Home > Case study: Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were Games like no other. The additional layers of complexity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic presented a completely new set of challenges and required Travel Places to re-think ‘business as usual’ and adapt to the ever-changing situation.

Successes from the event:

3583

Tickets issued

400

Flights

114

Days

The Challenge

Having been successful in the 2018 tender process for the British Olympic & British Paralympic Association, we were tasked with all travel requirements for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games to Tokyo, 2020. This included all athletes, coaches, officials and key stakeholders from the British Olympic & British Paralympic Association, in addition to the media and production crew from Discovery, BBC, Getty Images and Whisper Films.

Concerns were raised about the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on athletes and visitors to the Olympic Games and on the 24th March 2020, it was confirmed that the Olympics and Paralympics would be rescheduled to the following year. Having already been working with the client and suppliers for nearly two years on the original deadline, we had to react instantly to minimise the disruption caused by the sudden change.

Furthermore, when the rescheduled Games eventually took place, we had to deal with the other attributes a global pandemic brings, effectively managing travel for over 1000 personnel whilst ensuring there was the correct social distancing and Covid ‘bubbles’ in place.

"Team GB will always be massively grateful to Travel Places for their flexibility, professionalism, hard work and industry knowledge, which enabled us to not only send a delegation of 960 Athletes, Officials and Stakeholders to the Games, safely return them home again, but also perhaps more crucially for the millions of British spectators watching on TV back at home, to achieve such fantastic success on the field of play, winning 65 medals, including 22 Golds, across 18 sports. "

Pete Ambrose | Head of Games Services, Tokyo at British Olympic Association

Our Approach

Travel Places are extremely proud of our relationship with British Airways, having worked closely together for many years. It was this relationship that allowed us to quickly negotiate the contract and reallocation of all booked flights to the following year. However, as the event start date closed in, flights to Japan were reduced from 2 to 1 a day with decreased aircraft size. They were then all cancelled for the month of June, in accordance with the Japanese government travel restrictions. Despite this, we were able to negotiate with other airlines to successfully ensure all cancelled passengers had safe travel into Japan, on schedule.

Our approach to delivering excellence for our clients continued throughout the event. It was determined before the Games that each athlete had to leave the country within 48 hours of finishing their own event. Despite best efforts by all to predict when this will be for each athlete, many went on to exceed performance expectations, and some, unfortunately, finished earlier than predicted. These constant changes meant our team on the ground in Tokyo were working round the clock, updating flight personnel in accordance with when they had to leave the country. By utilising our personalised technology solution, we had full visibility over aircraft seating plans and were able to quickly allocate updated flight seats, ensuring covid bubbles remained in place.

The Result

The Tokyo Olympics is by far one of the largest and most challenging events Travel Places has worked on.

Despite the obvious challenges the pandemic brought, the team both in Tokyo and back in the UK were always available, confident and knowledgeable regarding the latest airline changes, resulting in complete trust between us and our clients. It was this trust that ensured both parties worked together seamlessly to deliver a successful event, both on and off the field.

Our Team

The Travel Places team worked tirelessly on the event, from the original 2018 tender process, up until the last athlete returned home from the Paralympic Games in September 2021. Two members of the team, Helen and Debbie, spent weeks out in Tokyo, mostly confined to a hotel room but still managing to deliver the high-class service Travel Places are known for.

Get in touch for a free group travel consultation with our specialist team:

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info@travelplaces.co.uk

"The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games came with many logistical challenges but collaborating with a partner like Travel Places made the Discovery Sports Services Team's role, which is ensuring the production crew's safety and entire onsite experience is a good one, much easier to achieve. The relationship goes from strength to strength and the personal touch that is part of working with Travel Places makes it an absolute pleasure to work with the entire team. "

Glyn Cassidy | Director, Sports & Olympic Services, Discovery