Insights from Travel Support's Head of Operations

Interview with Simon Johansson, Head of Operations at Travel Support, Part 2.

In the first part of our interview with Simon, we spoke about a typical day at Travel Support when it comes to assisting travallers, and with more detail about the medical side of assistance services. Now, in part two, we talk with Simon about travel assistance when it comes to cars and other vehicles.

We discuss issues such as the types of vehicle we can help, how we ensure we provide the right assistance every time, and what happens to the driver when their vehicle doesn’t work!

Let's get some insights from Simon about Travel Supports vehicle assistance services.

Q. It’s not like people choose when to break down so what happens if you receive a call in the middle of the night?

Simon: That is true. That’s why it’s so important to have trustworthy partners that you can rely on day and night all year around. Our team operate 24/7, and we only work with recovery services who we are certain will help us no matter what.

Q. How do you know which providers to contact?

Simon: We have full coverage of all the countries we operate in, and we work with thousands of roadside recovery partners. Our huge network is a well-oiled machine, and our systems help us find the nearest base for each assistance case. We focus on good communication and quick response times.

Q. Is it just cars that you assist?

Simon: Absolutely not! We assist anything with at least one wheel. Whether it’s a unicycle or a sixty-foot trailer, it doesn’t matter, we will be there for the client. We assist all types and all ages of vehicles.

Q. What happens when an assistance provider reaches the vehicle?

Simon: Our aim is that the person in need of assistance should always be back on track as fast and smoothly as possible.

Our first mission, if nothing else is requested, is to fix the problem on site. Our partners operate different kinds of recovery vehicles, including service trucks, with a focus on roadside assistance. If that is not the most effective response, the next solution is to bring the vehicle to a nearby repair shop. Our partners know the local areas better than anyone and will bring vehicles to the nearest suitable location in the area.

Q. So what happens to the driver and their passenger?

Simon: We are well covered and experienced in our field to take care of them. We won’t leave them stranded. We’ll book hotels or onward travel such as taxis, trains and rental cars. Whatever is needed we aim to provide.

Q. Why might a vehicle be repatriated rather than scrapped?

Simon: This would never be up to Travel Support, but it depends on the situation, and we will do whatever is requested. It varies from country to country and it may be based on cost, or, it may be more to do with emotion. For instance, if a car has sentimental value, and the customer thinks it’s worth repairing, but they can do it much cheaper back home, they may choose to repatriate the vehicle.

Q. What’s taken into consideration when repatriating a vehicle?

Simon: Repatriating a vehicle is all about the logistics, i.e. how to make sure it gets to the place of delivery in the fastest and most economical way. We work with several transport companies across Europe to provide customers with several options for each repatriation. This makes it possible to decide if they want to focus on speed or cost containment.

Q. What’s been the most unusual assistance you’ve had a call for?

Simon: We’ve had just about everything. Sidecars stuck in snow, trailers transporting wind turbines and then needing assistance. But my biggest challenge was probably arranging assistance and finding a replacement school bus for 40 French school children in the middle of the Norwegian forests on a Sunday evening! I must say it did take some tinkering, but the kids did eventually continue happily on their way. It certainly can be challenging but we always find a solution.

Learn more about Travel Support

If you’d like to know more about our operations or vehicle assistance services, get in touch by clicking on the button below. Or if you're a service provider and interested in joining our partner network, visit our partner page and contact us.

If you missed Part 1 of this interview, head there now to learn more about the medical assistance services that our operations team also arrange.

Back to the Travel Support Blog