Travel Tips Arise in Wake of a Hurricane
Now that Hurricane Matthew has come and gone, leaving billions of dollars in damages, and countless hours ahead for those restoring their homes and businesses, we thought it would be a good time to share some valuable travel tips to consider not only in times of emergency, but year round.
The idea for this post arose when a close friend of ours shared a story about an ordeal he had to endure with a rental car company. Apparently he booked a “package deal” to fly from Orlando to his hometown. The deal included airfare, along with a car from a “non-major” discount rental car company. The price was good so he booked it.
So all was well and he was getting ready for his trip, right up until his flight leaving Orlando got cancelled due to the hurricane. Being a veteran traveler, and although disappointed, he understood the safety concerns and reality of the situation. He would just have to cancel his trip, which led us to the ultimate reason for writing this article.
Upon calling the rental car company to inform them of the cancelled flight and the fact that he would not be able to get there or need the vehicle any longer, he was unable to reach a customer service rep. He left several unreturned messages. When he finally did get a hold of a human he was told there would be no refund issued on his credit card. Even though it was part of a package deal, and the flight was cancelled that was supposed to get him there, he would still be responsible for the cost of the rental car.
After many phone calls and countless hours wasted, he was finally able to get the issued resolved and a credit was eventually issued, but not until after he learned some valuable lessons that we felt worthy of sharing for travel tips. Here are our 5 lessons learned and travel tips from this recent travel experience that have a bearing on the vacation rental business as well:
Discounted “Cut Rate” Companies
While there are probably many legitimate companies out there trying to get a “share of the pie” from the major companies by offering nice discounts, is it always worth taking the risk in dealing with them to save a few dollars? In case your plans change or another issue should arise, will they have the customer service support necessary to handle those issues? If you do get in touch with someone, will they be eager to help with the situation and resolve the problem, or will they be more intent on keeping your money? Sometimes it’s better to stay with a brand you know and trust as one of our top travel tips.
Look for and read a company’s Cancellation Policy before doing business with them. While it will take some extra time, it may be your only recourse should you need to cancel your reservation and request and actually receive a refund. If you can’t find it posted on their website, give them a call and ask what their policy is should you need to cancel for any reason.
These days, if someone has a bad experience, you can bet they are going to post it somewhere. A quick search is all it takes to find reviews on any company. Don’t necessarily trust the reviews on the company’s website. You will only see the good ones posted there. Instead, peruse those on independent travel “watch dog” sites or blogs that have nothing to gain or lose by posting the information. Remember though, no company is perfect. Just because you may see some bad reviews doesn’t always mean they are a bad company. Sometimes customers become disgruntled for no apparent reason, or perhaps something very small. While they are free to rant out a bad review, the company may not ever see it or have a chance to respond to it. Our advice is to consider the overall good with the bad. If the good reviews far outnumber the bad ones, it is probably a reputable company worthy of dealing with.
BBB Affiliated Companies
While the Better Business Bureau had been around for many years, it is still a trusted company that does its due diligence in terms of researching complaints sent in from consumers. While it’s no guarantee you will receive flawless service, a company that values its customers and cares enough to be a part of this organization is probably one that will want to make sure you have a good customer experience. Look for the BBB seal on a company’s website before doing business with them.
In this age of technology where it is quite often easier and more convenient to book online, check out the “Contact” information posted on their website before booking with any company in case something does go awry. Do they have a phone number listed that you can call if needed? Or do they just have an e-mail address or “contact form” to submit your message or complaint. Experience tells us that these seldom generate any type of response. If they do have a number listed, try giving them a call before booking to see if a person answers, or if you are forced to leave a message after listening to a long drawn out voice mail system. If they do answer, go ahead and make the reservation. That’s what they are there for!
We hope these travel tips are helpful when it comes time to plan your next trip or vacation. Remember, it’s always better to be prepared! If you are planning to visit the Orlando area any time soon, please visit our website at Orlando Vacation Homes 360 to see our vast selection of Vacation Rental Homes. OVH 360 is a highly rated vacation rental company with transparent booking policies. Orlando Vacation Homes 360 also has a money back guarantee to ensure that you and your family will have a great vacation rental experience.
Thanks and Happy Travels!