behind a TMC:
The Value of People in a Crisis
Whether you’re facing cancelled flights, forgotten passports, or a global pandemic, who do you turn to when things go wrong? No matter how amazing technology can be and how advanced it gets, it will never be the same as having a real person to speak to. Granted, there are occasions when you don’t need to speak to anyone or you’d rather rely on technology to do it yourself, but when facing a genuine crisis no amount of tech or can-do attitude can suffice.
At FCBT we’ve always known how important our amazing teams of Travel Experts and the added layer of support from our 24 hour emergency assistance team are to our customers. Of course we have our online platform HelloFCBT and our app for travellers and arrangers, Sam :]. But one thing we’ve noticed is that during times of emergency or crisis, the amount our travellers reach out to our Travel Experts or Emergency assist team significantly increases.
So we’ve decided to put a spotlight on our crisis heroes - our emergency assistance team - for all their hard work during 2020 and into 2021. Below are the number of out-of-hours calls dealt with during the start of the Coronavirus pandemic.
BELOW IS A VISUAL REPRESENTATION OF THE MONTHLY CALLS HANDLED BY OUR EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE TEAM FOR FLIGHT CENTRE BUSINESS TRAVEL UK COMPARATIVELY, TO THE SAME PERIOD LAST YEAR.
What our numbers show
Unsurprisingly, 2020 was by far busier than 2019, but what does that mean? Each month had its own set of challenges and incidences that could have contributed to the increased number of calls, so let’s take a deeper dive into each month:
January: The lowest of the quarter but still roughly 10% up on the previous year. There may not have been any significant disasters or global issues to cause a spike, but January 2020 was the busiest month on record. The more people travelling, the more people in need of personal assistance when something doesn’t go to plan.
February: With global lockdown still a few weeks away, there were other significant factors impacting our travellers in February. Across the UK we were hit by multiple large storms that grounded planes and disrupted flight paths. Storm Ciara hit in the beginning of February and caused hundreds of cancellations and delays. Giving us little time for respite, Storm Dennis hit a week later with stronger winds and even more disruption.
March: The beginning of the global pandemic. Although travel in China and across Asia had started grinding to a halt, the impact across Europe and subsequently globally wasn’t felt until March. As each day passed there were more updates, cancellations and changes. With borders closing and travellers around the world attempting to get home quickly, our experts were in overdrive to help get customers home.
What does this all mean?
If these numbers can show us anything, it’s the value of people in a crisis. Needing advice from a real person who has expert industry knowledge and can help reschedule, cancel or reroute your travel plans is invaluable. We’ve seen more of our customers lean on our emergency assistance in times of need. Whether that’s from an individual level (“I’ve missed my flight”) to a collective issue, (“The country is cancelling all flights”) we know that sometimes you just need someone on hand to help you out. These figures just show our out-of-hours teams only, so don’t include the support our Travel Experts give to their customers on a daily basis. Many of our experts go over and above their working hours to ensure their customers are always looked after.
Why use a Travel Management Company?
When looking at numbers like these you can really see why a TMC (Travel Management Company) is seen as an extension of most businesses. Without the support of a dedicated Travel Expert and the backing of an out-of-hours team, you lose that personal connection and the real thought that is needed behind helping a traveller in a challenging situation. On top of that, the truly great TMCs are the ones that offer the best well-rounded approach. Having the ability to use technology or AI when needed, balanced with real people accessible at all times is what really matters to travellers and those looking after travellers.