Don’t let the early spring blossoms fool you. Heavy winter snow is still a strong possibility in March and April. And then come spring storms. The reality is bad weather can happen anytime, and when it does, it’s probably going to disrupt your travelers’ business trips.
But travel managers can work with their travel management companies to ease the effects. BCD Travel Senior Vice President Tracy Maier offers a few tips for reducing the pain of weather-related trip disruptions:
Keep travelers informed
Put weather warnings on your TMC portal or your company’s intranet as soon as possible, then advise travelers and travel arrangers to go online to make bookings that aren’t happening within the next 72 hours. That way, travelers who are en route or have immediate travel plans affected by the storm can get agents’ full attention.
Give good guidance
If there’s a chance for extreme weather, advise affected travelers not to check in 24 hours in advance. Once a traveler has checked in, some carriers do not allow TMCs to access the record to make changes. Plus, if travelers check in closer to departure time, they will receive more accurate weather information and news about potential flight disruptions.
Explain the waiver process to travelers. Airlines issue waivers to allow TMCs to make changes to travelers’ reservations. But there are still times when an airline may block TMC access to the traveler’s reservation. For example, if a waiver is used once and bad weather causes a need for a second change, the TMC may have to contact the airline for a second waiver code. That can greatly extend the time it takes to solve a travelers’ flight problems.
Warn travelers that weather disruptions can have an effect on flights originating in locations where the weather is fine. Their aircraft could be delayed in a city that’s being hit by a storm.
Provide proactive service
BCD extends core business hours during extreme weather disruptions and increases support to our after-hours emergency service team to make sure clients’ travelers get the assistance they need. In addition, BCD’s Disruption Services can proactively re-accommodate travelers when a trip gets disrupted. Flights are monitored 24/7, and the TMC identifies and ranks every real and potential cancellation, misconnect and extended delay. (Check out a case study of global health care imaging provider Carestream’s experience with Disruption Services, as well as a video of how it works.)
For even higher-touch help, ask about Elite24, a BCD offering for top travelers and executives. It provides proactive VIP services, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year—like having an agent along on elite travelers’ trips.
Be ready for what’s ahead
Encourage travelers to keep traveler profiles up to date with the right contact information, including mobile numbers, so you and your TMC can reach them during a disruption. Accurate traveler profiles are key to ensuring proper duty of care during any kind of travel crisis; it’s an essential part of preparing for bad weather, as well as today’s evolving travel risks.
Send travelers regular messages to request that they update profiles—don’t just send reminders when bad weather is on the way. Follow the duty of care example of Pitney Bowes, which built the tagline “If we can’t find you, we can’t help you” into all traveler communications. The U.S.-based technology company uses BCD’s business intelligence platform DecisionSource to effectively managing traveler profiles, ensuring the company has the right information and can get to it quickly.
Ask your account manager how BCD Travel can help you minimize the effects of trip disruptions to keep your travelers productive, satisfied and moving your business.