AN INTERVIEW WITH
TEPLIS TRAVEL CHAIRMAN
MONICA TEPLIS

Hardly any industry was left untouched by the pandemic. However, the travel industry was one of the very first to take a devastating blow.

For corporate travel management and consulting company, Teplis Travel, as the first wave of the pandemic occurred outside the United States, a plan was put into action to immediately take care of their customers’ physical well-being, particularly their international customers.

Here to discuss how a corporate travel company like Teplis Travel responds to an economic crisis is Chairman Monica Teplis.

Duty of Care for Travelers

Since an economic crisis results in the loss of revenue, a typical response within the travel industry would include cutting expenses overall and using the excess time to train staff and enhance service offerings. This type of crisis was far more than a typical economic crisis thus requiring a multi-faceted response. As the virus progressed throughout the world, Teplis Travel took swift action to make certain their travelers were informed about avoiding these areas.

“Our duty of care product identified the hot spots. Our clients’ travelers, travel planners, risk management, and human resources staff were advised accordingly. In addition, we informed all involved parties of airline notifications and updates regarding flight cancellations and cancellation fee waivers for impacted areas.” says Monica Teplis. “We were creative doing all possible to modify flights for passengers returning to the United States so they could avoid certain areas and get out of certain countries and back to the United States.”

Strategic Re-routes in Action

When it came to flight cancellations and the enforcement of border closing actions this meant working fast and against the clock. For one traveler returning from Osaka, Teplis Travel re-routed his travel plans to ensure he stayed out of harm’s way. Originally scheduled to connect in Seoul for a return flight, Teplis Travel discovered breaking news that South Korea was identified as the latest outbreak area and quickly devised a re-route plan.

In some cases, strategic thinking and experience came into play. A musical group’s European concerts were canceled mid-tour and with the United States closing borders, flights back into the states were limited. Teplis Travel managed the group’s plans to safely re-route them from Frankfurt to Amsterdam on a train with a flight then to Moscow and connecting in JFK.

For Teplis Travel, it wasn’t a time to stop flights altogether and pull out, but a time to manage their travelers’ schedules and ensure they were back to where they needed to be safely and as quickly as possible. For Teplis, “Knowledge of the industry and events on the ground as well as finesse and creativity were used to safely guide travelers back to the United States”.

Enhanced Advisory Offerings and Travel Security

Several hot spots appeared throughout the world before the biggest impact occurred in the United States. By early March, all travel plans scheduled for March and April were canceled. This was closely followed by companies imposing restrictions on all non-essential business travel resulting in the cancellation of most airline reservations and a drastic drop in activity for future bookings.

To handle this course of action, Teplis Travel conducted their internal actions in terms of cost reduction. Advisory offerings were enhanced for travelers and travel managers to address new coronavirus policies and, also important, pursuing and tracking refunds and credits from the airlines.

“Moving forward, Teplis continues to provide support to clients every way they can. “In addition, we enhanced our advisory offerings with new coronavirus policies while also pursuing and tracking COVID-19 refunds and credits from the airlines. As corporate airline travel rebounds, we continue to provide a fine-tuned advisory role to our customers while prepared for every situation.”

How Corporate Travel Plans to Adapt

Despite COVID-19 being different compared to previous economic crises, Teplis Travel was prepared to adapt to these new changes. Teplis remained completely staffed with full support working from home to assist customers with total travel management entailing re-routes, refunds, exchanges and much more.

“Teplis provided critical support to our customers while also protecting our entire staff. Teplis contingency plans and investments in technology enabled us to provide seamless support and service to our customers while being completely virtual. Every employee already had a laptop and VoIP phone enabling them to quickly move to their home offices.” This way, Teplis could provide seamless service to customers while enhancing the safety of their employees

Moving forward, Teplis continues to provide support to clients any way they can. “In addition, we enhanced our advisory offerings to our customers’ travelers and travel managers in terms of new coronavirus policies and pursuing and tracking refunds and credits from the airlines. As we move forward as corporate airline travel rebounds, we will continue to provide an advisory role to our customers. Especially now fulfilling the advisory role to travelers is even more important than selling airline tickets and related services.”

Teplis Travel continues to advance through these uncertain times with additional staff training so clients can look forward to even stronger customer service and support as travel activity revives.