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Calgary Flood - case study







The storm

Heavy snow loads, a steep watershed and significant rainfall in a short period of time created a “100 year flood” in Calgary and the surrounding area in mid-June, 2013. During the worst flooding, the flow rate for the three rivers which flow through or around Calgary was 5 to 10 times their normal rate. This “perfect storm” event in a semi-arid geographic area meant the water had nowhere to go.

City officials closed the downtown area, which was inaccessible for five days. The ENMAX utility company turned off the power, as a preventative measure. Some businesses were closed due to flooding, but many more were closed for lack of power.

In the heart of the downtown area, CWT’s corporate travel office was forced to close and calls were rerouted to local CWT Leisure and Business offices. Despite the spike in call volumes and shortage of staffing, CWT’s networked resources and disaster planning ensured our customers were well taken care of.

The impact

Calgary flood - impact chart

CWT staff in the community

Like many Calgary residents, CWT staff were also affected, from being evacuated, to helping evacuees. Staff spent countless off hours joining the thousands of volunteers in cleanup efforts for affected homeowners.

One CWT counselor and her husband, living south of the city, temporarily housed as many as 18 people, some of whom were strangers. “They slept on couches, air mattresses, I had two extra beds. Kids slept on the floor. Wherever we could put them, we put them!”

The town of High River was particularly hard hit. Community sports teams lost sponsors due to the disaster. CWT was one of many companies who donated funds to the High River Minor Hockey Pee Wee team, to ensure their participation in the 2013 – 2014 season.

CWT's response

Friday, June 21
CWT’s Calgary staff put the disaster plan into action.

Within less than 30 minutes:
CWT rerouted all leisure and corporate calls to alternate supporting teams including the CWT 24 Hour Service Centre.

CWT’s Business Continuity Plan kicked in, allowing CWT to effectively work through the disaster. “We had a contingency plan. We rolled it out. It went off without a hitch.” Anne Trudeau, Manager, Calgary Full Service Centre. “In fact, CWT’s plan worked so well during the flood, our Calgary office was not required to complete its annual test of the plan.”

Monday, June 24
CWT’s leisure and local business offices re-opened, a number of corporate counselors moved in to continue servicing corporate accounts.

A large Calgary-based energy company, and a long time CWT customer, was heartfelt in their praise for CWT’s efforts during the flood. Due to CWT’s efforts, the flood’s impact on travelers was greatly reduced; we received no negative feedback about any barriers to booking or our overall service.

“Could CWT have done better?” The client was asked. “No,” they said, “nothing went wrong”, confirming the service and commitment as excellent.

As with all our corporate Calgary customers, CWT proactively contacted the client’s travelers, made alternate arrangements and provided the travel manager with a report of all affected travelers. Continuous access to CWT travel counselors was especially important for those client travelers who lived elsewhere, but relied on our Calgary operations centre for travel. First class service like this has earned CWT its 97% client retention rate.

The outcome

  • CWT’s sophisticated IT infrastructure ensured our client travelers could access our Calgary operations for assistance. Despite the disruption, CWT maintained telephone response service levels.
  • CWT program managers and our clients ran tracking reports from the CWT Program Management Center to identify almost 300 CWT travelers affected in the city and needing assistance, either with hotels or flights. Other CWT travelers headed for Calgary were proactively contacted and re-booked.


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