

“We do further calls to guests whilst they are travelling as this aids us in ensuring all aspects of their trip are running smoothly and if there are any incidents or challenges along the way we are able to assist with while they are still travelling. Regular feedback is then passed on to the overseas agent who is also kept abreast of incidents and/or highlights,” says Hand.

Beckett adds: “PEAK DMC has found it vital to ask the right follow-up questions. If the client asks for a central Nairobi hotel, we must find out what they mean by central – close to bars, markets, stadiums or museums. Nairobi is a sprawling city and what is central to one person, may not be central to someone else.

“Great customer service entails understanding each customer’s specific needs, then ensuring successful delivery through robust systems and processes,” she adds.