Over the years the travel industry has seen all manner of crises; from supplier failures, virus outbreaks, ash clouds, weather disruptions, drones, Brexit uncertainty… the list goes on.
So how do we look after Travel Counsellors and their customers when disaster strikes?
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.
Rebecca Ashworth's story:
“I had a call from my passengers at 11am one morning. They were on board a cruise in Asia and had just received a letter to say the cruise was being cut short and were heading back Singapore. I called our Duty Office and Claire called me straight back. She arranged new business class flights (knowing my customers only fly business) and two nights in Singapore. Incredibly, this was all done within an hour of the announcement. By midday, I’d got in touch with my customers to tell them they were all sorted and could enjoy their evening, as well as their two nights in Singapore. They were over the moon with the service and told me that others on-board were worried about just how they were going to get home. Safe to say, my customer has been singing my praises and recommending me to everyone.”
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.
Communication is key
We keep in touch with our 1,900 strong global network of Travel Counsellors via daily broadcasts from our in-house TV studio. These live shows allow Travel Counsellors to message in and have their questions answered on air, plus get the most up-to-date information delivered direct.
To complement our TCTV shows, we share vital information via an internal micro-site which is updated daily.
Travel Counsellors are encouraged to stay close to their customers and share this information with them, so that customers can rest assured in the service and expertise their Travel Counsellor provides.
We’ve also created a ‘Trusted Travel’ toolkit; a selection of images, videos and e-cards which franchisees can share with their customers to set them apart from the rest. Check out some of the examples below.
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 for 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 us 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.
You can rely on the TC Community
Travel Counsellors can be available for their customers at times when retail offices are closed, and they are just one phone call away, unlike the maze of call diversions and on-hold music customers are faced with when they book online.
Travel Counsellors are encouraged to support each other when both personal and practical issues arise. And, as ever, if a Travel Counsellor is stuck for what to say or do, our Cape Town & Manchester-based support teams are just a phone call away.
“That community support doesn’t happen by accident – it’s a result of the culture that has been built over years, and I don’t believe there is a single person who wouldn’t offer their shoulder to lean on to someone within the TC community that needed their help. So this is when the power of the community comes into its own. You may be at home but you are never on your own.” - Steve Byrne, CEO