Hurricane Florence was a strong reminder of the power of nature and the power of being prepared for it. From Sept. 15 to 17, airlines canceled 7,702 flights globally, and another 26,741 flights were delayed as pilots navigated their way around the hurricane. Yet business travelers served by BCD Travel were aware of what was coming because the travel management company had been spreading the word and preparing for the worst for several days.
- On Sept. 11 and 12, 4,692 potentially affected travelers received alerts via BCD’s TripSource® app, warning that their upcoming trips might be affected by the storm.
- At the same time, BCD agents in North America began operating under an “orange” alert.
- For the next several days, all planned telephone and technology upgrades that might delay agent responses were put on hold.
- An elevated staffing plan went into action, making additional agents available to help affected travelers rebook flights or reroute trips to make it to their destinations with minimal disruptions.
- BCD clients were kept up to date on the storm and how the TMC was responding to it via regular communications from account managers.
- During the three highest-volume call days, 68% of traveler calls were answered within 30 seconds.
“Our traveler communications and agent readiness improve with every storm or natural disaster,” said Bernd Rittinger, BCD’s vice president of Strategic Operations in the U.S. “We learned a lot from 2017’s hurricanes. Last year we had a 186% increase in crisis-related demand, but our agent response-time metrics kept getting better.
“Events like these remind us—and our clients—of companies’ duty of care responsibilities and travelers’ duty of loyalty responsibilities to their employers,” he said. “We use the awareness that storms bring to engage travelers in updating profiles with the right information, especially mobile numbers, so their employers can reach them in any kind of crisis.”