Using the FCM Extension to aid a diverse traveller population

A man on a laptop looking at the FCM platform

Cultivating diverse and inclusive workplaces goes far beyond having a diverse workforce. It also means seeking out opportunities for inclusion, promoting them, and implementing them in your day-to-day operations – especially when it comes to business travel.

A truly inclusive travel programme proactively responds to the ebbs and flows of the travel industry. However, as travel managers, you know you don’t have time to personally guide every traveller on their individualised needs.

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a tool that could do it for you? That tool exists—and it’s called the FCM Extension. But before diving in, you need to take a look at your policy first.

Is DEI a part of your travel policy’s vision?

Despite the growing emphasis on DEI initiatives in the past few years, a survey by Business Travel News found that 68% of organisations lack specific language about discrimination or bias in their travel policies.

According to that same survey, one of the most popular avenues for receiving discrimination-based travel advice is by making it the employee’s responsibility to approach the appropriate manager to discuss accommodations for travel concerns. 

Emese Graham, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager at Flight Centre Travel Group, Americas, argues in favour of a more proactive approach:

Collaboration between organisations and travellers is essential to create a seamless traveller experience. At the same time, by doing the pre-work of anticipating potential diverse travel needs, organisations can accelerate the process of communicating, understanding, and addressing possible barriers in the travel experience. Having a plan in place for issues related to gender, disability, ethnicity, culture, faith, and more helps to ensure team efficiency and reduces the need for ad hoc troubleshooting.

– Emese Graham, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager - Flight Centre Travel Group, Americas

But how does one build an inclusive travel policy?

Building blocks of inclusive booking processes

Clarity—Travellers should be provided with clear advice and resources before embarking on their journey. Don’t expect them to determine their options.

Equity – It’s not the same as equality. What works for one traveller may not work for another. For example, a neurodiverse (ND) traveller who experiences sensitivities to sound, light, and/or crowds may prefer to fly out of a smaller airport. However, smaller airports may lack specific amenities that support travellers with chronic illnesses.

Awareness – DEI initiatives should be a collaborative effort that evolves with the needs of marginalised travellers. Understand that not all travellers may be comfortable disclosing their identity, especially LGBTQ+ individuals. Everyone deserves to know about the available accommodations.

Check out our guide “Designing a People-First Travel Programme” for more guidance on implementing diverse travel policies.

What is the FCM Extension?

The FCM Extension is a user-friendly browser plugin designed to enhance decision-making support for travellers while providing travel managers with peace of mind. It specifically supports DEI initiatives by ensuring visibility into potential risks and accommodations for various traveller profiles and needs.

FCM Extension is your ally when it comes to duty of care. With this tool, you can:

●          Push out safety alerts due to location, weather, political unrest, and more.

●          Provide infectious disease alerts from Crisis24 and entry requirements via SHERPA.

●          Send out customised safety notifications specific to your company’s policy.

Taking a proactive approach by considering employee risks, challenges, and preferences significantly improves corporate travel programs. When employees are well-prepared and educated, and their needs are genuinely addressed, they are not only safer but also require fewer emergency resources. Moreover, they tend to be more loyal and productive.

- Daniel Senyard, Head of FCM Extension - FCM

The Extension in action


Visibility means safety

The Situation: Consider Amanda (she/her), a frequent-flyer with COPD, eager to collect miles on her global company conference in New Delhi. Opting to book through a consumer site so that she can earn her rewards, Amanda inadvertently puts herself at risk. Without visibility into her travel details, her team, TMC, and DOC officers lack the means to provide timely support in case of a medical emergency.

The Solution: Configure an alert that gently prompts Amanda to book through her organisation's OBT. This gentle reminder emphasises the importance of traveller tracking for all travellers’ safety. After booking through the OBT, Amanda receives another notification directing her to read her organisation’s internal brief on New Delhi, where she is informed about New Dehli’s low air quality index. With this information, Amanda can confidently seek support, knowing her team is aware and ready to assist if needed.

Cultivating allyship

The Situation: Hakeem (he/him) is co-pitching to an international prospect with his colleague, Ethan. When Hakeem books his flight through his organisation’s OBT, he receives a dynamic traveller safety alert warning him about anti-LGBTQ2+ legislation in the country they are travelling to. Although Hakeem is not a member of LGBTQ2+ community himself, he knows his colleague Ethan is engaged to his long-time partner, Allen (he/him). Concerned for his colleague’s wellbeing, Hakeem reached out to HR to seek resources and guidance on how he can best support his teammate during travel.

The Solution: According to a study by McKinsey & Company, employees are 90% more likely to help a coworker if they work in an inclusive organisation. By setting destination-specific push notifications to go out to all travellers, regardless of relevance, you, in turn, foster a supportive and tolerant work environment for your diverse employees. 

Comfort means care

The Situation: Ali (they/them), who is sensitive to loud noises and crowds, usually prefers smaller airports for work travel. However, a last-minute flight cancellation forces them to depart from the bustling Melbourne Airport (MEL). Although Ali came prepared with sensory devices, such as noise-cancelling headphones, they are still worried about feeling overstimulated.

The Solution: Melbourne Airport participates in the Sunflower Lanyard Project, which discreetly signals additional support for those with invisible disabilities. An alert could have been sent through the FCM Extension to any travellers flying via MEL. This alert could then be used to inform Ali about MEL’s participation in the project, urging them to seek out more information on how to receive this accommodation.


Taking the next steps

The most important first step is to acknowledge the needs of your diverse travellers. The next important step is to take action. And if you’re struggling with how to do that, our team can guide you on the best practices to creating a solid, inclusive travel policy and provide you with the tech you need to make it all come together.

Ready to see how else your DEI initiatives can benefit from the FCM Extension? Book a demo today

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