AECOM is a global leading premier infrastructure firm that delivers professional services for projects spanning transportation, buildings, water, governments, energy and the environment. Driven by a common purpose to deliver a better world, the company was founded in 1990 and is today, a Fortune 500 company and one of America’s largest infrastructure firms delivering design, planning, engineering, consulting and construction management solutions.
Background and objectives
FCM has been the appointed travel management agency for AECOM over the last ten years. During this time, FCM worked collaboratively with AECOM on their travel programme in Europe and currently manages the company’s travellers and travel requirements on a global scale which spans over a 25-country footprint. For its Duty of Care responsibilities, the company has always worked directly with a third-party risk management partner to support and protect their travellers. Throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, AECOM’s focus was centred around one key objective – to successfully mitigate risk and come out of this with improved resiliency.
What was achieved
Setting the stage for success
In the face of a rapidly evolving pandemic situation with uncertainties that change daily, FCM dove in quickly and got up to speed to understand AECOM’s business objectives and discuss an approach to how we would support them through the process. FCM provided consult and an overview of the situation, and made recommendations including prioritisation of current and future business travel objectives.
As a result of the quick response, turnaround and collaborative efforts between the two companies, AECOM managed to make meaningful decisions efficiently and effectively, and as a result continued to see significant success in their existing projects.
Dedicated time, energy and resources were redirected from FCM in order to create a slew of solutions that helped AECOM to meet its additional Duty of Care responsibilities during COVID-19. Here are the series of steps that were taken by the team of FCM experts who rallied to put together the following solutions.
I. Making the most of technology
Since AECOM had an existing relationship with their third-party risk management partner, they had a good start in the availability of information and resources. This includes real-time information about the outbreak, geographical spread of the pandemic, regular alerts and they were also able to track and communicate with their travellers on a timely basis.
To ensure that AECOM was able to optimise opportunities to use their wealth of information and resources for internal as well as external reporting, FCM developed a reporting framework that included specific travel and forecast reports.
- Provide access and navigation to run Secure reporting to key AECOM contacts globally
- Provide daily forecast reports and making sure that timely traveller status updates are available to AECOM
- Break down daily forecast reports via key AECOM projects and continue to manage travel requirements and demands from projects during COVID-19
- Prepare and update reports detailing cancellation of all travel buys and a hotel closure listings report
II. Enhanced Operational Support Model recognised by AECOM
To manage this interface, FCM established the following initiatives and ensured that travellers could receive direct or personal attention from FCM’s travel experts with local knowledge, providing them with much needed travel, health and safety assurances.
- Provide daily traveller status updates, as well as guidance and support on best possible cost-effective options with least risk in every situation and traveller’s request
- Ensure every enquiry has complete and relevant documentation before booking
- Check COVID-19 safety and hygiene policies at the hotel, including safe distancing measures and dining options
- Manage airline policy changes for cancellation waivers & future travel, and full support on hotel policy changes and booking requests
III. Comprehensive and Timely Communications and Support
At the onset of the outbreak, there were challenges in obtaining credible information about the disease, fast-changing travel restrictions and immigration policies. It thus became crucial to decipher a reliable filtering and reporting system to weed out fake news from the real, in order to prevent further confusion from the disarray and misinformation.
FCM started to pull together accurate and up to date information from reliable sources ranging from reputable NGOs, key public health agencies, official immigration and tourism agencies, as well as travel suppliers. Complemented by the guidance from the FCM experts, these consolidated resource materials started to provide a glimpse of meaningful data and included :
- Continuous risk and policy updates on travel portal through direct communication with travellers
- Weekly AECOM travel communications which included airline and hotel updates
- Educational sessions and webinars jointly hosted by WorldAware & ISOS
Though COVID-19 may be catastrophic, claiming lives and bringing down corporates with million-dollar damages, many individuals and corporates including AECOM are finding silver linings in this crisis which has landed at every person’s doorstep.
This unprecedented onslaught of health crisis has woken up dormant behaviours and provided new perspectives and information that will help FCM and AECOM to better understand the future of business travel and how to adapt travellers to the new normal.