Insights into Travel Support's operations

Interview with Simon Johansson, Head of Operations, Travel Support

Discover what a typical day looks like at Travel Support’s operations centre, what the travel assistance process entails, and why it’s not only tourists that need assistance, when we chatted with Travel Support’s Head of Operations, Simon Johansson at the company’s operations centre in Varberg, Sweden.

Simon has been with the company for over eight years, so he has a solid understanding of the travel assistance process and how to handle situations best. Simon also gives us an insight into how the operations team handle medical assistance services.

And don’t miss part two of this interview, which focuses on Travel Support's operations when it comes to vehicle assistance services.

Q. Tell us about a typical day at the Travel Support Operations Centre

Simon: For starters, you never know what challenges you might find each day you step into the office. Our daily routine is to make sure the hand over from the night to the day team goes as smoothly as possible, to ensure the team is equipped with the best platform to start each working day.

When incidences happen over night, the night shift collects as much information as possible so the morning staff can get right to work when our providers open up. If, of course, assistance hasn’t been handled through the night. The morning is then all about helping customers with their requested service. This can be anything from booking a doctor’s appointment to confirming recovery services. Once this is handled, we update our customer and their client.

This continues throughout the day and as the day progresses, we also move our focus to closing cases. This means collecting information on how cases have progressed, such as the status of a vehicle repair, or a medical journal.

After the typical office day is over the evening team takes over again and operations shift to night services, such as house calls, as well as making sure we collect as much information as possible for the day ahead.

Q. Is it just holidaymakers who need assistance?

Simon: You would think that almost all people in need of assistance are tourists. In fact, I pretty much did before the pandemic! But we’ve learnt a lot over these past couple of years. We support not only tourists but a number of different people who are travelling in another country. This includes expats, truck drivers, airline staff, aid workers, and many others who might find themselves abroad for a short period of time.

Q. So are you saying assistance services have still been needed during the pandemic?

Simon: Definitely. I would be lying if I said we haven’t noticed a drop in requests, but we’ve adapted to the change in circumstances and, thanks to our agile way of working, we’ve been able to support a lot of other groups that could not work from home, or avoid travelling abroad, like logistics company employees, as just mentioned above.

As for the services provided, we’ve seen a rise in phone and video medical consultations being requested, and we’re happy that we could provide this across all our markets.

Reading tip > Telemedicine and its impact on the travel industry

Let’s take a more specific look at Travel Support when it comes to medical assistance.

Q. In what circumstances might someone need medical assistance?

Simon: Honestly, it can be just about anything. Most medical assistance cases tend to be for common complaints like a fever, a painful wrist, or eczema. But we are ready for anything. Simple medical conditions, dental problems, specialist treatment (such as cardiology, dermatology, orthopedics), the list goes on, and we’re here to assist.

Q. How do you know who to contact for these different types of situations?

Simon: This comes down to a deep understanding of our markets and local provider network. We work closely with our providers to make sure there are no hold ups in treatment for the patient. We always follow the regulations in the country of assistance. For instance this could be the flow of treatment, such as needing referral for a specialist.

Q. What medical transportation do you arrange?

Simon: We can’t arrange ambulances for emergencies, that is always via the local emergency services, but we can arrange specific medical transport for other situations for both ground and air. We work closely with several air ambulance providers in our network, who we will call on when needed.

Q. Tell us more about repatriation. Do people go on standard planes?

Simon: Yes, patients may go on standard passenger planes, but it comes down to the current medical status of the patient that needs to be repatriated home. In these situations, we have close communication with our medical advisor, the treating doctor, and the doctors of our clients.

In many situations the patient is transported on regular flights, but with support and medical supervision, this is also a service that we provide. Or it may be that the patient needs to travel on a dedicated air ambulance plane.

Q. Tell us about any unusual medical assistance Travel Support has helped with.

Simon: There has been a number of unusual cases in the past, perhaps some that I shouldn’t mention. We’ve had times when we’ve sent doctors and nurses across the other side of the world to provide aeromedical supervision. Or we’ve arranged for doctors to be taken by boat to board a cruise ship out at sea and administer medical help. We’ve also supported patients with month long medical issues.

Whatever it is, each medical condition is just as important to us and we always to do our best to provide the most suitable care.

Learn more about Travel Support

Would you like to know more? Then don’t miss the second part of this interview in which we talk more about travel assistance when it comes to rescuing vehicles.

Or if you’d like to know more about Travel Support’s medical assistance, or all our assistance services, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Simon and the rest of the team are happy to answer your questions.

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