Delivering care and convenience to disrupted passengers.
Helping easyJet accommodate passengers during times of unavoidable flight disruption.
easyJet has been a customer of ours since 2009 and during that period, we’ve supported their passengers and crew with their hotel requirements whenever a disruption arises.
The causes for flight disruptions can range from technical issues and strikes to bad weather. Our initial remit covered UK airports, with around ten disrupted flights per week. This has widened to include easyJet’s European locations which have increased with easyJet’s growth.
Proactive monitoring of potential disruption
Pre-negotiated volume discounts
Percentage of bookings confirmed within one hour
Support team availability
Our role is to implement detailed disruption accommodation management plans to support easyJet’s ground handling crews. These crews were previously responsible for sourcing suitable hotels while dealing with potentially irate customers.
Our service is available 24/7. It requires incredible flexibility in providing the people required to manage vast numbers of accommodation bookings at short notice. Over the years, the service has given easyJet and our team some tough challenges. Unprecedented weather conditions have seen airports close, leading to thousands of cancelled flights and millions of stranded passengers. If bad weather and strikes weren’t a big enough challenge, volcanic eruption and ash clouds have shut down European airspace to generate huge surges in demand for our services.
Situations like these see our teams competing for available accommodation with other affected airlines. Unlike typical business travel contracts, our team’s co-ordinate bookings via easyJet’s Ground Handling team, rather than dealing directly with passengers.
The partnership is view positively by consumer bodies as evidence we’re delivering on passenger obligations. The qualities that have been key to success in this contract have been a passion from top to bottom, from the management team to the reservations team; the ability to deliver change quickly; the ability to think on their feet; flexibility; a drive for constant improved and greater cost control.
Disruption Manager, easyJet.
We deliver care and convenience to disrupted passengers because we know it’s within everyone’s interest to move people safely and quickly and as close to their scheduled times as possible. Disruption also affects easyJet’s crew and ground staff. If they’re away from their bases, it’s important to get them into their rest periods fast, so that they can get their planes back in the air.
So, our service must focus on confirming accommodation promptly as this helps to limit the anxiety and stress for passengers and assists crews to get back up and running sooner rather than later. Despite cost control and customer welfare some of easyJet’s primary reasons for appointing us, they weren’t their sole considerations; we allow the ground handling agents to spend more time calming each situation instead of finding hotel rooms.
Our team receives immediate notification of any disruption from easyJet’s Operations Control Centre in Luton. We also proactively monitor weather reports and social media to predict, wherever possible, the likelihood of flight delays. During times of disruption, we can deal with unprecedented and sustained business levels, so our response times always have to be fast and efficient.
We find the required number of bedrooms and confirm the hotel bookings to the ground handling agents who arrange transport for passengers and crew. In some instances, we help with this too.
Despite the short lead time for every booking, we offset the risk of supply and demand challenges with preparation. We’ve visited easyJet airports to understand the problems facing its agents and partners and we work with hotels to understand local issues and locations. We’ve also visited and negotiated face-to-face with key European hotels.
By building close supplier relationships to pre-negotiate volume discounts, we remove some of easyJet’s vulnerability to price fluctuations.
As this partnership has flourished, we’ve increased the numbers of hotels working with easyJet that can deliver against defined criteria such as proximity and star rating.
Through our proactive ways of working, 98% of all bookings are confirmed within one hour, and the airports receive regular progress updates. The response from passengers and ground staff is positive, so much so that during the ash cloud crisis, a group of passengers stranded in Spain flew back into Bristol wearing ‘I love easyJet’ t-shirts. They’d been accommodated through us, with welfare and regular communication from the airline.
Although consumers will always be very quick to voice frustrations via social media, there is often clear evidence of genuine and emotive appreciation for this partnership. One of our European partner hotels recently received a 5-star review on TripAdvisor. This was during a disruption in which an easyJet passenger raved that the experience was almost enjoyable thanks to the hotel.