Winter weather can sometimes make business travel a challenge and winter storms can cause delays, cancellations and general inconvenience for travelers across the country. With that in mind, here are some tips from seasoned travelers to minimize the impact weather has on your travel this winter, as well as some of the steps we take to ensure we are able to accommodate increases in call volume caused by Mother Nature.
Winter Storm Travel Tips
We talked to some of our company road warriors, like our Directors of Technology Solutions Tim Arnold and Margie Cope, to understand what they do when winter weather threatens their travel plans. Here are their top recommendations:
- Try to connect at an airport hub that is less likely to be affected by winter weather, i.e. usually the more south the better.
- If you know a storm is forecast to arrive at your destination or where you are connecting, try to get there before the weather does and make arrangements to leave after it departs as well.
- Booking an early flight improves your chances of finding a seat on a later departure, should your original flight be canceled or delayed.
- Longer layovers provide a better chance of making your connection if your original flight is delayed by weather.
- Ensure that your phone number is registered in your frequent flyer profile so that the airline will be able to contact you regarding delays and cancellations. Tim explains, “If an airline is going to cancel a flight, frequent flier participants are normally the first ones to be notified.”
Make sure you have the latest version of your corporate travel app, such as Travel and Transport's Dash Mobile, to receive alternate flight information, book travel or contract a travel counselor.
Travel and Transport Winter Storm Preparations
In addition to the efforts that travelers can make to prepare for winter storms, there are several steps your corporate travel management company can take to ensure that they are providing you with the best possible support during a winter storm. In order to better understand what Travel and Transport does to prepare, we spoke with Matt Gunkel, Senior Director, Central Services and Teri Nolan, Senior Operations Manager, After-hours and Online Fulfillment Departments. Here are the steps they conveyed:
- Before the trip, we encourage our clients’ travelers to utilize our Dash Portal company travel hub, which is personalized for each individual with travel alerts, travel policy and profile information, trip invoices, available unused tickets and access to the company online booking tool.
- Our Command Center disseminates alerts regarding travel conditions, delays, cancellations and airport closures to our clients.
- We run reports on the areas where the weather is forecasted to hit and determine which clients have travelers that will likely be effected.
- Based on our forecasts, our after-hours Emergency Services managers bring on extra travel counselors to handle extra call volume.
- When necessary, we activate an established after-hours Catastrophe Team of office-hour travel counselors to answer calls from the clients they regularly support. As Matt explains, “This allows our Emergency Service travel counselors to assist our other clients and results in reduced wait time for all callers.”
- Through our Dash Mobile corporate travel app, we provide itinerary alerts and allow travelers access to weather information, alternate flights and one-touch connection to a travel counselor.
Case Study: Winter Storm Grayson
During the first week of January 2018, Winter Storm Grayson dropped snow and ice along the Atlantic coast line and caused flight cancellations from Boston to Orlando. When meteorologists identified when the storm would hit, our operations and Emergency Services teams adjusted staffing levels to meet expected service levels.
- Additional after-hours Emergency Services travel counselors were utilized to handle increased call volume.
- Travel and Transport's average Emergency Services speed of answer was 0:18 (18 seconds).
- We tripled Emergency Services staff (including designated Catastrophe Teams) to cover additional call volume.
- Travel and Transport's average speed of answer was 1:01 (one minute, one second).
- Additional Emergency Services travel counselors were utilized to handle increased call volume due to the storm hitting Chicago in the afternoon.
- Travel and Transport's average speed of answer was 2:26 (two minutes and 26 seconds).
By having a plan in place that enabled us to proactively bring in additional staff, our travelers were assisted more quickly and were less inconvenienced by closures and cancellations caused by Winter Storm Grayson.