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International Assistance Group Partners Predict, Plan, And Manage Their Offerings For The Busy Summer Season

International Assistance Group Partners Predict, Plan, And Manage Their Offerings For The Busy Summer Season

The summer months traditionally offer a welcome opportunity to relax, explore and enjoy a change of scenery. A recent estimate by the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer suggests 2015 will be no exception, with as many as 500 million tourists expected to travel abroad between May and August. For providers of medical, roadside and air ambulance services, this increased activity naturally poses considerable logistical challenges. International Assistance Group (IAG), the world’s largest network of independent assistance specialists, has conducted a survey to discover how its Partners predict, plan and perfect their services for this busy season.

For many IAG Partners, the summer brings heightened volumes of assistance requests for routine medical complaints such as minor injuries, UTIs, allergic reactions, broken bones, fractures and sprains. Tyrol Air Ambulance and On Call International, Core Partners in Austria and the US respectively, have witnessed a rise in the latter in recent years, as a result of a growing trend for more active holiday pursuits. Unfamiliar climates and environments lead many travellers to experience gastrointestinal issues and conditions such as heat stroke, which are frequently handled by Remed Assistance (Turkey), Garantie Assistance (France) and MD Medicus (Germany) in countries such as Turkey. Tourists in certain regions are at increased risk from tropical diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and Lyme disease, whereas a patient’s chronic medical condition can flare up in any location. IAG Partners also respond to urgent incidents ranging from road traffic accidents to heart attacks and strokes.

The survey suggests that services from Partners in the IAG network will be required in a whole host of different countries this summer, from Denmark to Spain and Morocco to Belgium. However, many Partners predict that they will attend to large numbers of incidents in Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Turkey. This year, many are closely monitoring Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) disease, which has the potential to spread to other regions. Similarly, IAG Partners always stand ready to respond in the case of major accidents or natural disasters, as they did after April’s earthquake in Nepal.

“With so many people traveling worldwide during the summer season, a mass casualty incident is always of concern, ” mentioned Dr. Robert Wheeler, Chief Medical Officer for On Call International and Senior Medical Advisor of International Assistance Group.

Setting aside global themes of this nature, the summer months usually affect Partners differently depending on their particular geographic and demographic focus. For example, Turkish Partner Remed Assistance handles 68% of its medical cases and 85% of its roadside incidents between June and August. Partners typically fall between these two extremities, with the summer generating a 30-40% increase in demand for medical services from Tyrol Air Ambulance and Garantie Assistance addressing 40% of its annual roadside cases in this time. Another typical example is RACC (Spain), for whom the summer months account for 30-40% of yearly medical and roadside cases.

IAG Partners may each face differing circumstances and challenges, but answers to the survey testified to their shared commitment to ensuring high-quality services. For many respondents, this meant finding a way to prevent increased volumes of requests from putting undue pressure on permanent team members. Garantie Assistance achieves this by hiring seasonal workers and On Call International times its intake of new staff to this end. Conversely, Partners including RACC, Remed Assistance and Tyrol Air Ambulance find that it is beneficial to adjust the seasonal working hours of existing staff. Several respondents noted their tendency to invite part-time workers to undertake full-time work in the peak season to cope with the rising demand. All of the companies that witness a spike in requests also mentioned a focus on training staff in the months leading up to busier periods to ensure that everyone is fully equipped and motivated ahead of time. As an example, On Call International has noticed a large increase in travellers to Alaska for the cruise season (which typically runs from early June to early September); the company prepares by scheduling dedicated “Alaskan Cruise Season” training sessions in the spring of each year.

These examples and many others besides, help to build up a picture of the commitment, forward-planning and efficiency that ensure holidaymakers receive the help they need, when they need it most. Whether they are optimising their staffing, training or working schedules in the short-term or analysing long-term patterns in the quieter months, IAG Partners have developed strategies to cope with seasonal fluctuations in demand for their services.

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Medical, Travel And Technical Assistance

 

A guide to leading international medical and travel assistance companies and providers, operating within leisure, expatriate and corporate business travel markets globally.

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