8 July 2020
FCM launches Traveller Hub and innovative AI conversation-based messaging tool that enables users to seek answers to any coronavirus-related travel questions in real time
Most companies will only resume business travel if their organisation deems it safe to do so, according to the second poll in a multi-national ‘State of the Market’ study by FCM Travel Solutions. The majority will also revamp their travel policies to reflect increased duty of care considerations post COVID-19.
A total 1600 business travel managers, bookers, and travellers at FCM’s multinational large-scale and SME clients in EMEA, Asia, the Americas, 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 the travel management company to gauge any shift in clients’ business travel intentions as countries continue to review lockdown restrictions, implement quarantine periods or air corridors; and as airlines and hotels introduce hygiene and sanitation measures.
When asked to rank which triggers would prompt resuming business travel:
- Easing or lifting border restrictions still came top, with 93% of respondents saying it has significant or some impact.
- However, the second trigger (89%) is ‘our organisation 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.
“The results have confirmed our expectations that there is considerable interest for streamlining and analysing information flows using a combination of human and artificial intelligence,” says Bertrand Saillet, Managing Director for Asia, FCM Travel Solutions.
“Two of the biggest triggers are border changes and institutionalising travel safety in an organisation’s travel policy. To help our customers and travellers filter and operationalise information and data related to these triggers, it is important to arm them with an information architecture for gathering, managing and analysing such content. This information also augments the work that our team in Asia has been doing to help customers turn such insights into actionable response plans, as part of an adapted travel policy within the Duty of Care framework.”
As a result, FCM is ramping up its duty of care support for customers significantly, starting with the launch of Traveller 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 hire announcements.
Traveller resources also include tips, frequently asked questions and useful links to help customers plan and pack for their next trip safely. The Traveller 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, Traveller 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 Traveller Hub is fully integrated within FCM Hub, the gateway to our suite of technology solutions and can also be accessed via Sam, the AI-based mobile app used by FCM clients’ business travellers.
“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 forward,” said John Morhous, Chief Experience Officer for FCM. “We are therefore even more focused on giving clients the best possible support and resources in this aspect and are excited to announce the launch of Traveller Hub as just one new development in our enhanced duty of care offering. Traveller Hub will enable clients to quickly find out anything and everything they need to know about planning a business trip in these challenging times.”
About FCM Travel Solutions:
FCM Travel Solutions is one of the largest travel management companies in the world, and the flagship global business travel division of Flight Centre Travel Group. FCM’s network spans 97+ countries, employing over 6000 staff. At the heart of FCM’s business model are our highly experienced people who operate in small teams and are empowered to deliver exceptional customer service to their clients. We never use call centres. The combination of our people’s expertise, supplier relations, unrivalled negotiating strength and innovative technology solutions, has positioned FCM as a leading business travel partner for large national, multi-national and global corporations. For the last eight consecutive years FCM has been named the World's Leading Travel Management Company at the World Travel Awards.