How Volcanic Ash Cloud Wreaked Havoc on a UK Car Hire Business Economy Car Hire

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A tale of call surges, stranded customers and an increase in sales of Cancellation Protection insurance!

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When news of the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud first hit the headlines who could have imagined the chaos it would cause around the world to travellers and transport providers alike.

UK-based Economy Car Hire are an independent overseas car hire provider primarily focused on car hire in Cyprus, Spain, Malta, Greece and the Canaries. A small company in comparison to the car hire giants, their emphasis has always been on a more flexible and personal service - so when the ash cloud started to drift, the Economy team had to rise to the challenge.

Over the crisis, inbound calls reached record highs with over 800 calls being answered per day from customers wishing to cancel or amend bookings. This, along with a huge volume of inbound emails, meant the entire team had no option but to work extra hours to make sure customers weren't left high and dry.

Without hesitation and before any government advice, Economy Car Hire decided to temporarily amend its cancellation policy in favour of its customers.

In all, more than 4,200 Economy customers were affected in one way or another, with car hire bookings cancelled as a result of the flight restrictions, and a general lack of new bookings due to customer uncertainty.

As a result of the disruption, there is now an over-supply of hire vehicles at tourist hotspots, and the company is currently offering reduced prices for car hire bookings at many locations over the next few months.

Thankfully, daily booking volumes have now returned to normal and, not surprisingly, sales of Cancellation Protection insurance on new bookings have risen dramatically. Best of all, customer feedback about Economy Car Hire's level of service during this chaotic time has been full of praise.

Proof indeed that every dust cloud can have a silver lining!

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Rory Sexton
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