TMCs say good service paid dividends during volcano crisis

Guest Writer

Forward-thinking management of client travel plans during the European flight disruptions could pay dividends for capable Middle East-based Travel Management Companies (TMCs).

That’s the consensus of Alshamel International and BCD Travel, both of which have spent the last week employing their technology to track clients stuck overseas due to the grounding of flights and then making alternative accommodation and travel plans.

“By providing the right service how, we hope to develop the trust of our clients,” said Alshamel International Vice President - Travel Agency Benjo Laarhoven.

“We might not be able to fly people home, but we could see where there might be room shortages in advance and so booked clients into hotels before rooms ran out.”

Similarly, BCD Travel has been “providing information (as and when available) and sorting out flights, land transportation, accommodation”  for its customers, backed up by its T 24 service centre, which Managing Director Sumit Acharya said had been “crucial” in helping his team deal with the situation.

We have a number clients stranded in various parts of UK/Europe and are continuously in touch with them exploring options,” he added.

Both Acharya and Laarhoven said that at the start of the crisis, their travel tracking technology had been vital in helping to identify the whereabouts of all customers.

Not only that, but both firms have a global support network, with Alshamel also benefitting from its relationship with the world’s largest TMC, Carlson Wagonlit.

Laarhoven concluded: “It’s been a tough time but all the technology worked. However, during the last few days, with things at a standstill, there is only so much we can do and the coming days will be about recovery.

“Commercially, this is not a big hit, and we have proved to be a TMC that has been there for clients.”

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