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The Marine & Offshore workforce plays a vital role in the global economy and presents some great opportunities for travel agents and TMCs as well as some distinct challenges.

Travel agents in this industry require a higher level of expertise as they need to know about global visa and immigration, have a reliable 24-hour emergency service, have knowledge of vessel and rig types as well as a worldwide network for multipoint servicing and net fare contracts with full flexibility and extra baggage allowance.

Amadeus’ white paper, Marine & Offshore Travel – All hands on Deck, looks at some of the unique challenges with which TMCs in this sector are faced.

Complex itineraries

Marine and Offshore Travel often consists of large groups of people who are travelling from all over the world to arrive at the same time, often in non-mainstream destinations. Timing and understanding the destination is crucial in order to make on-time transfers and the right call at the right time.

“Employees are not normally travelling to a city. In the Marine & Offshore business, at least 50% of their business travel finishes on a vessel, a drilling rig or a platform,” says ATPI’s Chief Commercial Officer for Shipping and Energy, Gary Pearce

Changes and modifications are rife

 In marine travel, 57% of PNRs (Passenger Name Records) are created and/or modified within three days of departure – 2.5 times more than the standard corporate travel! The need for an instant response from TMCs is therefore critical.

“Whereas corporate travel is booked for individuals, crew changes can involve between five and 20 people at a time and we receive those details in one email,” says American Express’s Carl Jones.

A new meaning to last-minute travel

Last-seat availability is critical in this industry because until a job is assessed or started, full manpower cannot be accurately calculated. Groups of between three and 40 people may be needed on site at short notice; and there may be eleventh-hour flight changes because of disruption or alterations in crew rotation.

“Our job involves booking multi-sector journeys with split ticketing options to optimise fares,” says G Travel’s Jason Barreto. “We have to work under tight booking timelines, as most marine travel is last minute with numerous changes, and we liaise with port agents and directly with vessels to confirm travel requests. In short, the need to keep several balls in the air goes with the territory.”

Duty of care is critical

 Marine & Offshore travellers often operate in areas that pose challenges – political unrest and volatile economies – which put extra pressure such as on travel consultants to be able to locate, inform and assist them at any moment with an effective contingency plan.

Do you want to know more about the challenges associated with offshore and marine travel? Read all about it in our study.