Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Kenyan London Apartments Booking Agent Speaks out

Dear reader, before you all accuse me of blatant propaganda for my own company, please let me use the 80:20 rule and declare that only 20% is propaganda and the other 80% is based on the truth. Read on and if something strikes you as nonsense, you can choose to stop reading or share your feedback with me.

The source of this article was borne out of frustration at one particular incident which happened a few months back. I received a call from a potential client seeking a serviced London apartment for short stay rental. When he discovered that Quality London Apartments was a third party agent and not the owner of the apartments, his comment was: “Oh no, not another agent!”

He then explained that he has just had a bad experience with one of my competitor. After listening to his story I totally sympathised with his plight. I helped him to book the right London apartment and eventually received many words of thanks for my help. But it niggled me that some agents are giving all agents a really bad reputation, so I have decided to fight back and remind travellers around the world why using agents are the best choice.

1.Good agents are like your friends in the city of your destination. Imagine having someone who will help you to research and book a serviced apartment. Then they will also help you with free support and advice of this city. If you choose an agent who actually live and work in this city, then it will be like having your own personal concierge.

2.Agents worth their salt will help you to find the right apartments to fit your budget. Obviously, you need to be realistic as well, as London is a notoriously expensive destination. Imagine if you had a family of 4 on a budget of £250 per night for a two bedroom apartment and you wanted to be in central London. Where do you begin? How much time do you wish to spend searching online, making expensive overseas phone calls/emails before you find something suitable? That is a lot of time and expense. An agent will have called at least 3 and give you the options within 15-30 minutes. How? That takes me to the next point.

3.Good agents are specialist who has visited the apartment to understand what their customers are going to stay in, have a relationship with the apartment owners, and know how flexible or inflexible the apartments will be with prices. They will squeeze as much as reasonable to fit your budget.

4.Agents are your advocates. Good agents are on your side, they want to help you and ensure that you have a smooth and happy stay. They are your representative in London, who fights for you; act as trouble shooters when something goes wrong with the apartments on arrival. What could go wrong? Read on.

5.Who you turn to when something goes wrong during your stay in an apartment? Here is a true life scenario to illustrate the point. One of my new clients booked a luxury apartment through Quality London Apartments for his break. When he arrived on New Years Day, the apartment owner tried to fob him off (whether mistakenly or on purpose) with another different apartment with a totally different d├ęcor…not to my client’s taste. If my client had booked directly with the apartment, he would have had to fight his case on his own. But he phoned me on New Years Day, I then complained (diplomatically of course) to the apartment owner and presto! All sorted for him. That is a difference that many people in this age of automated bookings do not realise, is the human help. Convenience and efficiency is great, but when things go wrong, as it invariably does, it is the people you trust who will make that call on your behalf.

Sadly, not all serviced apartments agents follow this code, nor do they respect their customers. Conversely, there are also many great agents who are passionate about service, actually enjoy taking care of their clients and are honest to you. It is hard to know which agents are excellent and which are shoddy, until you work with them.

Here comes the 20% propaganda that I did pre-warn you about earlier. My company’s mission is honesty, good old fashioned service and service with integrity. I am passionate about serviced apartments as the best way to travel and I really love helping clients. Period.
How can you know if this is true? I cannot prove it just by words, only by action. I dare you to choose Quality London Apartments next time and let us prove it to you.