Business travel of some form or another is a necessity for virtually all organisations in the 21st century. From a rail trip to a client one station down the line in the next town, to an international flight for a major conference halfway across the globe, millions of people around the world travel on business every week.
Whilst the huge percentage of business travel trips thankfully occur without incident, we do live in an age in which security concerns loom large over travel in general. As the tragic events of the last 6 months have shown, gravely destructive terrorist acts are not limited to historical conflict hotspots; they can happen almost anywhere.
Organisations have legal and moral obligations to provide safety and security to their people, as much as possible, as they travel on business; that comes in the form of duty of care and your travel management company (TMC) should offer you access to tools and services that support you in looking after your travellers and help you in holding up your end of the duty of care bargain.
Here are 5 processes and actions to take as signs that your TMC is following best practices and providing you with sufficient support during an emergency:
1. Traveller tracking and location search
One of the first things your TMC should do in the event of an emergency is find out the location of your travellers. Knowing where your employees are can provide instant peace of mind during a crisis; often traditional forms of communication become slow, if not totally unavailable, and so being able to find out if travellers are in an affected area by other means becomes invaluable.
Locating travellers can of course be done in a variety of ways, but the quickest and most efficient way is to use traveller tracking software; this allows your account manager and authorised users to access the location of travellers in real time whenever is needed.
2. One point of contact
Your designated account manager should be your main point of contact during an emergency situation; they’re the person who’s worked closely with you and knows your organisation well, so it only makes sense that they continue to work closely with you during a crisis.
Having one person take control of all communication between the office and the travellers means that you can feel assured that there will be no crossed wires when it comes to relaying renewed travel information back and forth.
3. 24/7 emergency response service
International emergencies don’t adhere to anyone’s schedule and so your TMC should offer a fully managed, 24/7 disaster response service to ensure that travellers affected by major events are proactively contacted and offered assistance, and that travel managers are kept abreast of developments as they happen.
However, in order for this service to be the most efficient that it can be, it’s important that you provide your TMC with a 24/7 emergency contact within your organisation, as well as ensuring that all 24/7 contact details are kept up to date.
4. Present all of the information
Transparency during a crisis is absolutely paramount; with conflicting reports and the buzz of rumours often occurring in the wake of an international emergency, being presented with information that is clear and practical is key.
A TMC should take the time to not only answer your questions, but also to talk you through what will happen over the next few days; what will be communicated to travellers, how their safety will be ensured, any rearranged travel details etc. Also, your TMC will be in touch with the Foreign Office and so they should be able to pass on any official, recommended advice.
5. Alerts for travellers
Targeted alerts for travellers who find themselves in affected areas are a really innovative, but really useful, way of communicating during a crisis. Alerts allow travellers to be sent up to date information that is specifically relevant to them and their trip.
Alerts for travellers also allow your TMC to be proactive and to contact them about events that impact their planned travel, meaning that any amendments can be made as soon as they become necessary, potentially saving both time and money.
Having the professional advice and industry experience of a travel management company to call on is useful for any organisation in its day to day business, but when faced with a crisis, the real value of working with a TMC becomes abundantly clear.
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