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Thursday,  June 13, 2024 12:02 AM 

#ThrowbackThursday with Chris Robinson

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  •   04-17-2015  8:32 am

#ThrowbackThursday with Chris Robinson

Chris Robinson, of the Chris Robinson Travel ShowIt was the late 1970s and I was straight out of university, working at Thomson Holidays, one of the world's largest tour operators at the time (and now part of TUI Group).

Being one of their new graduate trainees, I was required to spend time in all of the company’s different departments, including the reservations department. Back then, the Thomson Holidays reservations department was the biggest for a travel company in Britain, perhaps even Europe.

It was an exciting time, as we were right on the cusp of changing our processes over to what we were being told would be a brand new computerized system; however, as with most technological advances, the transition was slow going to start.

While we were waiting for the arrival of these dubiously magical devices, we had to catalogue all our individual bookings, combined with the air and accommodation details, on cards which we affixed to an enormous wall chart that spanned across the entire reservations department.

I was there the day that one side of the chart came loose from the wall and crashed to the floor, taking all the individual booking cards with it. The floor was littered with countless client reservations, and suddenly, no one knew which air booking went with which hotel bed!

Each individual client had to be phoned, and asked whether they remembered which package they had bought, in the hopes of matching them with their reservations. Needless to say, it was a massive game of match-up.

Luckily, and not a moment too soon, that was the last season before Thomson switched over to its computerized system. While the new system tended to go down and needed to be rebooted quite a lot, it never crashed in quite as devastating a way as what we experienced the summer of 1978.