By Molly McCoy, Community Manager
Vacations & Cruises Manager Karen McCrink is not easily surprised. From planning client itineraries throughout the world to supervising the Atlas Travel leisure agents and supplier relations, Karen multitasks like it’s her job. In fact, it is. But in early May, she received a referral from the Atlas Travel corporate division that was a little out of the ordinary.
“A corporate client was traveling to Johannesburg, South Africa, on a business trip and wanted to extend her stay to include a safari,” said Karen. “She already had her roundtrip itinerary booked and tickets issued through her corporate agent, and was looking to fill those final days with this excursion.”
The goal seemed reasonable. How often do you find yourself in South Africa with days to spare? Now, Karen had to find a safari excursion, additional accommodations and transfers to fit within the predetermined flights. Oh, and by the way, the trip is in June. Yes, this June.
“Based on the short time frame I had to plan, my first two suggestions were not available, and I had to come up with other options,” said Karen.
The client ultimately chose Kirkman’s Kamp, a lodge located adjacent to the world-renowned Kruger National Park on Sabi Sands Game Reserve. The Kamp was named in honor of one of South Africa’s foremost conservationists, and is the largest privately owned game reserve in the country, located on one of the most elevated sites overlooking the Sand River.
“With the lodge’s location and the limited time in mind, we decided on a chartered flight that flies into a nearby airport, instead of landing at the larger commercial airport, which is farther away,” Karen explained. “The itinerary is amazing, with day and evening game drives, three meals included every day, and really beautiful accommodations.”
Even with such abbreviated planning time, Karen was able to not only book a dream itinerary for this corporate client, but also fit it into the allotted “extra days” of the business trip. While this kind of creative sprint was an exceptional example of Atlas Travel service, Karen says the concept of adding a leisure itinerary at the beginning or end of a corporate trip is fairly common.
“A lot of people have done an extended trip like this. Many travelers will bring a spouse with them, and our leisure division will take care of that ticket and extend the trip a few days to do something fun. It’s usually an opportunity suited for a significant or special destination. If you think you might not get back to that place for pleasure very often (or ever), it’s worth it to explore your options.”
Are you interested in extending a corporate trip booked through Atlas Travel? Karen has a few words of advice to make sure everything goes smoothly.
“Most importantly, let your corporate agent know that you are interested in adding personal plans to your trip. That lets our Atlas Travel divisions work together to make the most cohesive plans and give you, the traveler, the best options. If there were to be any issue with your trip, we can support you at both ends. This safari trip worked well because despite the possible setbacks, everyone was on the same page and ultimately made it happen!”
Click here to learn more about Atlas Travel Vacations & Cruises. Want some destination inspiration? Click here to view some of our agents’ recent trips.