In business travel, there is an uncomfortable reality—some business travelers don’t book within their travel program.
Your employer has a responsibility to ensure they're doing what they can to reasonably ensure the safety and security of their travelers. This is commonly known as duty of care. Good travel management companies will work with their clients to support corporate duty of care initiatives. If you’re a traveler that typically books your flight or hotel room independently, do your travel manager a favor and read ahead on what a good travel management company can do for you in an emergency.
With terrorist attacks, wildfires, plane crashes and other disasters, it’s important to know where your travelers are—and for your travel management company to know where you are. The best TMCs have the reporting capabilities that can help to find you and ensure your safety quickly.
Every time you make a reservation through your TMC—whether with the online booking tool or traditionally with a travel counselor — we collect your travel data. From the second you take off to the second you return home, we have a record of your flights, their connections, your hotel and car reservations and more. When an emergency situation arises, your TMC is able to quickly locate you and ensure your safety.
Industry expert and Vice President of Customer Solutions at Travel and Transport, Joel Bailey, says, “At the end of the day, when it comes to duty of care, we aren’t just checking our automated system. We are verifying by hand. In a severe situation, we are not just emailing the customer, but the customer is getting a call from an executive to notify them that they have an affected traveler and to ask how we can assist.”
In a worst-case scenario emergency—let’s use the Dubai hotel fire last December as an example—you’re not the only person concerned about your safety. Your family and your company are too. Your TMC should be able to quickly access records that show whether they have any travelers in Dubai at that time and, more importantly, if any were staying at that hotel.
In this situation, time matters. If you are injured in the hotel fire, you may not be able to alert anyone. But, your TMC has a procedure in place to notify your company and work with your travel manager to make sure that you and all other travelers are accounted for.
This is one of the incredibly important aspects about booking your hotels through your travel management company. “Using the corporate travel management program is far more critical than counting room nights. It can be a make or break factor in knowing where travelers are in an emergency,” says Bailey. Unfortunately, your airline reservations don’t always let your travel management program know your final destination.
Travel and Transport has an entire division devoted to watching the news for potential emergency situations and travel disruptions. When our Command Center learns of an emergency, even a slight mechanical error that means your flight to L.A. will be making a pit stop in Bozeman, we run reports to see who’s on that flight. We notify your company, and we make sure that you get to L.A.—whether that means booking a hotel for the night while you wait for repairs or rebooking you on the next flight out.
In a significant emergency, we know you don’t want to be on hold while you try to sort out the details. Within minutes, we can double our emergency staff and bring in additional travel counselors in the home office.
Duty of care begins with implementation, putting procedures in place to make sure we keep your travelers safe according to your travel policy. We work with the company to set up alerts for passport and visa requirements as well as for global “hot spots,” so we can notify you if a traveler is visiting a potentially dangerous area. We will help you set up alerts and notifications that meet your safety requirements, such as limits on the number of employees who can be on any one flight.
Duty of care continues after an incident as well. If you’re going to a meeting or an event and your flight is delayed or canceled, we are able to notify your event group travel lead who can notify the meeting planner, update arrival/departure manifests and adjust ground transportation as needed. “It’s not just duty of care for the traveler, but following up with other people who can be affected,” says Bailey.
Not all TMCs are created equal, and not all of them offer the same level of duty of care. It’s important to ask your TMC what they’re doing for you. Travel and Transport is entering its 70th year of protecting domestic and international travelers in emergency situations. Visit our Travel Risk Management and Duty of Care page to learn more about the services we offer to protect travelers, and let us know if you have questions.
Dubai Marina - Photo by mattharvey1 - Flickr - used with Creative Commons license.