OFF TO A FLYING START iTravel marks one year in business
One year since it opened its doors, iTravel Guam has become a household word for Philippine-bound passengers on island, immediately making a mark in the local travel landscape.
iTravel, Cebu Pacific’s sole wholesaler on Guam, has served approximately 4,000 passengers since its opening on March 15, 2016.
“We hit our first year's target by 156 percent which allowed us to receive a recognition award from Cebu Pacific during the corporation's Eagle Wings Award ceremony held in Bacolod last February 2017,” says Shelly Calvo, iTravel CEO
. “In partnership with Cebu Pacific, we take pride in serving the Filipino community on Guam.”
Cebu Pacific is the only low-cost carrier operating direct services between the Philippines and Guam. “It gives more of our kababayans a chance to visit home more often,” Calvo says. “As we celebrate the completion of our first year in business, we are also proud to have built a lot of great relationships with our customers, business partners and the community at large. We're looking forward to strengthening these relationships even further.”
One year is a big milestone for any company – and that goes twofold for a brick-and-mortar travel outlet that faces competition with its online counterparts amid the burgeoning trend of digital tourism.
“As with other industries that are threatened by online commerce, travel agencies are confronted with the challenge of keeping the business relevant in this age when travel transactions can be done at your fingertips,” Calvo says. “However, talking to a real person would still be your best bet. There are matters or concerns that cannot be addressed online that only an interaction with a professional can provide. Automation may be a way of the future but we are still human and we need raw interaction. At our desks, our passengers can take the time to ask all the questions to satisfy their needs. We have a high volume of repeat business due to the assistance that we provide and the extra mile we take to satisfy our clients.”
Being a frequent traveler herself, Calvo is fully familiar with the stress that comes with the entire pre-departure process, which begins with looking for an available flight schedule, booking a reservation and buying the ticket. “At iTravel, we do these things for you. We want to make your travel as convenient and stress-free as possible,” Calvo says.
Gary Cruz, general manager, says iTravel’s goal is to ensure full customer satisfaction. “To the extent possible, we extend Total Passenger Care or TPC from the time the passenger calls or goes to the office to the time he goes out of the office, satisfied. This creates a cycle wherein he becomes a regular customer,” Cruz says. “I want to inculcate this in the staff—the holistic approach to passenger care.”
iTravel’s service doesn’t automatically end at the conclusion of each transaction. “The staff extends after-sale support like assisting passengers having problems at the airport or from Manila,” Cruz says. “We give valuable information to passengers like baggage, rebooking, voluntary or involuntary rebooking, special passengers like infants, unaccompanied minors, wheelchair passengers, travel fund, etc. which the computer does not. This prevents embarrassing situations like having excess baggage charged exorbitantly at the airport.”
The iTravel desks provide other services such as advising passengers on multiple routes or more complicated itineraries, and offering tour-basing fares even to individual passengers almost year-round which they otherwise cannot get online.
Joining Cruz on the staff are ticketing and reservation officers Jela Ramos and Haifa Espinoza, whose friendly dispositions complement the homely ambience of iTravel’s office located on Route 16 in Dededo.