In the face of extreme storm damage following last month’s Cyclone Gonu, Sabre Travel Network Middle East’s Oman team rallied to implement a rapid crisis management strategy to assure the continuity and connectivity of the Sultanate’s travel industry. The worst-ever storm to hit Oman’s coastline caused extensive and tragic loss of personal property and human lives, and Oman’s travel trade was badly affected due to power cuts, disruptions to phone networks and flooding.
Sabre’s Oman team came to the rescue as damage to essential hardware resulted in systems failures threatening to bring the travel industry to a standstill. The provision of speedy solutions - such as providing temporary laptops and relocating hardware to unaffected premises - helped mitigate the cyclone’s effects and prevent further disruption.
Daniel Naoumovitch, Sabre Travel Network Middle East’s Chief Executive Officer, said: ‘Sabre’s Oman team were determined to minimize the devastating impact of Cyclone Gonu on travel connectivity and worked tirelessly to keep the Sultanate’s travel trade in business. We were able to help many of our clients were able to set up operations in alternative premises -even in personal residences - such was our determination to keep business going.
‘A disaster recovery operation was coordinated by Charlie Lanman, Director of Business Operations, and Osama Al Saad, Regional Technology Manager, in conjunction with our account managers. The taskforce came to the rescue of many customers whose hardware had been destroyed, and whose land and internet lines were non-operational. In addition, our Bahrain-based call center located worked tirelessly to answer agents’ requests to retrieve lost data and provide vital PNR (passenger booking details) histories.
‘Immediate and intensive customer support is crucial in such situations as loss of connectivity and booking data adversely affects business and leisure travel. In addition, friends and relatives unable to travel to and from Oman to reunite with respective loved ones would suffer extreme distress. This crisis has proven Sabre’s strength in terms of unswerving customer backup and its ability to offer consistent, comprehensive and - in this case - highly creative technical support to the travel industry.’
Sabre client, the Business Travel Service, benefited from the emergency response with the immediate provision of two emergency laptops enabling the company set up operations from an alternate location. Sabre also installed equipment in the Business Travel Service’s Ruwi branch to provide access to the company’s head office bookings.
Al Darwish Travels’ Qurum branch was badly affected so Sabre set up a complete hardware system enabling them to do business from the CBD (Central Business District) area. Another Qurum agency, National Travel and Tourism, was similarly relocated, and Al Hail Travel was able to set up shop at the manager’s residence where Sabre installed the necessary emergency equipment. Mazeed Travel and Best Travels received replacement hardware, while American Express used emergency equipment to get its Al Khuwair office up and running.
As one of many concerted factors in Oman’s multi-faceted emergency response, Sabre’s technological capability and customer-focused personnel played a vital role in minimizing the disaster’s impact on the economy and morale of the people.