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A day in the life: Paul

Paul McCrorie-Thompson

Senior Music & Entertainment Travel Co-ordinator, Detonate

Paul McCrorie-Thompson started his career in the luxury hotel sector. He joined Detonate in 2015 via leisure and corporate travel developing an encyclopaedic knowledge of travel booking systems, airlines, and destinations along the way.

As well as being Senior Music & Entertainment Travel Co-ordinator, Paul is one of the best travel logistic specialists in the business and an expert trouble shooter. He works closely alongside Alison Rodgers, Head of VIP & Entertainment Travel at Detonate, which she also founded.

A typical day

A typical working day for Paul begins by catching up with anything that may have happened overnight. “Travel is a 24/7 industry, so it doesn't stop when we go home” says Paul.

“I particularly watch out for any disruption that may have happened the previous evening or day and any further disruption on top of that. Strikes can happen at the very last minute, as can weather patterns.”

“We need to be on top of where our travellers are, and which ones are due to travel that day, so that we can be proactive. Instead of our clients telling us their flights are going to be delayed or cancelled, we monitor everything so that we can contact them with solutions as soon as any issue arises.”

“We normally deal with tour managers, agents, and logistics providers rather than the artists themselves. So, if we do hear from the artists themselves, it’s usually because they're stuck.”

Cost is not the be-all and end-all

In the post-pandemic world, cost is always a major consideration for travel arrangers, managers, and travellers themselves, but Paul believes that, for his clients, cost is not the be-all and end-all.

“Naturally, tour arrangers try to minimise logistics, and the costs involved, as much as possible. But it’s also about convenience. The cheapest way to reach their destination is not always the most convenient and we need to look at multiple options including if there is a route that reduces the number of stops, even if it’s significantly more expensive.

Our clients’ time is valuable to them and working with Detonate ensures they make the most of their time travelling because we provide them with the most logical options rather than simply the cheapest route.”

Standout project

Paul finds a smooth-running event as particularly satisfying and cites the example of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which is attended by music artists, footballers, chefs, and other creative industry professionals from all over the world.

“In any large-scale event like that there are massive logistical challenges. We had people arriving simultaneously at different airports, and there were a few delays. Making sure that overall the event ran smoothly was challenging but very rewarding to see it all come together and the feedback we got from it was great.”

Mission-critical travel

Recent delays and strikes have brought disruption for Paul and his colleagues to mitigate. “We understand that, ultimately, a delayed flight can mean a missed gig, so we always do whatever we can to ensure they arrive.”

“Sometimes, just getting the traveller to catch the next flight isn’t good enough as it could mean they arrive too late, so we have to be creative at all times and prioritise getting them there on time. Refunds for delays are handled later on when we know they’ve got there on time, after all, a missed appearance at a gig they’re headlining is not an option and could affect our clients’ livelihood as well as disappointing fans and disrupting organisers and other artists.

Why choose Detonate?

Paul believes that the entire Detonate team pride themselves on providing a highly personalised service.

“We really get to know our clients. Having that personal relationship and service ethos means we know what they like (and dislike), so we don’t have to ask them their preferences every time. We also understand how important it is that their travel arrangements run smoothly and the impact on them if things don’t go to plan.

“We treat it like the white glove service you’d get from a top concierge. Our clients shouldn’t need to ask us for anything; it should already be done.”

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