12 Jun 2013

Q&A with Paloma Fiestas, Reservations Manager, Balkan Holidays London

Following on from our popular blog article a few weeks back featuring our Customer Services Manager, we wanted to continue bringing you a behind the scenes look at some of the Balkan Holidays team members who ensure you can enjoy the holiday you deserve year after year. This week we managed to grab our Reservations Manager, Paloma Fiestas from her busy work day to sit down and have a quick chat with us. Here's how it went....

Paloma Fiestas, Reservations Manager, Balkan Holidays
 
1. Hi Paloma, thank you for joining us today, firstly can you tell us a bit about yourself and as reservations manager, how you and your team interact with Balkan Holidays customers?

Hi Guys. Well I have been working for Balkan Holidays for nearly 10 years now since the first day when I  started as a Reservations Consultant. The Reservations Department is the hub of the Balkan Holidays London office and we work very closely with all our other departments. Not only do we deal with the reservation part of the process but we also assist with all amendments and any questions our travel agents and customers may have prior to departure. Every call is different and varied which makes the job both exciting and interesting.

2. Working in one of the busiest departments, what motivates you and your team to continue to offer the first class call centre service our customers have come to expect of Balkan Holidays?

We are a closely knit team where everyone helps each other. We always strive to answer all questions we get asked and if need be we will contact staff in our overseas offices for further information when other departments are closed and we can not get the answer straight away. If rooms are not available for a specific enquiry, we will send a request to our ground handlers overseas in order to secure the rooms requested. We will always endeavour to get our customers the holiday they want and it is this mindset which has seen us get some great feedback from our customers and agents over the years who comment on the quick and efficient responses they receive on their requests.

3. Besides Bulgaria, Balkan Holidays also offer a wide range of package holidays to the beautiful country of Croatia. What do you think it is about Croatia that is increasing it's popularity year after year?

Croatia is a stunning country. I think it's popularity has increased for various reasons, many of the resorts are not over built like some you may find in other European destinations and even the larger resorts have still kept their beauty. It is also still relatively cheap to eat and drink out. The locals are very friendly and the majority speak very good English and they also provide excellent service. There is something for everyone from lively resorts to quiet sleepy fishing villages. Croatian's are very family orientated and this reflects in their family resorts. For outdoor adventure customers there are good hiking mountains and spectacular waterfalls to visit. Croatia has amazing sea colours that you just do not find in many other European countries and although there are only a couple of sandy beaches this should not put anyone off from travelling there. I have travelled all over the world and Croatia it is definitely in my top 3 countries.

Croatia has amazing sea colours you won't find in many other European countries

4. In addition to helping customers book their holiday, as you've said the reservations department also assists customers with a variety of questions and information they require before they travel, what would you say it the most common question you get asked and the answer of course!

The two main questions we receive are "Do I need to submit passport details? (API)" and "When will I receive my tickets?" To answer them for you now, Air Passenger Information needs to be submitted for the majority of our flights with the main exception being BH Air (our charter flights to Bulgaria). Tickets are either emailed or posted (preferred method of receiving documentation) 10-14 days prior to departure so we always advise our clients to wait until the 14th day has passed before requesting new tickets. We also direct our customers to the Frequently Asked Questions page on the Balkan Holidays website where they can find the answers to similiar questions and perhaps some questions they didn't think to ask themselves!

5. Having worked for Balkan Holidays for so many years, what is your favourite thing about your job and working for the number one tour operator to the Balkan region?


My favourite thing about my job is that it so varied. One day I could be training staff and helping to pick up reservation calls to speaking to insurance companies for repatriations, so with this variation and knowing I am working for a company that has over 48 years experience in the industry it is a very comforting environment to work in and I love doing it.

6. Well thank you for your time today Paloma, as a last question, rumour has it you are known as the "party animal" of the company, so with this in mind, is there any night spots you would recommend to the youngsters visiting Sunny Beach this summer?

Most definitely, my favourite is the Club Cacao Beach which is a beach bar/lounge that has from time to time international DJ's, where you can dance and watch the sunset rise. It is situated further down towards Nessebar. Club Bedroom and Club Briliantin are next door and have great vibes too. In the centre of resort there are the Beach Bar Mexo and Bounce Bar which are also good fun! 

Sunny Beach has lots of great clubs and bars for the young holidaymakers

Paloma and her reservations team can be reached on 0845 130 1114 or by emailing res@balkanholidays.co.uk for any holiday enquiries you may have.