HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
How Direct Travel used Travelport to help a travel nurse return home to her terminally ill father in extreme weather conditions that put outgoing flights at a standstill.
MEET DIRECT TRAVEL
Direct Travel is a travel management company (TMC) based in Canada, with over 80+ offices across North America, that vows to look after their customers, no matter what. Their mission statement to deliver “whatever it takes” is enacted daily by their 1,700+ staff, and this has been their M.O. for over 65 years.
Canada is known for its cold winters; however, a particularly bad December meant that unusually snowy conditions put a stop to many travelers’ plans. This was the case for one nurse on placement, who, having completed her two-month assignment in Grande Prairie, Alberta, planned to fly home to Vancouver for Christmas.
As the days drew closer to the year’s biggest holiday, the snow in Vancouver increased tenfold, delaying some flights departing Grand Prairie and eventually cancelling the majority flying east. So, Direct Travel organized a rental car for the traveler to drive to Edmonton and from there, fly home.
FINDING THE RIGHT ROUTE
Direct Travel’s teams are well-versed in sourcing last-minute travel plans for their business travel clients. But even the most harmoniously planned trips can be disrupted by unpredictable external circumstances — such as natural disasters and adverse weather conditions.
But this TMC is fast to respond, no matter what situation a client finds themselves in. When the traveler’s first, second and third flight options from Edmonton got cancelled, Direct Travel were quick on their feet to organize a car rental to get the nurse home. As weather conditions on the road worsened, the traveler was unexpectedly stranded on the highway, alone, and at midnight.
BEING THERE, NO MATTER WHAT
Giving the traveler someone to rely on is crucial, and one of the areas at which Direct Travel excels. In this situation, a highly distressed traveler needed options fast, and Karen Gonzalez, corporate operations manager, was quick to answer. Although car rental options were extremely limited due to increased travel surrounding the Christmas holiday, Karen was able to use Travelport to find another vehicle. And because it was nighttime, the traveler needed a hotel ASAP.
Using Travelport, the platform that automates manual tasks and delivers all the options quickly, Karen found a hotel nearby and sourced another car. This freed up precious time that was critically needed to support the traveler via call and text on Karen’s personal phone.
Customers want to be heard, and have someone to help them in person. This is something really missing in the world right now. But we can provide that.
Karen Gonzalez, Corporate Operations Manager at Direct Travel
TOOLS TO WEATHER THE STORM
With such a complicated case at hand, having the right tools by your side is essential. The broad range of hotel and car content on Travelport, as well as it’s user-friendly retailing storefront makes it easy for any travel advisor to find all the information they need in one place. For Karen, the hotel retail tool in Smartpoint was a last-minute savior in securing accommodations for the traveler as an interim solution. Instead of needing to go to a third-party browser for a replacement car rental and then do a hotel search, everything was under one umbrella platform.
Cassandra Wegner, Senior Travel Advisor, says the platform’s user friendliness saves her time when looking for elements of a trip. “The ease of use of Travelport is number one for me. You can book flights, car rentals and hotels, all in one place.”
And Brian Robertson, president of the Canada West region says it’s the support of the Travelport team that has enabled a happy long-term business relationship.
Travelport’s able to support us, as they’re available 24/7. Changes can be made fast… it’s just a great system.
Brian Robertson, President of Canada West at Direct Travel
A FAMILY, REUNITED
Thanks to the hard work done by Karen and her team, this traveler could make it home in time to visit her father in hospice care. The traveler was so grateful to make it to her destination, and the team say the client continues to send kudos letting them know they’re doing a good job.
Thanks to the hard work done by Karen and her team, the traveler made it home in time to visit her father in hospice care. The traveler was so grateful to reach her destination, and the client continues to send kudos letting the team know they’re doing a good job.
While it was undoubtedly a stressful time for the Direct Travel team, their dedication to their customers meant the traveler was looked after, despite multiple external challenges.
Direct Travel has been using Travelport for 18 years and says they can’t imagine using anything else. It’s a part of their day to day, helping them to carry out their mission to do “whatever it takes.” And it’s excited to see what comes next in Smartpoint Cloud, too.