New Travel Hub and Chatbot launched in response to second ‘State of the Market’ poll results

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FCM Travel Solutions is ramping up its safety-related offerings for customers, as companies prioritize traveller safety and duty of care post COVID-19. 

The investments in a new Travel Hub and Chatbot correspond with the release of findings from the second poll in the company’s multi-national ‘State of the Market’ study. 

According to the study, most companies will only resume business travel if their organization deems it safe to do so. The majority will also revamp their travel policies to reflect increased duty of care considerations post COVID-19.   

A total of 1,600 business travel managers, bookers and travellers at FCM’s multinational large-scale clients and sister brand Corporate Travellers SME customers in the Americas, EMEA, Asia, the India, Australia and New Zealand were surveyed again in the second poll in June 2020. The purpose of repeating the study within one month of the first poll was to enable both TMCs to gauge any shift in clients’ business travel intentions as countries continue to review lockdown restrictions, implement quarantine periods or air corridors, and airlines and hotels introduce hygiene measures.  

Asked to rank which triggers would prompt resuming business travel, easing or lifting border restrictions still came out on top with 93% of respondents saying it has significant or some impact. However, the second trigger (89%) is ‘our organization deems it safe to travel and this is reflected in our travel policy’.  

In terms of changes to travel policy post COVID-19, 59% of participants said that traveller and supplier health and hygiene factors would be top priority. Duty of care obligations ranked the second most dominant area for change (44% of respondents). Consolidation of bookings through a TMC also emerged as a priority with 21% saying that they would not shift to higher levels of online booking adoption.  

As a result of these findings, FCM is are ramping up its duty of care support for customers significantly, starting with the launch of a new global Travel Hub, an interactive resource providing extensive up to date COVID-19 travel information. Users can search by supplier category, country or region for the latest news on border changes and restrictions; airline routes and safety procedures for travellers; hotel re-openings and hygiene measures; as well as rail travel and car rental announcements.  

Traveller resources include tips, frequently asked questions and useful links to help customers plan and pack for their next trip safely. The Travel Hub also features a live interactive map, delivered by travel safety specialist Sitata, which shows areas to avoid, number of COVID-19 cases per country, recovery rates, and local social distancing rules.  

In addition, the Travel Hub incorporates an innovative AI conversation-based messaging tool on the home page provided by cutting-edge technology developer Landbot. This powerful chatbot is embedded in the site and enables users to seek answers to any coronavirus-related travel questions in a live chat environment.  

The Travel Hub is fully integrated within FCM Hub, the gateway to the TMC’s suite of technology solutions, and can also be accessed via Sam, the AI-based mobile app used by FCM clients’ business travelers.  

“The second poll of our State of the Market survey showed that there is definitely an increasing sense of our clients needing to travel, but whilst the situation around COVID-19 remains unpredictable, with possible second waves and local lockdowns, it’s clear that duty of care, hygiene and safety are going to be the dominant considerations for our customers going forwards,” said John Morhous, Chief Experience Officer for FCM and Corporate Traveller. “We are therefore even more focused on giving clients the best possible support and resources in this respect and are excited to announce the launch of the Travel Hub as just one new development in our enhanced duty of care offering. The Travel Hub will enable clients to quickly find out anything and everything they need to know about planning a business trip in these challenging times.”