I was supposed to be in Morocco this week attending the Pure Life Experiences conference, where I would have undoubtedly run into some of you. But Hurricane Irma had other plans for us Floridians and millions of others in the islands. It’s been a dramatic week for us here as one of the most unusual and most powerful hurricanes on record swept our way. Along its path, it did a devastating amount of damage.
Your Big Five team was prepared with system redundancies (and redundancies to those redundancies), and we were able to stay connected to each other and to our clients throughout the storm. Not only that, we were able to attend to some airline-related travel emergencies by guests during this time; in fact, one this very morning! That is what being prepared is all about – being able to be there for our friends, families, partners and travelers, even under difficult circumstances.
This is the result of 12 years of work – planning, organizing and implementing procedures, putting the right equipment and contacts in place to make this happen. Our White Glove Service® guest assistance team continued unaffected and our remote team located outside Florida in Ontario, Pennsylvania, and Colorado picked up the ball when those of us in Florida were mid-storm.
In 2003, I was sitting on a train from Jodhpur to Jaipur, next to a very close travel advisor friend who was traveling on our Big Five educational to India. I suspect she is reading this and remembers that time. It was 5:30 in the morning, and we were all so tired that anything we said seemed funny to us. We laughed as we joked about being prepared in life, and how you don’t know the results of this labor until long after the crisis is over. Little did I know in 2017, I would be reminiscing about that train ride in 2003.
I admit that during the height of the hurricane, I had some doubts – will this all work, will the steps we have taken be enough, will we be able to pull this off?
We proved to ourselves that not only can we handle our partners’ and guests’ emergencies, we can handle our own. I just wanted to take a moment to thank the entire team at Big Five. I am always inspired and a little in awe of them. Some of them still don’t have power, yet they are here with a smile and ready to assist you, while enjoying the hot coffee and cold air conditioning in the office.
Check the two videos on our Facebook page where I did my best Walter Cronkite impression before the storm and my best scruffy Paul Bunyan impression after. For those who replied to my Facebook storm posts, thanks for the new hashtag #couldabeenatpure.