If you were about to book the travel trip of your dreams, you’d be keen to know every detail about your destination. So a top British tour operator has started using Skype to hook up customers with its staff on the ground to answer any queries and listen to customer requirements.
Manager Vara Arnold showed us around Abercrombie & Kent’s state-of-the-art outlet in Cheapside at the heart of London’s business district. Sitting at the bar, where she offers clients a gin and tonic, Vara explained that Abercrombie and Kent had been offering bespoke luxury holidays in exotic locations all over the world including Kenya, Egypt, Tanzania and Peru for 50 years. Pointing to a wall lined with TVs, she says: “That is our map area over there. We discuss destinations on the traditional map table and then go into detail with footage on the TVs. Then, if a client wishes, we can fix up a Skype appointment with our representatives on the ground. It’s a big reassurance for customers to know that they can expect everything we promise.”
The retail area also has an area for suppling clients with travel clothing and a clinic for vaccinations, as well as the dedicated Skype computers in consultation booths which link customers to guides in 25 countries. A mixture of last century gentleman’s club and modern multi-media centre, you feel a world away from the busy city as soon as you enter the shop.
Travel Consultant Aurelia Van Lynden frequently arranges the Skype appointments for her clients and is convinced the service helps to sell the trips. She says, “It’s good because the Skype service helps to reassure customers about any nagging doubts they might have.”
And that is very important for someone who is spending thousands on a dream trip like a honeymoon.
Travel Curator Paul Callcutt explained that Skype was a natural choice because of its cross-platform use. “It was a business decision to use Skype in this way,” he said. “We had already been using it to talk to our colleagues all over the world.” He agreed that the spread of mobile broadband would further enhance the service because representatives would be able to show the amazing locations through phone and tablet cameras.
Has anyone ever convinced you to travel somewhere thanks to a Skype call?