Memiors – The Wrong Homecoming

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The Spanish island of Ibiza was a captivating place with great sunshine/beaches, amazing people/friends, many bars/clubs, and impassioned times for 8 weeks. Despite feeling haggard from many nights out, I did not want to leave and my experience to finish. However, there had to be a time when the time was up, and I had to use the plane ticket that I had bought. Luckily, through early morning discussions, I found out there was a little bar in the back streets of San Antonio: a little town on the edge of the island. This bar, I was told, was the place that sold flight tickets for those people that wanted some cash. I decided I was going to stay and sell my plane ticket. The next day, I made my way over to the bar up a nondescript side street. The barman was a man of about 50; he looked like a sixties dropout. He told me to leave my ticket and come back in a couple of days to see if someone wanted it.

I arrived back at the bar two days later, the same barman sat behind the bar looking as he did not have a care in the world. To my surprise, he told me the ticket was taken just before the final day; I was to meet the buyer at 7 pm the following evening at the bar. I was hoping everything would go well as I had not got any money yet for my ticket. The next day soon came around, and I was back at the bar. I looked around and spotted the buyer at the arranged meeting point. I introduced myself; his name was Steve and he was with his mates who were all in a Volkswagen campervan to take us to the airport. I was soon in the back of the scruffy-looking campervan having a laugh and a joke with Steve and his mates on the way to the airport.

The reason I had to go to the airport was to get Steve’s baggage through the check-in and show my passport to the check-in staff. The journey to the airport took about half an hour in the beat-up Volkswagen. I could not believe they had driven it from England. It felt like it only just made it to the airport. We parked up and made our way into the airport foyer. I approached the check-in desk alone and completed all the formalities. Everything went off without concern. I gave Steve the boarding pass and soon he was out of sight towards departures and off home. That was it, I was staying, starting off with a few drinks with Steve’s mates back in San Antonio.

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Destinations in Decline

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Any sustainable holiday destination has to be nurtured not only through constant upkeep but also noticing trends and upgrading. These are a few examples of the problems that any travel destination has to face up to. The tourism life cycle of any holiday town or city will see a variation which means it will have stagnation as well as times of development. There is always the problem of upcoming new destinations that take people interest almost immediately. This means any established resort has to understand and push forward without being left behind as other places prosper. In this short essay, I will try to highlight factors with regard to the decline and rise of tourism in any given resort.

To begin with, recent high profile travel destinations such as Dubai and Singapore have shown the world how strategic tourism plans have come to fruition. Theme parks, massive structures recognised globally and even Grand Prix racing have shone a light on these destinations. We see that even though these places are high end, evidence still shows that to keep ahead any tourist destination has to develop and expand. We see that within a life cycle any place can be in rejuvenation while others are in stagnation. A case in point would be Benidorm in Spain. This town had extreme growth with a saturation of European visitors during the late eighties. It then became known as a place solely for sunbathing and nightlife and the lush green trees and vegetation replaced by concrete apartments. This shows that a product life cycle exists as people suddenly started to get bored with this mundane kind of holiday.

So the question is who decision should it be to sustain or turn around travel destinations? Although political decision can help these places with investment by encouraging foreign investment, some would say that it still has to be local decisions where local knowledge of the qualities that the resort has will help rejuvenate tourism. This being said places can stagnate even with local decisions. Places can lose a focus of what they really think will make their location a viable option to visit.

Moreover, a place like Pattaya in Thailand seems to have lost its focus. Pattaya came to prominence as a rest and relaxation destination for American soldiers and has lived up to that in the following years. Although this is good for business, Pattaya has added many attractions that would tend to suit a more family orientated holiday or other clientele that is not just here for the nightlife. You could argue who are they really trying to cater for? They offer the sun bathed beaches, but the Pattaya beach is not that big and the expansion of this beach is not forthcoming and the general look of it can be unappealing. This is just one of the factors that show a town that is trying to develop but has no real focus of how to compete with other world destinations.

In this brief essay, I hope I have highlighted that any tourist retreat should never take their destination for granted as with any life cycle there are ups and down. Many destinations nowadays offer real holidays, not just a mass tourist experience. People want much more from their holiday, and it is these places that have to realise that.


Travel Agency Complaint

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Situation: You are the owner of a small travel agency.

You receive a complaint about a holiday you booked for a client. The problem is that the number of stars of the hotel does not correspond. You promised the customers a four star hotel and when they arrived, they discover the hotel only had 3 stars.

Solution: Accepting the complaint

Usually, any situation of this occurrence has come about by a simple clerical mistake. Mistakes do and will always happen and as a company you have to deal with these kinds of incidents in a professional and positive manner. This means getting the problem resolved as fast as possible without exacerbating the situation. You have to realise that upsetting clients even one person may have a detrimental effect on your business. Any company does not want to be spoken of badly or feel they have let down any customer. So, in this situation with regard to a customer being put into a 3 star hotel instead of a 4 star which he booked, I feel there is only one real option and that is to move quickly to restore the situation to how it previously should have been.

First of all, I would offer our company’s sincere apologies for the mistake and assure the customer that we were holding the client’s problem as precedence. The next priority would be to get the guest to the right 4 star hotel. If this meant having to hire a van or taxi this would have to be the case. I would also send out one of our representatives to the hotel of the customer. The representative could offer the customer a day tour as an apology. This would show that our company has a commitment to upholding the integrity of the business and shows our willingness to get the situation resolved. We would not want the client to feel we have further aggravated the situation by slowing the process. Any claims by the customer and finger-pointing by the staff can be made at a later date. The first priority is to get the customers to the designated hotel that was paid for. 

The consequence of the company’s action may result in the additional costs of paying for vans, taxis and reimbursing the client. The price of getting the client to the correct hotel can not really compare with the cost to the company’s image if we were to ignore the client’s obvious wishes.