As a Tour Operator who has been in business for thirty years, I have seen a lot of things. I’ve had wonderful clients and had my fair share of difficult ones too, that's just the way travel rocks. My job is to make sure that everyone has an incredible experience and holiday.
I work from home which means I work in all kinds of places. I helped Neil Young plan his holiday while I was hiking in the Transkei. He was a great client, I mean, NEIL YOUNG. He called me daily to check in and go over small details and I never told him that I was sweating my way up a mountain, about to dip in the ocean or that every time he called I got so excited I would gesture at my friends and yell NEIL, IT’S NEIL! He had the most magnificent trip and promised that he would give my contact to Mick Jagger.
Maybe Mick will still call me. My number Mick, is +27 079 192 4557.
Once I organised the most fab holiday for clients while I was in the bath. A guy, word of mouth referral, called me for a huge booking and I did not want to say I was in the bath so I kept as still as possible while talking all about South Africa and the water got colder and colder and eventually I had to move and he said: “Sandra, are you in the bath?” I said yes, concluded the deal, and the family have since travelled with me every two years.
Business can be conducted everywhere these days.
But it’s not all good. I remember getting a call from a client, at midnight, to say her pillow was too hard. I don’t think I was so polite, like, SORT OUT YOUR PILLOW AT RECEPTION BABE, THIS IS PUSHING IT, but if she had called me at midnight with an emergency I would have totally leapt into action.
A single traveller was furious when a lion killed a buffalo outside his chalet in the Okavango and he couldn’t get to the loo. It was the old days when accommodation was not always en-suite. I kept thinking jeez what an amazing experience but he was just thinking, help I really need to pee. It was at night and it wasn’t the easiest thing for the lodge to move the lion away from its dinner, and hey, I could think of far worse experiences but I never said that.
We got the lion out the way!
Also once someone's suitcase got damaged in the plane and he tried to sue my little company. Like, hello, I am sorry about your luxury million dollar Samsonite but maybe take it up with Samsonite and not me. He actually booked a second safari and we just chose to never mention the suitcase issue again. Although we were both a bit quiet when going over the luggage restrictions on charter flights, you know 20 kgs, soft sided bags only Sir...
And then I had a couple leave the BEST GAME LODGE IN THE WORLD two days early, because they were not mad about their view. Their view was the mighty Sand River, with baobabs, herds of elephant, lion, leopard, owls, bush babies, cheetah, just not good enough. I kept changing their suite for them, sending them champagne, trying to make things better, even though it was all perfect. Later I found out they'd had a huge fight and their relationship was in trouble and they took it out on the game lodge.
I am always calm and polite to my clients, and always do my best to make things work. Except with Pillow Woman.
I’ve organised home-made chocolate spread for clients in the most remote of places so the kids could swallow their malaria tablets. I’ve arranged a Barmitzvah in the middle of the bush (two actually, they were both fab) and now I am busy with a multi inclusive Shabbat dinner for a family from the USA. I’ve had all kinds of clients, rich and poor, young and old, easy, difficult and demanding, and I love my job and love arranging holidays and hope you travel with me one day too.
I swear I won’t blog about you!
+ 27 079 192 4557