Travel Agents

What to do in an emergency: Advice from experts

In case you missed it, or were living under a rock, Hawaiians and travellers in the area were recently rocked when a false alert of an incoming missile was sent out by text.

Thankfully, it wasn’t real, but nevertheless, it put agents and the services they provide in an emergency under the spotlight, mostly for good reasons.

Yesterday, we shared a story of a US agent and the stops she pulled out to assist and comfort her clients, as well as Flight Centre boss Skroo Turner’s hot tips on how the agency deals with such a crisis.

But every agency is different, so we’ve dived a tad deeper to see how other agency models offer their clients the utmost support. And offer kudos to all the agents going above and beyond in these circumstances for their customers.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, Mobile Travel Agents (MTA) co-managing director, Roy Merricks, said often it comes down to how fast the news travels.

“We do know where our MTA clients are when they are travelling but like everyone, we else rely on news services to learn about events such the Hawaii false missile alert, plus of course from our clients directly,” he said.

“We always encourage clients to contact their MTA Member if they have any concerns at all, from everyday travelling issues through to major incidents.

“Each situation requires specific assistance and MTA is always contactable on a 24/7 basis for collaboration and to give an appropriate response.”

Meanwhile, at QBT, agents undergo crisis management training to prepare for such an event.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, Nick Sutherland, Group GM QBT and Ana Pedersen, Global Director of Corporate Sales QBT revealed a lot goes into training their staff.

“QBT’s agents undergo annual crisis management training to deal with emergency and crisis situations,” they said.

“Additionally our agents are supported by a separate QBT crisis management team which has undergone comprehensive training to deal with a crisis, the steps necessary to ensure customers are located, corporations and security departments are notified of affected travellers and who work alongside suppliers and emergency/crisis teams to assist all those impacted.

“Our team operates 24×7, therefore when a crisis occurs we immediately activate our crisis management procedures across all our trained staff.”

“Companies have a duty towards their employees and to protect them when travelling on behalf of business, but we also see it as our duty as a corporate travel partner to ensure we step up too and provide corporations with all the necessary information required to locate and assist affected travellers in crisis situations,” they added.

“At the end of the day, safety and security has to be paramount.”

The pair talked about their QBT Traveller Tracking, and how it’s helped them better manage these kinds of emergencies worldwide.

“QBT Traveller Tracking will assist with any situation that may arise be it a natural disaster, a terror-related incident, an act of war, an emergency crisis, or even inclement weather that may impact travel and safety of travellers,” they said.

“It  allows us to track an organisation’s travellers using the GPS functionality in their phone and reach out to travellers in the vicinity, advise them of the incident and ask them if they require assistance.

“We’re also always keeping travel arrangers informed of traveller whereabouts in these situations. This simplifies the process and provides comfort to both travellers and organisations in a crisis situation.”

 


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