Over the past eight years travel agents have told us the most troublesome component of a holiday is transfers. Day two is an pre-booked tickets are next but flights and hotels, comparatively speaking, deliver what is expected.
roomsXML has dealt with three different transfer providers. We’ve experienced a mix of highs and lows across technology, pricing and the breadth service options. Our current provider is kicking goals but it’s not to say we haven’t experienced challenges.
Statistically speaking, per number of transfers booked compared to other products there is a disproportional rate of complaint. Understanding how and why they occur sets the scene for how to get the best transfer experience.
People get off the plane exhausted…
Pax fly all the way to Paris or Heathrow or India, and are exhausted. Takes a while to get bags, line up as a foreigner in customs and then stumble into the sunlight of a different time zone. “Where is that driver, I just want to put my bags in the car and get to the hotel.”
The easiest time to irritate someone and get a negative response is when they are tired, grumpy and in an unfamiliar place.
Get a good bloke on a bad day
Staying at a hotel over a period of four days you are generally going to get the experience you paid for. If not, you can complain to management and they have the option to fix it for you. The complaint may even be forgotten about. But there is a chance for redemption.
You can get the loveliest driver who has just spent 90 minutes in a traffic jam and rear-ended someone on the way to the airport and are worried about telling their boss. The car might smell a bit. Their English might be bad. They smell a bit. Or a lot.
These experiences can end up defining the transfer and there is seldom a chance to redeem them.
We have a company, we grew, we subcontracted, we got some new drivers, he was sick and his brother is filling in….
… and the brother is hung over and decided not to come to work.
There are reputable and non-reputable transfer companies out there. Some are fantastic. Some are not. Quality control is significantly harder to manage when you have people managing people managing people managing people who are working 16 hour days for crappy pay. It isn’t the most glamorous job in many countries and the attitudes reflect it.
I saw the price of a taxi and it was cheaper
Let’s face it, it is more often than not the case..…if they turn on the meter and take the most direct route to the hotel. Places like Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok have the prepaid vouchers straight into the city which is often a pretty good option. Heathrow has the great train.
But nine times out of 10 I will personally pay to have someone there meeting me. Because I like the guarantee. I like the comfort. One less stress
So how do you prevent the most common problems?
Working on the premise that some problems can be prevented, the impact of them be minimised and worst case, preparing for the worst, here is 10 tips to get top transfers.
- Put yourself in your customer shoes – is the route from customs to car straightforward?
- Check emergency phone numbers and ensure the pax has a phone that will work when they land
- Make sure you have provided the right flight details and if they change, let the transfer company know
- Does the airport have multiple gates, ex it and entry points?
- If there are instructions on where to meet, ensure the pax understands those
- Ask questions – if in doubt ask
- Is the vehicle you booked appropriate for the four gentlemen on a golfing holiday
- Private or shared? Often for small families it is cheaper to get the devoted minibus
- Any concerns, reconfirm a week before they leave the country
- if you have a complaint get onto your transfer provider, politely, with proof, sooner rather than later and fix the problem before they get home