When crises occur: the benefits of having a travel management company on your side

Comments Off · Posted by Janet Wheatley at 10:18am in Business Travel, Safety & Security

Janet Wheatley
It seems like we all deal with one “disaster” after another…hurricanes, floods, snowstorms, and the even more threatening terrorist actions. The list goes on and on. Knock on wood, I have been fortunate enough (thus far) not to be caught in a large-scale crisis while traveling. Well, I was in Madrid when Eyjafjallajökull erupted last year, but traveled home blissfully unaware of the problem until I landed. Of course, then I was focused on the crisis as my team organized to notify and rebook our client travelers who were affected.

This is a timely topic as we just commemorated the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Everyone remembers where they were then and there are so many stories of how travelers made their way back home. Our industry has come a long way in safety and security tracking and communication in the past 10 years. That was one of the lessons we learned from that day.

While most of us may understand the benefits of working with a travel management company (TMC) for day-to-day bookings and online assistance, what isn’t as widely known is the importance of the travel company during a crisis. Ensuring our travelers are: 1. located immediately, 2. able to notify their families and coworkers of their situation and safety, and 3. able to change their travel reservations immediately are key priorities. In fact, in research by the CWT Travel Management Institute travelers rank “Emergency Assistance in Exceptional Circumstance” as the highest priority corporate travel service provided by a TMC (score of 8.8 out of 10).

Travel management companies take this aspect of their service offering very seriously and have developed mature business resiliency programs to ensure they deliver when it matters most. For example, at CWT we offer the following services to our client companies and travelers:

  • Destination intelligence prior to travel, including risk assessment
  • Alerts or automated notifications  to travelers and travel managers advising of any situation that could disrupt travel
  • Traveler tracking reporting systems that enable companies to quickly locate travelers in an emergency situation
  • SMS and/or emails from the emergency center to advise travel managers of situations
  • Cross-functional response teams that quickly mobilize to deploy plans to ensure the safety and security of travelers with immediate needs
  • An “on-call agent” program that allows deployment of hundreds of additional travel counselors to support travelers in times of need

 

In addition, most travel companies partner with global organizations that assist with medical evacuations and health information.

As our world becomes more complex, these services are important for all travelers, especially business travelers. Having a travel company with experience and a solid program in safety and security is more than a comfort, it’s smart and necessary.

Have you ever faced a crisis situation when traveling? Did you work with a travel counselor to help deal with the situation and its impact on your travel plans?

Posted by Janet Wheatley at 10:18am in Business Travel, Safety & Security

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