Risk and recovery. Putting the spotlight on duty of care.
Travel has always been a risky business. Especially if you have ever had to navigate international incidents, industrial action or adverse weather. Not surprising then that risk management and duty of care is so important.
COVID-19 has added a new level of complexity. Companies need up-to-the minute information around travel restrictions and regulations. They expect their TMC to flag potential risks, alert travellers to any developments or looming changes, and bring their teams back should the need arise.
But, for Matt DeMaris, FCM’s Global Safety & Risk Product Leader, it’s all part of the job. Because, he says, traveller confidence and a successful return to business travel is underpinned by a solid approach to risk management. One which combines the right people and partners, cutting-edge tech and personal service when you need it most.
Does your risk management programme measure up?
Tighten up your travel policy
Start by asking the following questions:
1-Are there gaps in your approvals process? Do you want to add a layer of authorisation for safety and compliance purposes? Or is it overcomplicated, resulting in a slow back-and-forth between approvers and travellers? FCM’s newly-refined approvals system allows all traveller requests to come into one dashboard, with omni-channel approvals. It’s slick and streamlined.
2-Who has ‘ownership’ over your travel policy and response plans? Can they respond quickly and decisively if travel restrictions or entry/exit requirements change?
3-What is your company policy around issues like vaccinations, vaccine certificates, traveller behaviour and traveller responsibility?
4-Are you able to conduct a rigorous traveller and/or destination risk assessment?
5-Is your policy clearly laid out, easy to understand, and instantly accessible?
6-Are you making the most of settings and features in your online booking tool to nudge policy and maximise compliance? In FCM Platform you can highlight preferred suppliers and nudge travellers to book in policy.
There’s never been a better time to review, update and communicate your policy – making sure duty of care is front and centre.
Although many travellers are keen to hit the road, the first ‘post-pandemic’ trip might be daunting.
Talk to your employees, get a sense of some of their fears and frustrations. Use this feedback to reassess and reinforce your travel risk management strategy.
The Institute of Travel Management recommends that travel managers ask their travellers some important questions before a trip is confirmed, including:
- How do you feel about this business trip?
- What can we (as a company) do to make sure you feel happy, rested and productive during your time away?
- How is this trip going to affect your personal life and your physical and mental wellbeing?
- Is there anything you are worried about for your trip?
- What would you like changed, or implemented for this trip, to give you a better experience?
Open the lines of communication, build trust and work closely with your TMC to share information and allay any fears.
FCM Platform’s globally consistent communication centre makes it easy for managers and bookers to build trust and confidence. They can message individual travellers or groups across the world directly with alerts or important information, and facilitate instant access to after-hours, on-the-ground travel assistance.
Staying connected has never been so easy. Or more important.
There’s little doubt that the focus for airlines, hotels and other travel suppliers will be on health and safety for the foreseeable future. 2022 will see even more advances in biosafety, sanitisation and no-touch technology.
Your TMC should be able to vet all suppliers, building a global network of trusted partners who prioritise duty of care and traveller wellbeing. It goes beyond your travel suppliers into the realm of specialised travel risk management providers, repatriation membership programmes and private/public partnerships, which can be challenging. A TMC with years of experience working with third parties is key to beefing up your strategy.
And it’s not just introductions, FCM Platform can facilitate integrations too. That’s why the FCM Platform integrates with risk management providers like Crisis24 to give you an immediate and clear picture of incidents worldwide and the location of travellers at potential risk.
FCM will also work with the preferred partner of your choice to ensure data around your most important asset, your people, integrates seamlessly with their technology.
According to DeMaris, the biggest trends in this space will be around tracking and visibility tools – as well as round-the-clock communication channels.
“Tech features like instant alerts, traveller tracking, monitoring and reporting are now non-negotiables when it comes to risk management,” says DeMaris.
“Today, technology facilitates traveller safety. The FCM platform allows you to build and customise interactive safety dashboards, where travel managers can get an immediate snapshot of where their travellers are, including flight times, ETAs, accommodation, itineraries and more.”
Alongside traveller tracking tools, communication capabilities are critical when it comes to keeping travellers safe and informed.
“FCM Platform allows travellers to receive up-to-date information around their trip,” says DeMaris. “This includes anything from flight changes to boarding gate information – and even the weather at their destination. But more than that, instant travel alerts inform travellers of any unexpected developments or incidents.”
FCM Platform has 24/7 live chat functionality as well as a call-back function so travellers can ask for advice and support any time, any place.
“Always available or ‘always on’ travel assistance is one of FCM’s key pillars,” says DeMaris. “It remains at the heart of our tech developments, so we remain responsive, connected and a step ahead – but it also means that travellers have round the clock access to experienced travel advisors, so you always feel supported while out on the road. For example, FCM Platform can integrate a third party crisis hotline of your choice. That way, if there’s a critical incident nearby travellers have a chance to get health and safety advice in addition to travel assistance.”
For DeMaris, it’s this combination of human expertise and smart technology that makes for a strong risk management programme.
“Increasingly, companies are relying on travel advisors with the in-depth knowledge and experience to identify and mitigate risks; understand the different risks associated with different destinations; have the agility needed to keep up with changing travel restrictions; and have the tech capabilities to track and communicate quickly with travellers,” says DeMaris.