Online Provider of Caribbean Vacation Packages Creates “Lifelong Customers” with Quick Response to Closure of Dominican Republic Resort

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When Dominican Republic vacations were disrupted by the sudden closure of a popular resort this fall, online travel agency CheapCaribbean.com stepped in, going above and beyond to transfer and upgrade its customers. Two people tell their stories of how the company made "lifelong customers" of them by providing exceptional customer service.

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CheapCaribbean.com, through its actions during this difficult time, and especially its people, in the back office and on the ground, made lifelong customers of us.

Online travel agency CheapCaribbean.com was put to the test this fall when a popular all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic closed suddenly and without warning, leaving hundreds of travelers surprised and confused.

“We arrived at the airport Saturday, and when we got on the bus we learned that Sun Village had closed and they were taking us to a different resort next door,” said Tracey, who was taking time off from her job at a Harrisburg, PA law firm for a Dominican Republic vacation with three of her friends.

Back at CheapCaribbean.com’s headquarters outside of Philadelphia, the company had been notified of the closing that same day via email, and the executives and customer service agents took immediate action. They made arrangements to transfer customers to the all-inclusive Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort and Spa next door, and immediately mobilized representatives of its ground operator Turinter, instructing them to hand-deliver letters to customers on site and begin holding Q&A sessions to keep everyone informed of developments.

Dioby was one of the Turinter employees who handled the relocations of CheapCaribbean.com’s customers. Paul, an investment banker from Washington D.C., and his wife were already at the resort with only three days left of their stay, when Dioby notified them of the closing.

“Dioby was a complete trooper,” said Paul. “He went above and beyond what you would expect from most resort staff. In the midst of a difficult, uncertain, and unprecedented situation, he handled the issues with poise, grace and professionalism. You could sense his personal commitment to making things right, and that matters a lot.”

Meanwhile, CheapCaribbean.com founder “Caribbean Jim” Hobbs was on the first available flight and arrived Sunday in Puerto Plata to personally assist in transferring customers and resolving conflicts.

“When I landed at the airport, I picked some of our customers up, took them with me to Lifestyle, and started meeting with customers one-on-one to answer their questions and address their concerns. We got everyone upgraded to VIP status and hosted an exclusive party for them on Sunday night. The party was a great way for people to relax and get back to the real reason they came to the Dominican Republic – to have fun! Everyone had bonded over this unexpected situation, and someone even came up with a nickname for the group: the ‘Sun Village People’.”

“I was absolutely impressed, that not only did CheapCaribbean.com handle the situation from the beginning and have a place for us to go, but that Jim himself was down there so quickly, moving us and giving us the upgrade because he wanted everybody to be happy,” said Tracey. “I thought that spoke volumes about the company, because who does that? To jump on a plane and be down there practically instantly to handle things, I think is fantastic.”

With the immediate crisis under control, customer service agents back at CheapCaribbean.com’s home office turned their focus on the task of notifying customers who had booked at Sun Village in the coming months, and recommending alternative options. The process continues today, as the agents take the time to address each individual customer’s issues and concerns.

For Tracey and Paul, and others who were caught off guard in the middle of their vacations, the company’s handling of this situation made a lasting impression.

“Who knows, I may have used CheapCaribbean.com again anyway, because I don’t have a lot of prior experiences to compare,” said Tracey. “But now, because this happened, and because of the way it was handled, and Jim coming down there, I can tell you honestly that I wouldn’t even consider booking a Caribbean vacation package anywhere else.”

As for his impression, Paul says: “I’m an investment banker, so I’m constantly advising people on how to act in times of crisis. Over the years I’ve learned that both people and businesses are not made through times of calm. They are made and measured by their reaction to times of difficulty.

“CheapCaribbean.com, through its actions during this difficult time, and especially its people, in the back office and on the ground, made lifelong customers of us. In fact, it’s only been a month, and my wife is already bugging me to plan another trip.”

About CheapCaribbean.com
CheapCaribbean.com is the largest dedicated online provider of beach vacation packages to the Caribbean and Mexico, delivering great value along with exceptional customer service and expertise to more than 250,000 customers each year. Visitors to CheapCaribbean.com can search for deals by resort, destination, or cruise, read extensive customer reviews, and find the best price around available travel dates through the site’s unique CheapFinder technology. With every vacation package, the company provides hurricane and weather insurance, and a Sunshine Protection Plan good for $100 off if it rains, at no extra charge to the customer. Founder “Caribbean Jim” Hobbs, a leading expert on affordable beach travel to the Caribbean and Mexico, dispenses travel advice and tips via email, Twitter, Facebook and his blog. For more information visit http://www.cheapcaribbean.com or call 800-915-2322.

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Sherry Yeaman
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