As you can tell by my many reviews, we travel the world A LOT, and review most things really highly! I was so excited for this tour for my family. I am now "that review" that bucks the trend, and that's a TOTAL BUMMER! It seems to come down to spoken words not matching with contract. I frankly wonder if our awesome planning phone conversation was perhaps under "compromised" conditions, as I know I was clear & sober, and I believed what was said... And that is where our mis-communication occurred.
The only reason we are coming to the big island is the Volcanic National Park. I am sad to report that my interaction with Hayley went poorly - we didn't get a chance to take the awesome tour, as although I made reservations many months ahead, she dumped us 6 weeks out. Given my many years in customer service, I was hoping she would at least help us with the crunch we were left in due to mis-communication and we could just continue on with the plan; I took responsibility for my part of the misunderstanding, she replied with "...it is in both of our best interest to cancel this reservation..." Actually, NO, it's NOT in both of our best interest, just her CYA, as apparently there's a crackdown on tour agencies offering taxi-like service, etc.
We are now left 6 weeks out with plane reservations in and out of the big island, a motel reservation, with only the intent of coming to the big island to tour the Volcanic National Park, and now NO TOUR. We were going to pay her $850 for the day! Apparently she didn't like what I had to say regarding our mis-communication.
I HATE to post bad reviews, I am assuming we are a "bad day/night" exception and she just didn't want to actually deal with it. Sounds like otherwise she rocks. Wish we could have been another 5-star review. But now I'm SCRAMBLING to get a tour to accommodate the flights and hotel we have already booked... It just wasn't that hard to make this right.
I am happy to copy the back-and-forth emails to anyone who would like more details on what happened. Just know words over the phone mean nothing, only what's in writing or email matters. Not a problem for most if it's a simple agreement by email.
TravelPhotoWriter... at.... g... mail... dot com
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
February 6, 2013
Aloha TravelPhotoWriter and many thanks for your review. This is our first negative review in the two years we have been in business. We are taking this feedback very seriously and will utilize this as a learning lesson, helping us better serve all our clients. We find comfort this review was not based upon our tours given that the reviewer never went on our tour, but rated us upon our reservations process.
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We are excited to take this opportunity to encourage all our future clients to complete our reservation process, a process that TPW never completed. TPW was never sent a confirmation letter or number, therefore her reservation was still in the inquiry status. As many of our past reviews share we custom create every trip we offer, however it is not a binding agreement until the phone call(s) and email(s) are made into a written agreement in form of a confirmation letter. This contract is then accepted by both parties to ensure both parties are in agreement; once again a step the TPW never completed.
In the attempt to move her reservation from an inquiry status, to a confirmed reservation we sent her a follow up letter. TPW quickly responded she would like to move forward with booking, as well as requested free airport shuttle service the day before her tour and free airport shuttle the day after her tour. We responded with a helpful and curious reply, letting her know we typically only do airport pick up’s and drop off’s when it is on the same day of their scheduled tour and needed more information before completing her confirmation letter. We never stated we were not going to find a solution to her situation. Her responding email was highly disrespectful and unprofessional . This email made us feel unsafe taking this client on a 7 mile trail, where conditions could be very hazardous and client/guide relations need to have mutual trust in order to keep everyone safe. Based upon her email, we informed her we no longer could be of assistance to her. However , we did leave her a list of tour operators (4) and all their information leaving her with much help & assistance; not in a state of “scramble” which she portrayed untruthfully in this review.
Once again, we apologize we were not able to provide the services TPW was requesting; this decision comes from a pure, honest heart that was looking out for TPW and her family’s best interest. Keeping her safety, her family’s safety and our guides safety (myself included) being our number one priority. TPW and I had been communicating since November 27, 2012; I have sent her numerous emails assisting her in many of her travel plans (places to stay and visits) all done for free prior to her hiring us, something she did not share in this review.
As TPW stated her scheduled trip rate of $850.00 (for a 14-16 hour day, party of 3 including the seven mile hike to the lava flow: our most difficult, longest and most expensive tour offered) that we are choosing to walk away from. A loss of profit for a day we most likely will not be able to recover. We are choosing health & well being over money. Safety, the one most important aspect of our business, that we will not jeopardize; even if it means receiving a bad review.
TPW situation has made us review our confirmation process and we are currently making revisions in order to improve this process, trying to alleviate any future mis-communications or unrealistic expectations. Thank you once again for your feedback and your granted permission to share all emails between you (TPW-TravelPhotoWriter) and Akamai Adventure Tours & Travel; we too are happy to share the email(s) which we based our decision upon.
Once again, Mahalo Nui Loa (thank you very much) to TPW for your review and to all who read & write reviews. We are all striving to be a part of and create great memories. Thanks for helping us be the best we can be, Aloha….
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.