Covid-19: Broken travel dreams ?
When close collaboration with ELCA secures a swift compensation for customers.
Covid-19 brought the travel industry to its knees. Innumerable travel dreams burst. Garantiefonds - the foundation of the Swiss travel industry - received hundreds of claims for damages in a very short time. The user-friendly online portal, implemented on Microsoft Dynamics 365 by ELCA in close collaboration with Garantiefonds to manage claims, enabled the foundation to process all requests quickly and easily – to swiftly compensate its clients.
The anticipation was great: The Meier family had booked a package tour in Southern Europe, but their travel dreams suddenly burst as everything came to a standstill, because of the coronavirus. The Meier family was not alone, by far: Countless travel enthusiasts had to cancel their trip and expected their money back. Several bankruptcies soon impacted the travel industry. Concerns about travel money grew. However, the Meier family got lucky in their misfortune: Their travel agency was a contractual partner of Garantiefonds. The foundation "Legal Guarantee Fund of the Swiss Travel Industry" acts as a customer money protection in accordance with the Federal Law on Package Travel. Around a thousand tour operators and travel agencies in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, such as Hotelplan, DER Touristik (Kuoni) and TUI Suisse, are among its members. As such, nothing was standing in the way of a repayment – except maybe the actual capacity to process an avalanche of claims of that magnitude, for which Garantiefonds was all but prepared.
Covid-19 driven increase of workloads
Up to the coronavirus crisis, damage claims addressed to Garantiefonds were still handled manually, as they were received by post or by e-mail. This was the usual way of processing claims, which was working perfectly well until the pandemic started. With the abrupt closure of national borders and its associated crisis for the travel industry, the amount of work rose sharply. Waiting lists grew threateningly long. Garantiefonds was forced to considerably accelerate its work processes. The setup of an online portal was proposed. The idea was to create an interactive, web-based application platform – which is how ELCA and Microsoft Dynamics 365 came into play. Bearing the fruits of a tight cooperation, the portal was ready to go in just four weeks, right on time.
ELCAs software solution with Microsoft Dynamics 365
Garantiefonds had been working with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement and Microsoft SharePoint for many years. These were successfully leveraged for document management, claims processing and participant management. As part of this project, the Dynamics 365 Portal solution was added to enable the online processing of all claims. Additionally, Microsoft supported the implementation of its Dynamics 365 Portal solution with its "COVID offer": Garantiefonds is therefore entitled to use the portal licenses free of charge until the end of the year. Cherez Tschopp, Head of Business Applications at Microsoft Switzerland, is pleased with this successful cooperation: "Thanks to the close partnership between Microsoft and ELCA, Garantiefonds is now in the capacity to swiftly and easily adapt in times of crisis".
To work efficiently
Stefan Spiess, Managing Director of Garantiefonds until the end of 2020, appreciates the advantages offered by the new solution: "Our needs were quickly understood and addressed by ELCA and Microsoft. Thanks to the experience and in-depth knowledge of the team, we were able to create a genuinely clever and powerful structure for the claims’ database, which we then integrated and linked to the portal solution within a very short time".
With this new solution, an automated process directly prompts claimants to enter their claims online via the new collective portal. This enables a much faster handling of the entire process, from the filing of the claim to its final payment. The registration process is now reduced down to a few minutes. The online portal collects the most important claim information, bundles the signed PDF documents and enables the upload of all other necessary documents, such as flight or hotel bills. The digital portal solution is significantly faster and easier than the previous manual process. Thanks to the cooperation between ELCA and Microsoft, Garantiefonds was able to cope with the steadily increase of workload without having to hire new employees. In the end, the Meier family - along with many other families – were properly and promptly compensated following the cancellation of their vacation.