Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The final stretch for the preplanning and booking reservations…

My research for a value hotel in Southampton produced another find—I discovered that I could use the tollfree USA reservations services for Ibis Hotel chain, which happens to be a Mercure brand of 2 star properties—the reservations service was in Canada this time, no language barrier, and no problem re a person to person request for the best rate.
Another thing for my readers to keep in mind, when booking a chain hotel reservation in advance (at least 2-3 weeks prior to arrival), be assured that booking in advance does bring a lower rate at most times of the year (except for high summer season travel). 

I was given a very nice rate, about 10 Pounds less than what was quoted on the independent hotel reservations sites.  And I received an e-mail confirmation while I was still talking to the reservations clerk, the hotel bookings completed, I was ready to start the train reservations process—in an earlier post I noted that I had researched the Rail Europe site re fares and train times that would get me to where I was going in plenty of time to freshen up for dinner.

As you well know, sad as it is nowadays, all reservations tollfree USA call centers are not created equal when considering the wait time in the call queue—my wait time was almost an hour, and the reservations person was rude and dismissed my questions with this notice:  "I am an expert and I know what I have to do"—I decided to call again, because when it comes booking trains also when calling cruise lines directly, the notice in the choice prompts usually includes:  "if you are a travel agent press…"
PLEASE NOTE:  I am not fond of those who push their way into an orderly wait line, but nowadays too many call centers are very understaffed because the employers are bottom line haggling on my dime, and when the travel service provider has no consideration for the customer and wants to add to their profit line, I take this way to protest.  
Remember, you are the customer, you are paying money for good service.
And since I did receive poor service (a long wait time and a rude agent) on the first call, I pressed the prompt given for "travel agent." 
Another tip:  these understaffed call centers have no way of telling whether you are a travel agent or an individual, the wait time usually turns out to be less than if you waited in line as a individual client.  FYI:  If the site asks for your IATA number the call center has no way of checking, even if you key in any number with your choice of IATA digits, or not bother at all, be assured of this:  the IATA number is solely for the application of commission, if it's incorrect, that will only come up when the accounting department takes over and you will have added to their profit factor, since they won't have to pay out a dime from your dime. 
My call went through in record time (30 minutes), and she was a very nice accommodating agent who made my bookings as we spoke.  She got me some special prices that are only available in their systems, I booked a departure from Hamburg to Frankfurt 1st class at a coach rate, and I used my list of train times to make all the bookings to get me to Le Havre with time to check in and freshen up for  a good dinner—see my next post for an almost final wrap up.    

*Check out my Authors Guild maintained website to find out all about my me, read another one of my blogs, find links to my other blogs, and the books that I have written, also a way to contact me with your comments.
Check out my other Authors Guild maintained website to find out about my upcoming E-book travel guide series.

**I am a multitask writer, as I am also in the process of writing my latest fiction novel, Book II, PARIS WARP Jousting Devils And Dragons but this is a trilogy which explores the supernatural as it exists in tandem with the world as we know it.The trilogy starts with Book I, The Haunting And Paradise Taxi/print ISBN 9780615685434 print also available as E-book Nook Smashwords Edition ISBN 9780989053600 BarnesandNoble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-haunting-and-paradise-taxi-cynthia-lynn/1114061302?ean=2940044602069

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