Winter weather can sometimes make business travel a challenge and winter storms can cause flight delays, cancellations and general inconvenience for travelers. With that in mind, here are some tips from seasoned travelers to minimize the impact winter weather has on your travel, as well as some of the steps we take at Travel and Transport 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:
- If you can't fly direct, try to connect at an airport hub that is less likely to be affected by winter weather, i.e. usually the farther south the better if you're traveling in the U.S.
- If you know a storm is forecast to arrive at your destination or at your connection point, try to get there before the storm does and make arrangements to leave after it departs.
- Booking an early morning 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.
- Ensure that your phone number is registered in your frequent flyer profile so the airline will be able to contact you regarding delays and cancellations. Tim explains, “If an airline is going to cancel a flight, frequent flyer participants are often the first 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 contact a travel advisor for assistance.
Travel Management Company 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 they are providing the best possible support before, during and after 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, Director, After-hours and eFulfillment. Here are the steps they conveyed:
- Based on our forecasts, our emergency service managers bring on extra travel advisors to handle increased call volume. When necessary, we activate our Catastrophe Team. As Matt explains, “This allows travel advisors to continue providing normal service to clients not impacted, while resulting in reduced wait time for all callers.”
- Our enhanced after-hours technology allows for call back functionality for those who wish to not stay on hold for the next available travel advisor. Choosing the call back feature and providing their contact information allows travelers to remain productive. There is value in this service benefit for those impacted by large scale flight delays and cancellations.
- We disseminate alerts to clients regarding travel conditions, delays, cancellations and airport closures.
- We provide itinerary updates and allow travelers access to weather information, alternate flight options and a one-touch connection to a travel advisor through our Dash Mobile corporate travel app.
- Before any trip we encourage our clients’ travelers to utilize our Dash Portal technology, which is personalized for each individual with travel alerts that may impact their upcoming trips. The portal can also contain travel policy and profile information, trip invoices, available unused tickets and direct access to online booking.
- 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 affected.
- 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.”
By having a plan in place that enables us to proactively bring in additional staff and easily manage traveler calls, our travelers are able to be assisted more quickly, with fewer inconveniences caused by winter storm closures and cancellations. What tips do you have for traveling during the winter? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.