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Guest calls to make last minute changes *long*

If you have seen any of my other posts, you know I work in sales in the cruise industry.

For this story there’s a few things to keep in mind

1) Changes to names have to be done before the manifest is sent out, anywhere from 24-72 hours to sailing.

2) When you make changes to the reservation that has flights, the flights must be changed first

3) When someone is removed from the booking, there is a high chance that add-ons like excursions and beverage packages will be deleted/refunded automatically

Now the story:

The guest calls in on the sales line, I give my intro and promotion info, and he cuts me off mid sentence and says he doesn’t care about that, he already has a reservation and he has to make changes. I verify his info, and get his reservation up, I see he leaves… In 4 days. I was hoping it would be something easy like adding on a last min bev package, or updating a birthday. BOY was I wrong.

The original booking was set up like this:

Guest 1 (guest) Has airfare, dinner reservations, and beverage package

Guest 2 (friend) Has airfare, dinner reservations, and beverage package

Guest 3 (sister) Has airfare, dinner reservation, no package due to medications

What he wanted to do was:

Guest 1 : stays the same

Guest 2 (friend) can no longer go and he would like to switch him with his niece (sisters minor daughter)

Guest 3) stays the same

I let him know that changing guest 2 to a minor would automatically delete the bev package (booze package, so age restricted) and he would receive a refund in 7-10 business days. He was like, NO NO NO, my sister is no longer on that medication and he would like to transfer the package to her.

I originally thought that the package was assigned to a name, so I put him on a brief hold to verify. (I work sales, so there are some service things I am not familiar with) They did say that if I changed friend to minor niece, it would be automatically cancelled like I said, but the packages are actually assigned to a guest SLOT. So in order to get sister to have it without needing to re-buy it was move his sister from guest 3 to guest 2, and add niece as guest 3. Sounds easy enough.

He was on hold for about 3 minutes before I came back with an answer. I took down the nieces info, name, date of birth, etc. Because I knew I was going to need it for the flights. In order to make these changes, I would need to reach out to our air team so they can change the name on friends ticket to niece. I told him that there might be a hold time, but I would check in with him every 3-5 min if it’s long.

Because the air team uses a completely different system, I couldn’t even reach out to a manager to get an estimated wait time, which is something we can do for most internal departments. The air team also prioritizes guests that are stranded at the airport and need more immediate assistance. (booking flights with us, we guarantee you get to the pier/home on time, and if there are major delays with the flight, we can get you on a different flight at no extra charge)

He said he understood, and needed these changes asap. Which is right, because he had less than 48 hours to make these changes before the manifest went out. Now, if you weren’t aware, there have been quite a few earthquakes in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica mostly. (everywhere we port has not been majorly effected, but we’re keeping an eye on the situation) Not only that, but it’s winter in much of the US, so emergency flight changes have been happening a lot more than usual.

The wait time was… something else. I checked in with the guest like I said I would. I apologized for the wait, and thanked him for his patience. As soon as the flight tickets were switched, the rest of the changes would be easy peasy. Overall we had been on hold with the air department for about 30 minutes, at this point the guest was on hold for about a minute since my last check in when I got connected to an air agent on the second line…

… and the first line goes blank.

The guest got disconnected (whether he hung up, his phone died, or he lost reception, I don’t know) Unfortunately, even though I knew what the guest wanted, I could not make any changes without him on the line to verify every step. (flights, bev packages, etc) So I apologized to the agent, and thanked them for their hard work, and ended the call.

The though thing was knowing that the guest was going to call back, and he would most likely call in to the sales line again. So I and some other poor sap was going to have their numbers messed up a little for the day. (Main stat is conversion, if a call comes in on the sales line, and you don’t get a booking, conversion goes down, and it doesn’t matter if there is literally nothing you can do to get a sale. (sold out/service call, etc))

Fun times.

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