During high season, thousands of guests arrive in WestJet’s most popular Mexican and Caribbean destinations each week. To help ensure every vacation experience is remarkable, WestJet Vacations has destination experience representatives living and working in those hot spots.
Puerto Vallarta is such a popular destination that it’s one of only four destinations with a year-round rep. Kait, Puerto Vallarta’s Destination Experience Representative for three years now, is kept busy resolving guest issues, building key business relationships and sharing the caring WestJet culture with everyone she meets. In fact, high season is busy enough that each October, Kait welcomes a second rep to Puerto Vallarta for eight months.
Living and working in Puerto Vallarta has obvious perks. Reps get to soak up the culture of another country while skipping the winter weather back home in Canada. They also get a chance to work independently, supported by our team back in Canada, in a guest-focused role that truly makes a difference.
Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? According to Kait, it is. Most of the time. Like every role, its rewards come with challenges.
Day to day, a rep’s main focus includes making contact with every guest during their vacation and ensuring they get the vacation package they purchased and that their expectations are met. For the vast majority of our guests, vacations unfold exactly as planned. However, with thousands of guests arriving on vacations each week, occasionally Kait’s expertise and relationships are needed to find solutions for something that isn’t quite right.
To accomplish the varied nature of the issues brought up, Kait relies heavily on her smartphone and responds to guest concerns at any time of day. She has assisted guests with everything from hospitalization and imprisonment to, sadly, the death of a loved one back home. More often, though, she responds to guests concerns about their hotel property or destination.
I recently visited Kait in the city she now calls home to learn exactly how she manages it all. Here’s just a small glimpse at my experience and her role.
4:15 p.m. – I arrive at Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR). I’m welcomed just as any guest would be—with WestJet Vacations signs directing me toward Kait and our Timon Tours reps, a cold bottle of water, some information about the briefing I can attend the next day at my hotel and a ride to my home away from home. A warm welcome to a hot city.
8 a.m. – Kait and I head to the Palladium Vallarta Resort and Spa. At 9 a.m., with newly arrived guests in attendance, Kait and Timon Tours rep Roberto give a briefing. They review topics like drinking water, safety, transportation, tours, currency and banks, airport transfers for guest departures and, most importantly, Kait’s contact info. After the briefing, we move to the rep’s desk to await guests who have questions or concerns with their vacation package that need to be rectified.
11:20 a.m. – We’re a little early for the 11:30 a.m. briefing at Dreams Villamagna. Kait takes the opportunity to follow-up with two gentlemen who needed help earlier in the week. They confirm that their concerns were addressed and that their trip has been great since they last talked to Kait. They ask her for a restaurant recommendation and Kait suggests a couple of her favourites nearby.
1 p.m. – During a city tour, I get a feel for the vast area Kait deals with. It’s almost two hours between the Palladium in the north and the Barceló Puerto Vallarta in the south. We also pass the Timon Tours office, where Kait often works, and the office where the Canadian consulate, one of Kait’s important contacts, works.
9 a.m. – Since no WestJet flights arrive today, we’re at the office. Kait catches up on her paperwork and follows up on outstanding guest concerns and those that require additional attention. She tracks which guests she contacted face-to-face (always preferred but not always possible), phoned or left a CARE card for. She also notes which guests had issues and prepares the paperwork needed to welcome the guests arriving the next day.
Written here, it all seems pretty straightforward. Seeing it in person, though, it’s complicated and requires flexibility. Kait adapts and responds with compassion, care and expertise and uses her problem-solving skills to ensure guests have the “perfect” vacation experience.