During a travel agency’s off-hours, TEH Centre – also known as Travellers Emergency Hotline – offers peace of mind. “We handle anything travel-related. We take care of missed flights, missed connections, cancelled flights, re-protections, new bookings, adding, cancelling or changing hotels and cars, dates changes, ticket exchanges, missing documents, name changes, and name corrections, to name a few,” says Shami Munir, President and CEO, TEH Centre, in this edition of Take 5. He adds: “We do not compete with travel agencies, we enhance them.”
1. For anyone who doesn’t know, what is Travellers Emergency Hotline?
“When your travel agency closes or requires extra staff for new projects or as a stopgap measure, Travellers Emergency Hotline is the dependable support link to the travel industry. We are open 24/7/ 365 days a year. When your agency closes…. we take over. You can offer your clients a worry-free life line while they are away from home. The company was founded by award-winning experienced members of the travel industry community … and the company we have grown into was created in 2013.”
2. Can you give some examples of the types of requests / questions / emergencies that TEH deals with from callers?
“We handle anything travel-related. We take care of missed flights, missed connections, cancelled flights, re-protections, new bookings, adding, cancelling or changing hotels and cars, dates changes, ticket exchanges, missing documents, name changes, and name corrections, to name a few. We get people to their destinations for that all-important meeting, the critical interview, or even weddings … when the whole bridal party has boarded, except the bride because her passport has expired. Or getting people home, when a loved one is ill or worse. These days we handle COVID questions and we are there to guide travellers through strikes, airport closures and unforeseen Acts of God, like hurricanes, volcano eruptions and acts of terrorism. We take care of all emergencies that happen after 9-to-5, Monday through Friday.”
3. Does TEH compete with other travel agencies, or work with them as partners?
“We do not compete with travel agencies, we enhance them. We allow agencies to extend their services round-the-clock. We are an extension of the day agency. When they close their doors at night, we take over. We can also step in and help regular day agencies with coverage for mat leaves or vacation leaves or extra staff for special projects. After all, we are familiar with their clients’ needs.”
4. Was TEH’s services in high demand when borders closed in March 2020 and is the company surviving okay in these pandemic times?
“Yes, as the name implies, we are an emergency after hours service. The truth is, we thrive in emergency situations and they do not always happen 9-to-5, Monday through Friday. With regards to surviving during a pandemic….our playing field has changed. Travel has been reduced dramatically and pretty much been brought to a halt. Is anyone surviving during these crazy times? We know this industry; we know how badly it is being threatened and many will not survive. We are here to support and assist those who will continue to fight for an industry we all love. We will get through this. This too shall pass.”
5. What do you want the travel industry to know about TEH?
“We hear the heartbeat of the industry and many support suppliers in the industry have left the building already. We have not, we are here to uphold the industry and pick up the slack. We are qualified and familiar with the needs of your clients. Many agents have been laid off and it may take a while until there is enough work to make it economically viable to commit to bringing staff back. There are government programs that can assist agents like CERB, etc. but there are not enough programs for the travel industry agency owners. We can help you rebuild until you are ready to bring back your valued agents. We can help you as your clients get back to work and start travelling again. We work on a per-call basis so there is no salary commitment. We can man the lines even when there are few calls, without you as an owner worrying about an hourly rate or meeting salary. We are here, to help you, during this time of reinventing yourselves, to meet the new challenges the travel industry is presenting. We know your clients and can assist you through this.”