You’ve Seen the Travel Headlines. Here’s How We Navigated It!
If you’ve been following the headlines the last few months, you’ve likely seen the changing protocols and issues facing the airline industry. This travel season may have brought more challenges than anticipated, but it was nonetheless rewarding and worthwhile to have students traveling again!
You may be wondering, how does a student travel company navigate these ever-changing protocols? How do flight changes impact groups? We’re happy to share how our team worked tirelessly to deliver life-changing experiences and anticipate the inevitable bumps along the way as the travel industry restarted.
Travel + Leisure reported that over Memorial Day weekend alone, over 2,500 flights were canceled. The impact of flight delays and cancellations ranged for our groups, but the constant for them all was the dedicated support they received from our team. One group’s return flight from NYC was canceled at the last minute. Despite our best efforts, part of the group had to remain in the city an extra day before returning home. Our Trip Delivery team sprang into action, securing hotel rooms and even coordinating an extra activity for the group to enjoy with their extra time.
CHANGING PROTOCOLS & AVAILABILITY
This Spring, we monitored the reopenings and changing protocols of popular venues and attractions meticulously. While it was exciting to have more and more options available to our groups, the timing of these updates posed ongoing challenges. Our itineraries are finalized months before tours take place, but since some attractions reopened weeks before some groups’ arrivals, we pivoted plans to accommodate as many of our groups as possible.
Beyond whether an attraction was open or not, our team also navigated changing operating hours at venues and availability limitations. In the last two years, a number of popular attractions and venues rolled out timed entry tickets for the first time. Much like logging in at a precise time to secure coveted concert tickets, our team diligently worked to secure the needed tickets at the most desirable times, even if it meant re-arranging long-finalized itineraries so that our groups could enjoy these experiences.
Challenges with airline changes and attraction availability may be beyond our control, but one thing our team can and has controlled is our responsiveness to issues large and small. Our emergency line is manned by our team of crisis watch specialists. This team is trained to handle issues in a timely, effective, empathetic, and professional manner. It’s one of the key benefits of working with a dedicated company the size of Global Travel Alliance. The people behind the scenes are not only competent and passionate about serving our travelers, but they’re also empowered experts.
No one wants to utilize an emergency line during travel, as that means something unexpected has occurred. But when you reach a staff member on our emergency line, you’re connecting with someone who is dedicated to resolving the issue at hand as quickly, simply, and desirably as possible. This is important not only for the impacted traveler(s), but the guide and entire group. With our team on the case providing the needed support by phone, the group’s guide is able to get back to delivering an exciting tour with minimal impact to the rest of the travelers.
This trip season may have presented us with more hurdles than predicted, but our team has been energized by the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received from students, parents, and group leaders. Travel offers students incredible opportunities to expand their worldview, experience different cultures, enjoy hands-on learning and so much more. It’s our team’s joy and privilege to manage the behind the scenes work to make it possible!
Katie is the Director of Marketing for Global Travel Alliance. She resides in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and son. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging out in Pittsburgh’s international food neighborhood, the Strip District, or planning her family’s next travel adventure.
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