When disruption affects staff travel – be it a storm, illness, political unrest, etc. — the most important question is: “Are your prepared?”
While not every contingency can be addressed in advance, it is important for travel managers to collaborate with human resources, security and any other relevant department to develop plans to ensure travelers are informed on issues affecting their journey. Professionals refer to this process as “duty of care.”
Specifically, in terms of travel, what is duty of care and why is it important? At its core, duty of care is a corporation’s legal obligation to protect its employees when on the road. This obligation includes communicating essential information and assisting travelers during a crisis. Meeting duty of care requirements is virtually impossible if a company does not have a means to locate travelers.
Basic guidelines to implement duty of care policies include:
• Promote an understanding of duty of care and meet with top stakeholders.
• Investigate cautiously and enhance procedures.
• Inform and explain new policies to travelers.
• Evaluate potential threats before booking travel.
• Utilize traveler locater tools.
• Employ a crisis communication process and other risk management tactics.
• Confirm that suppliers support your crisis plan.
If your company is not partnering with a risk management provider, consider third-party suppliers such as: International SOS (ISOS), iJET (now WorldAware), and Anvil. In addition, many travel management companies such as Acendas Travel offer security services, that at a minimum, should provide traveler tracking during a trip. This is something that should be discerned early in the process when deciding to engage a travel resource.
A recent Skift article indicated that many TMCs monitor travelers via mobile apps with some success. However, that platform can be ineffective if a traveler is not receiving the necessary notifications, such as warnings for a specific location before an international trip. In terms of the apps, generally there is more of a focus on providing support, when an emergency occurs to ensure that impacted travelers are provided options and rebooked.
If your company is not receiving proactive crisis management services, then it would be wise for travel managers to investigate security solutions options. Acendas Travel features a technology-based tool known as “Mission Control,” which proactively manages travelers 24/7. The process involves monitoring pre-travel activities (air and hotel rate tracking), the actual travel activity, and the post-trip follow survey. It affords travel managers include desktop access to these phases, and automated alerts for travelers or travel arrangers for flight delays and/or cancellations.
Corporations should be introducing programs to recognize, evaluate, alleviate, and examine risk with a methodical approach. To assist companies with this daunting task, Acendas developed the resource below. (download our white paper below on the Building Blocks to a TRM Program).Building Blocks to a Travel Risk Management Program