Pulling together in times of crisis
The UK recently experienced the largest airline ever to go into administration with the collapse of Monarch Airlines. Monarch, was the fifth largest British airline operating charter and scheduled flights carrying over 5.7 million passengers. Last week, the failure left 110,000 holidaymakers stranded abroad. Here, Travel Counsellors Commercial Director Kirsten Hughes talks about how the team pulled together in a time of crisis:
“Here at Travel Counsellors we have spent the last few years studying and learning from industry failures of this nature. We’ve developed our technology so that our global Head Offices, and Travel Counsellors, are equipped with the correct tools, knowledge and support in the event of a failure.
At 2pm on Sunday 1st October, we made the decision to invoke our emergency crisis plan and by 4pm we had over 30 volunteers in our head office in Manchester. We started the process of prepping Travel Counsellors, making and answering hundreds of calls and emails to get ourselves in the strongest possible position. We made some commercial decisions early, acknowledging that we wanted customers, wherever possible, to still be able to travel on imminent departures.
We got the news that Monarch had collapsed just after 4am and our priority was to ensure customers, both abroad and those due to travel, were kept fully informed as the situation developed. With almost 2,300 passengers affected, we had many of those rebooked within minutes of the announcement and by 7am, 70% of our bookings were acknowledged, meaning their Personal Travel Counsellor was already dealing with the situation.
In times of crisis, this business is awesome and it’s when we really come into our own. The value of what our Travel Counsellors do for their customers is never more paramount that in these situations. It’s fortunate for Travel Counsellors customers that we have the most comprehensive financial protection in place, however, in the wider industry, more needs to be done to safeguard customers in events like this especially where an airline ceases trading.
To say I am proud of the Travel Counsellors team is an understatement. I am very grateful that I get to do what I love to do the most, more so that I get to do it every day as a part of such a caring and inspirational group of people.”
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Travel Counsellors Australia was established in 2007 and currently has nearly 150 Travel Counsellors. Our head office in Australia is in Melbourne. Travel Counsellors Australia is accredited with ATAS. Travel Counsellors is the world’s largest home-based travel company. Founded in 1994 it currently has 1,680 travel consultants who work from home with the support of over 350 staff at the company’s UK global headquarters and overseas offices. The company operates in Australia, UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, South Africa, UAE and Belgium.