How CWT brought back a traveller`s sparkle

How CWT brought back a traveller’s sparkle
Towards the end of a successful business trip to France, traveller Martin Wilkins
developed a bad cold. All he wanted to do was catch his train home and get to bed,
but he became stranded when strikes hit Eurostar services. Feeling ill and desperate,
he called Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) for help.
Martin is a training and quality manager at Coca-Cola Enterprises, the sole licensed
bottler of products of The Coca-Cola Company in Belgium, continental France, Great
Britain, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden. He arrived at
Gare du Nord, Paris, to catch his booked train home to the UK.
Challenge of rebooking during strikes
However, with industrial action affecting Eurostar, Martin was informed that his
train had been cancelled and was directed to a queue to be allocated a seat on an
alternative train. After standing in line for an hour and a half he realised his chance of
catching a train that day was slim. He was concerned he wouldn’t get home or have
anywhere to stay overnight as he had no hotel information.
CWT travel consultant Jodie Donoughue-Smith answered Martin’s call. She said: ‘He
was one of hundreds of travellers trying to get home. He sounded awful and I felt so
sorry for him.
‘The original reservation was made by CWT. We always try to contact people if their
train is cancelled but the situation had just started kicking off and it was chaos.’
The challenge was to rebook the ticket as soon as possible and to source overnight
accommodation if travel that day was not possible.
Normally, having spoken to a traveller, Jodie would end the call and phone them
back after a solution has been found. Due to her concern for Martin’s wellbeing,
Jodie kept him on the phone while sourcing options for him for over an hour.
‘By keeping him on the phone it was easier to keep him informed. When you’re
stranded like that, the worse thing is not knowing what’s going on. He knew we were
actively searching for him,’ Jodie explained.
Jumping the queue
By booking online, Jodie was able to jump the queue of people waiting at the station
and secure a seat on a train the following day. She knew that taxis from the station
would be in high demand so she booked a room at a hotel just a short walk away.
A little while later Jodie called Martin back to check that he had arrived safely at the
hotel, which he had.
Getting home quicker
Martin said: ‘I had the misfortune to get caught in the strike on my way back to the
UK from Paris and could not get on the Eurostar. Jodie was able to secure a hotel for
the night 100 yards from the station and rebooked my seat the following morning. No
easy task as the situation was chaotic and the hotels and trains were filling quicker
than she could reserve either a room or a train seat. I had a stinking head cold and
felt awful, so she did a great job in sorting me out.’
Jodie added: ‘If he had waited until he got to the front of the queue he would have
been looking at a two-night stay, so I was glad that we got him home quicker and he
could recover.’