In the past few months, we’ve witnessed the collapse of WOW, a low-cost airline and online travel agent BestJet, where thousands of passengers who booked their holidays online in good faith were left out of pocket and without explanation or remedy.
We’ve also seen Mother Nature in chaos; cyclones, fires and ash clouds that not only disrupted travel, but destroyed cities. So how do we look after Travel Counsellors and their customers when disaster strikes?
Duty Office Our 24-hour duty office is constantly monitoring worldwide events such as adverse weather, strikes, natural disasters or any other kind of disruptive activity. They inform Travel Counsellors if any of their bookings are affected and handle issues on a case-by-case basis to find the best solution for that customer. Travel Counsellors can find alternatives and speak to the customers themselves, but the duty office can always step in to resolve the issue and inform the customer.
Crisis Team Our Crisis Team are alerted and prepared whenever there is a chance of being called into action. When Monarch airlines went into administration, they worked throughout Sunday and overnight, so that when the announcement was made at 4am on Monday morning, we were prepared to deal with the impact. This proactive approach to helping our customers at all costs, saw many holidaymakers waking up on Monday morning to hear their bookings had already been sorted before they’d even seen the news.
Supplier failure We offer 100% financial protection. Meaning in the event of supplier failure, our Financial Trust will protect the entire booking, even if only one component is affected.
Travel Counsellor Packages Travel Counsellors have the ability to act as a tour operator and create their own Travel Counsellor (TC) Packages. If a TC Package booking is affected, we will always look for alternatives. Of course, your customer can choose not to travel if they’re not satisfied with the alternatives. If that’s the case, we can offer a full refund for the TC Package so they can re-book another trip.
Our approach to adversity We are not in the business of abandoning customers or hitting them with avoidable costs. We’d much rather make sure they get an experience which will keep them booking with their Travel Counsellor for years to come. That’s why when things do go wrong, Travel Counsellor franchisees work with head office to take the brunt of the impact, leaving the customer free to enjoy their holiday as much as possible.
Responsibility for our customers extends from a moral duty of care, where we approach each incident with a sense of humanity (instead of a ‘computer says no’ response) to offering multiple levels of financial protection for our customers.