Your Travel Troubleshooter

Hello and welcome to Travelhoppers! I am thrilled to have been asked to participate in this project as the Ombudsman for the travel woes of our readers. But, before we get into problem solving, I wanted to take a few moments to outline exactly how I feel an Ombudsman comes into play.

Don’t Wait

When a travel issue crops up, the time for action is when it crops up. Not after you have spent a week at a resort stewing. Not after several letters to your travel professional demanding a full refund. Face it, the travel industry is based on happiness and providing a good experience for travelers. Trust me, the Purser, General Manager, and your travel professional all want the same thing—for you to be happy and for you to travel again. So, utilize these folks when things go wrong—you will find that they really are on your side.

The Last Resort

An Ombudsman really should be one of the last resorts in resolving any travel issue. It is the rare case that gets resolved by immediately bringing in a third party. Feathers tend to get ruffled, and quite honestly, any resolution will likely be less attractive than if you had attempted other avenues.

With that said, there are certainly times when an Ombudsman is needed. Perhaps your issues were not addressed at the time. Maybe you received no response from your travel planner or the travel supplier. Or perhaps the resolution was not acceptable to you. If that is the case, let me know and I will certainly consider utilizing my contacts and experience to mitigate your case.

Be Reasonable

One of my pet peeves is unreasonable complaints. I promise to guide you to a fair and reasonable resolution. If you are upset that the hotel staff in Mexico spoke Spanish and are demanding a full refund (and yes it happened), I am likely to take a pass.  I promise to thoroughly investigate your claim, so making me aware of all of the details is imperative—you would be surprised at what the other side of the story looks like at times. Unless you are prepared to file a lawsuit immediately, do not threaten any supplier with one—it only serves to shut communication down 100%. And finally, understand that my job is to reach an equitable solution to a problem and that final solution may not be exactly what you felt you deserved.

And with that, I will open my arms to the issues that inherently pop up as you jet set across the globe. As much as everyone would like to think that travel is a seamless and problem-free experience, we all know otherwise!  I look forward to your questions and problems; and I look forward to providing solutions!

Got a travel problem, complaint or gripe?  Let us see if we can be of assistance.  Send us an email to ombudsman@travelhoppers.com!

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About the author: John Frenaye

John has been in the travel industry since 1997 and held many roles including agency owner, member of the ASTA Communications Committee, Board Advisor to iJet Intelligent Risk Systems, and an MSNBC.com travel columnist. Throughout that time, he has amassed a a level head for solving problems and a sizable "rolodex" for getting the attention of the right person to solve your travel woes. Please feel free to email him or visit his site.

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