2023 Travel Challenges – And How ACIS Has Your Back Through Them All
International travel is roaring back to life after pandemic restrictions. We’re so happy to see our social timelines flooded with smiling faces in front of familiar beloved monuments, and to get the chance to step on a plane and travel in person to meet with groups.
But for all the good, we do recognize that there are specific challenges in the 2023 travel landscape that have emerged for all travel companies. This Spring, airlines have experienced staff shortages and delays. Civil service workers in countries around the world are striking in demands for more pay. And then, of course, there is the matter of supply and demand. The ACIS Team is not the only one stoked about travel returning; After three years of restrictions, individuals and groups across the globe are flocking back to their favorite spots, particularly in Europe, which can create challenges for supplying enough guides, hotels, and resources.
We wanted to acknowledge these current industry challenges and share with you how the ACIS team is uniquely positioned to provide your group with the best of care, no matter the situation.
Over the past year, airlines have increasingly been in the media spotlight for staffing shortages and general delays. When you’re on a tight schedule and trying to move from one country to the next, this can be especially frustrating.
Recent ACIS Group Leader Elsbeth encountered this struggle during her group trip to Italy in March. Her flight home from Rome was cancelled, and the group had to add an additional night at an airport hotel after long hours of travel. It was a tough situation, but the network of ACIS staff worked to get everyone home.
“I communicated the flight cancellation and change with my International Program Consultant who also informed the ACIS representative on duty if I were to need more assistance. It was also very reassuring that the staff member on duty was someone I had actually met at a previous Global Conference.”
Elsbeth, ACIS Group Leader
How We Can Help:
If your flight is delayed or cancelled, your first step is to get in line for customer service and call the ACIS Duty Officer. The ACIS Duty Officer will work with you to find alternative routes to communicate with the gate agent. 24-48 hours prior to departure your flight falls under “airport control”, which unfortunately takes ticket changes out of the hands of third parties (aka ACIS) and puts them with the airlines. The good news is, your ACIS Duty Officer will support you through these situations. We’ll make sure you get what you need, from adjusted hotels and meals to up-to-date routing options. We want you to feel supported every step of the way. As Elsbeth added, her situation was handled “with the reassurance that the representatives on the other end of the phone are real people and they cared about our safety and wellbeing.”
High Demand and Limited Supply
The whole world is excited to get back to international travel, and hotels, museums, and tourist attractions are doing their best to keep up with the added demand. Sometimes, though, this means a museum may be closed due to staffing shortages or a hotel has been overbooked.
How We Can Help:
Your Tour Manager will be there to redirect the group from Plan A to Plan B, with assistance from the local offices. While missed activities might cause initial disappointment, there are always alternatives that we will pivot to as quickly as we can. On a recent trip to Paris, for example, one group was unable to add a Louvre visit. Instead, we provided tickets to the Musee de l’Orangerie and distributed funds to the tour manager to take the group out for ice cream. When a hotel has been overbooked, ACIS works directly with suppliers to ensure a quick rebooking at another hotel. At ACIS we take pride in the accommodations that we provide, and make sure that where you are staying is still up to our standard of quality – or even above!
Once abroad, you may encounter strikes from transportation and other civil services. Paris is at the top of everyone’s mind now, as news images of the garbage collection and general workers’ strikes have spread to the US.
How We Can Help: In the case of Paris, demonstrations are planned for specific areas. Your Tour Manager will be able to guide the group to avoid them, liaising with our local office to ensure everyone is safe. When an activity needs to be rescheduled or isn’t possible because of a strike, we work with the Group Leader to ensure that there is another option that the group is happy with. The important thing to remember, as with any hiccup you may experience in travel, is that flexibility is key, and finding the silver lining is the best way to keep your group’s spirits up and everyone on track. Striking is a key part of French political culture, so experiencing it firsthand is witnessing the French political process in action!
While we remain hopeful that the 2023 travel challenges will be resolved soon, in the meantime, we are 100% committed to providing your groups with premier quality service. And in the end, the returning travelers are still feeling the love that has been our standard for decades:
“ACIS was better from start to finish compared to [the competitor I’d traveled with]. Better customer service during planning, on tour, and after the tour. Excellent responsiveness to customer needs.”
Claire P. – Spring 2023 Group Leader
“I believe this was a more positive experience than others I have previously participated in. The reaction from the students that participated was overwhelmingly positive.”
Abigail T. – Spring 2023 Group Leader
“Our team had a great time! Thank you to Jill and to the entire ACIS family. This trip gave me and my students an especially meaningful experience of ACIS’s “travel changes life!”
Edna P. – Spring 2023 Group Leader
As always, the ACIS Team is here for support throughout your planning process. Contact your Travel Consultant to discuss any pre-trip concerns you may have.