Luxury Agents Share Client War Stories At Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw
It might be more lucrative dealing with luxury clients, but it’s not always easy, according to a group of top-sellers for the Mexican ultra-luxury resort group Velas Resorts.
As the Grand Velas Riviera Maya hosted a group of top partners from Canada and the U.S., Velas management, including VP Juan Vela, held a session picking the brains of those partners on what they can do better.
But the agent session led by Denys Montes de Oca, Corporate Director of Sales & Marketing for Velas Resorts, started on a lighter note, with agents asked to recount the strangest client requests they’ve ever had.
One California agent said an elderly client booked a five-figure trip, then didn’t show up. When she called to find out why, he said he wasn’t feeling well. The loss of money didn’t seem to bother him at all. Some time later, he booked a luxury cruise, with a price-tag well into five figures again. And again, he didn’t show. When the agent inquired again, he replied: “I’m a widower and I don’t want my kids to inherit my money, so I’m spending it.” Hmmm, perhaps a charity?
One traveller called from Kazakhstan, saying she needed an extra seat on the way back – for a saddle she had purchased. After much difficult discussion between the agent and the airline, the deal was done, with certain metal parts removed.
A wealthy young man hosting a bachelor party in Cabo asked his female agent to arrange strippers to attend the exclusive resort he’d booked for the affair. But not just any strippers – they had to be ‘little people’ Holding her nose, the advisor passed that request off to the hotel concierge.
One ‘bridezilla’ showed up at the agency office EVERY DAY for months, peppering the advisor with demands and details that included no brown towels or green granite in any of the rooms. She drove everyone at the agency mad, and few were surprised when the wedding was cancelled shortly before the date. But the nightmare wasn’t over for the agent – the bride demanded the trip go ahead, but with the two (now opposing) parties split between two resorts.
A mother of a bride demanded the upgraded accommodations given to the bride and groom, and selected several members of the wedding to be downgraded, even though they had paid for the level they wanted!
A very fussy woman demanded recent photos of anyone at the resort who would be serving her, from front desk staff to tour guides. She asked for voice memos from key staff so she could ensure they didn’t have accents. “I can’t stand accents,” she told the advisor.
While this Open Jaw reporter doesn’t get strange requests from clients, he has had a few strange ones on the road. So when asked to share at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya event, he recounted the story of a trip to Senegal. While waiting at the airport for a transfer, a man came up to me and insisted loudly that I should give him my pants. Yes, my pants, which I happened to be wearing at the time. When I told him that, he said, “No problem, you can wear mine.”
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.
HANNA- November 14, 2019 @ 11:03
And so there is a man in Senegal wearing your pants.