Ted Muhlner, VP of operations for Redpoint Resolutions, reveals how important agents are to his business and why the group isn’t a one-size-fits-all brand.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY?
Each day is different. In our business, it’s all about risk management and travel safety, but with a large amount of fun. Preparing for any trip, whether for myself or especially for a client, has a significant component of due diligence. Things such as pre-planning, site visits, and trying to foresee any potential mishaps not only help create positive outcomes for trips, but are thrills in themselves.
WHAT’S NEW FOR YOU IN YOUR ORGANIZATION?
At the beginning of 2015, we added travel insurance to our existing Ripcord medical and security evacuation program. We wanted to do it right, so we took a couple of years to work with the right insurance partners. Ripcord provides a single program combining our elite evacuation and rescue services with trip cancellation/interruption, baggage loss, primary medical expense, and other travel insurance benefits. We designed Ripcord with the adventure and luxury traveler’s needs in mind. Examples include coverage for changes in government policies, lost sporting equipment and more.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY AT REDPOINT RESOLUTIONS?
There is no typical day. For instance, just the other night we received a call at 10pm from one of our clients, who was concerned about the personal security around her home and in her daily life. While these types of security are not directly related to travel, we earn the trust of our clients through our business and often become the trusted source for all their safety concerns. When I am not working directly on active operations with our team, I’m building our network of contacts and deepening existing relationships. We rely heavily on local assets all over the globe to provide air and ground transport and medical facilities, and to do things others can’t. Our team spends the majority of our time making sure things are in place and ready to move when we need them.
HOW DOES THE REST OF THE COMPANY OPERATE?
Our client service team is critical. They are often the first voice our clients hear when purchasing a policy, and they develop the relationship that builds the foundation of trust. Any question, call or request is handled personally by a member of our client service team, whose first priority is to provide a solution.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE AGENTS TO YOUR BUSINESS?
Travel agents aren’t just a way to sell our product; they also play a vital role in providing us with information critical to the travel industry. Trends, concerns and client feedback enable our team to continually shape our product and help our operations team in their pre-planning and due diligence. We develop invaluable relationships with agents to ensure people are able to have that aspirational trip. Travel is a growing industry as more and more people are looking for experiences. We work hand in hand with agents to be sure these trips happen and run as smoothly as possible. If there is a problem before, during or after, we are there to take care of it.
WHAT ARE YOUR MAJOR OBJECTIVES?
My personal and professional objectives are focused on improving the trade craft of our teammates through travel, education and certification. We encourage our team to find growth opportunities through training and experiences, to increase the skills in their own kitbag and thereby the solutions we can provide to clients.
WHAT KIND OF VACATIONS DO YOU ENJOY?
I’ve been lucky enough to travel all around the world, and I continue to look forward to each new travel experience. Getting off a plane anywhere new will always be thrilling. My wife and I recently purchased a travel trailer and we’re excited to visit new places around our own country. I’ve always been amazed that people who travel, Aussies for example, have often seen more of other countries than their own. I’ve probably seen more of Australia than I have of my own country and plan to change that.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?
Clients call us when they’re dealing with some of life’s worst problems and it’s our goal and mission to solve all of them. The challenge of finding a solution, no matter what it might be, and the extreme high of solving something for someone in crisis, is something I will never tire of.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE ANYONE WANTING TO TRAVEL?
Just start. Many people build up something they would love to do to the point that it becomes too big to know how to start. Travel can be anything. A visit to a monument or historical landmark close to home can begin to shape the type of travel you want to experience. Don’t start with the trip of a lifetime; start with the smaller trips and see where that takes you. Explore the unique and the unchartered.
ASTAnetwork | winter 2015/16