Our group of 13 used Audley to book a two week vacation to South Africa. Planning started out wonderfully, as our travel agent was Ms. Hannah Gelder. Sadly, less than halfway through trip planning Hannah left us. For position in the UK. What a loss. I don t think it gets any better than Hannah Gelder. In came Kristin Jessup. It was apparent that Kristen was not enthused about taking over her group of 13. She never interacted with any of the group members, she s always seems slightly sarcastic, she constantly dropped balls, she failed to send timely invoices, etc. I could go on for days about the reckless experience we had with Ms. Jessup. All I have to say is if you re thinking about using Audley for a trip to south Africa, and you see that Kristin Jessup is your agent- run for your life!
We were promised a conference call with our group of 13 just prior to our take off to south Africa. Kristen failed to do this. Her response was that the group was too large for her. I recall her making the statement pertaining to or large group of 13 several times. Clearly, she was in way over her head with our group. Less than a week to take off, and we still have our travel binders. They had to be FedEx to everyone s doorstep shortly before our departure. Unacceptable. Several people in our group complained to senior members of management. I even received a telephone call from a member of their senior management team stating, I m not going to show my hand, but I will be working here on the ground floor with members of my team to make up for the poor service that you have received . I mentioned to him that I was planning a trip to Brazil and would have loved to use their services for consistency sake. I explained that unfortunately, due to the terrible experience I had with Kristin Jessup, I could not recommend Audley Travel. Once again, this senior-level manager ensured me that he would go to great lengths to win my loyalty back. I suppose he gave up and decided that our group of 13 just wasn t important to Audley Travel. They are very boastful, bragging continuously of past awards and high ratings, but fall short in following through with dis-satisfied customers; it is unfortunate that they take zero pride in retaining those who have patronized their services.
The planning phase with Audley Travel was a complete nightmare. However, when it came to the accommodations and level of service that we received from the locals at each of the lodging facilities in South Africa – it was a five-star experience. Our accommodations at More Quarters in Cape Town, South Africa – absolutely fabulous. Lodging at Notten s Bush Camp, Sabi Sands, Kruger, South Africa – out of this world! Service and splendor of the Peech Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa – exquisite.
We also had the most phenomenal tour guide in Cape Town, and lifetime of memories with our Safari Game Driver Thomas at Notten s Bush Camp in Kruger. I didn t particularly care for our guide in Johannesburg. He was a bit brash, and pompous at times.
The accommodations, tours, and service all arranged by Audley while in south Africa were worthy of five stars. However the service that we received by Kristin Jessup was the worst that I ve ever experienced. The service we received by Kristin is worth less than one star. She did recommend two of her favorite restaurants and make reservations for both while we were in Cape Town. However, she failed to take note of our groups aggressive schedule and timetables. Had she been mindful of our schedule, she would not have double booked us. Because of this we missed out on an opportunity to dine at Potluck Club, a very popular restaurant that is difficult to get into. We were reminded several times by locals, and, our tour guide of how unfortunate it was that we would not be able to make our reservation. I m a foodie, so we were not happy campers.
I m rating Audley Travel three stars; one star for the terrible service, and five stars for the accommodations in South Africa.