Gant Travelers Versus The Volcano

The opening lines of the 1990 Tom Hanks cult movie “Joe Versus The Volcano,” introduced popular culture to the term “Brain Cloud.” No doubt a good share of travel managers this month were feeling the effects of a “Brain Cloud” too.   Once again, we were reminded of the ageless connection we share with travelers from the past.  Even though we can fly across the skies in large metal tubes defying gravity along the way while listening to any one of the 1500 songs on our ipods, the dependent factor for “ having a nice trip” is often plain old Mother Nature.

Many of you had a front row seat to the decade’s most recent benchmark of a travel debacle as  Eyjafjallajokull  (just in case you haven’t tried to pronounce it yet – here is some help,  Ey-ja-fjadd-la-ju-couddl ) showed millions of travelers around the world what a  turbine engine mechanic’s nightmare looks like.  However, we can all be grateful that no aircraft was actually impacted while in flight from the ash cloud.

The entire incident might have made you realize the strength or weakness of your travel agency.  Afterhours care is one of the main reasons why travel managers continue to rely on travel management firms instead of just banking on the airlines to ensure they have assistance when their travelers need extra help. For example, Delta Airlines’ reservation center simply stopped taking phone calls during the periods of heaviest call volume; the auto attendant voice message asked the caller to “try again later.”   Obviously this advice was problematic since the ash cloud lasted for more than five days.

As many of you know, we place extra staff on our afterhours team for the Saturday and Sunday of the 17th and 18th of April to ensure our travelers had help. Examining the call statistics shows that on Saturday we took 84 calls between 8 AM and 6 PM central, the average hold was 1 minute 17 seconds and the longest hold was 6.5 minutes. Sunday’s call volume for the same period was slightly less at 71 calls. The average hold was 50 seconds and the longest hold was 5.5 minutes.

The people that made these extraordinary call statistics possible were many of the outstanding agents of Gant Travel.  We have an “Inside Gant” name for our agents who consistently volunteer to take on additional afterhours duties when anything from a volcano to thunderstorms impacts our travelers, we call them “Superheroes.”

Gant’s Superheroes this month are:

Nancy

Maria

Kelly

Deanna

Karen W.

Karen V.

Michelle

Melissa

Ann

Wendy

Vicky

Donna

Debi O.

The past 10 days have shown how truly super they are; thank you all who gave up part or all of their weekends to help our travelers hopefully get home this past week.   Their professionalism inspires me and many others.

For more information please contact Patrick Linnihan, patrick.linnihan@ganttravel.com, or see www.ganttravel.com