September was a tragic month for many people, whose lives were impacted by the quick succession of devastating hurricanes and earthquakes mainly affecting the Caribbean, Mexico, and the South and Southeast United States. Our thoughts are with those who are still suffering in the aftermath of these natural disasters.
As a Travel Management Company, not only do we respond to events like these by helping our clients’ travelers or residents leave an affected region, but we also proactively reach out to travelers to cancel or rearrange their itineraries, prevent disruptions, and keep them out of harm’s way.
After an Emergency Response (ER) event, our Operations Department and Senior Leadership Team band together to debrief. We ask ourselves, “What did we do right, and what can we do better?”
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at World Travel, Inc.’s response to these tragic events…
These recent natural disasters occurred during a traditionally very busy reservation month following summer vacations. As shown above, call volume last month was 12% higher than the year before.
To provide additional support, many team members worked outside of their normal business hours to assist our customers.
The situation in Puerto Rico presented a challenge, as all the airports were closed, and airlines were not operational in the area. Although the impact on our operations was minimal, many of our clients’ employees reside in Puerto Rico, and some of them were running low on life-sustaining supplies. In that instance, we chartered a private jet to extract them and bring them to safety.
During debrief, we also evaluate feedback from our clients. See a few examples of feedback below.
What our clients are saying…
"As a Houston residency, displaced in Atlanta during Hurricane Harvey, I wanted to email you and let you know about the professional and personal service I received from Lori Winther. I was so impressed with her help and expertise, that I asked for your name as her supervisor to let you know. Lori assisted me each day to replace continued cancelled flights on United Airlines. She contacted me many times of her own volition, checked on me at the Atlanta airport, and greeted me by email when I arrived in Houston late yesterday afternoon.
Thank you, Lori, for your help. I know I could have handled some of the things you did for me, but in my disoriented, anxious state, you calmed my mind and settled my nerves."
"I wanted to send you a brief note to let you know that Jamie Breisch is truly amazing. Jamie helped navigate me home on Friday from Memphis so I could make it home with Hurricane Irma approaching. Jamie is easy to get in touch with, is very detailed, and a pleasure to work with. I could not have done this without her help to get home safely and home Friday night."
"I asked Janice for her boss's name to give her kudos on always being there for me. Yesterday she was quick to resolve rebooking airline tickets for me and a colleague at NECA as we had issues traveling with hurricane Irma. She always handles things quickly, accurately, and with great enthusiasm. We enjoy knowing Janice is always there for us."
If you have additional feedback to share with our team, please send us an email at email@example.com or post it in the comments section.
So, what could we do better? Well, we’d like to provide you with more information about the types of alerts we send and how to sign up for them.
We offer four different types of client-facing notifications, each with their own purpose and target audience.
In the event of significant impact to travel and travel management operations, we’ll notify you and your travelers with an email Announcement.
The recent hurricanes and earthquakes certainly warranted Announcements to be sent to those who had potential risk to their itineraries or operations. See how many travel managers and travelers were contacted via the graphic below.
Global alerts are email notifications of events that affect travel around the globe, which are sent specifically to travel managers. You can also customize what you receive based on destination, urgency level, category, and significance of travel impact.
Trip Alerts are sent to travelers when a significant travel disruption may impact a location on their flight itinerary, with a margin of five days before and after the trip.
After booking your first trip through World Travel, Inc., all travelers are invited (via email) to opt in to receive FlightAlerts about any future flight booked through World Travel, Inc. FlightAlerts can be delivered through email or SMS text. All WorldMobile™ users have FlightAlerts integrated into the flight itinerary detail page. The user can also elect to allow FlightAlerts push notifications.
If you’d like to sign up for GlobalAlerts, TripAlerts, or FlightAlerts, just ask your dedicated Account Manager, who will get you set up.
If you have additional questions about these services, or if you’d like to learn more about our response to September’s emergencies, feel free to ask in the comments section below.
Also, any feedback is greatly appreciated. Please share below!
Banner Image by Loren Gu via Unsplash