Over the last two years it’s no surprise that corporate travel became a complicated process. With varying domestic and international travel restrictions, passenger locator forms, vaccination requirements, isolation and quarantine periods, PCR tests and much, much more, travel became incredibly difficult to organise.
Thankfully, that’s where travel management companies come in, supporting businesses by providing the much-needed insight and expertise to help their travellers in getting around, not to mention the cost savings a good TMC can achieve compared to “finding it cheaper yourself online”. And in addition to helping you get from A to B, booking via a TMC helps ensure both employer and employee avoid risk and meet their duty of care obligations to one another.
Business Travellers – meet your duty of care to your employer
As travel begins to return in earnest, ensuring the safety of travellers is paramount. This starts with booking in–policy to ensure travellers are trackable throughout their journey. This isn’t a case of big brother keeping an eye on you. Making bookings through your selected travel partner ensures that, in the case of an emergency, your company and your TMC can identify where travellers are, help keep them safe or get them home fast.
Consider this scenario…
You book the flights for your multi-point business trip to mainland Europe through your TMC – a great first step. However, you then book your hotel… and an international rail journey and a second hotel for the final leg of your trip, all directly with the providers. Perhaps you do this in order to claim some sort of points or benefit through a personal account?
After you’ve alighted from that first flight, no one has any idea where you are. A situation could unfold in your original destination country after you’ve left and both your company and TMC may spend frantic and unnecessary time (and money) trying to locate you to ensure your safety. Or worse still, your final destination could experience some sort of emergency and your safety isn’t considered as there’s no knowledge that you’re even there.
Booking all corporate travel with your TMC not only ensures you remain compliant and in-policy, it reduces risk, helps support your duty of care to your employer and more often than not provides the best available rates in one place.
The latest feature addition to our booking tool, YourTrip+ enhanced with Grapevine’s AI engine, enables automated recommendations for additional trip requirements such as hotels, transfers and more.
By booking through these recommendation communications, you’re guaranteed a great rate and play your part in reducing risk and meeting your duty of care requirements. All travel is booked in-policy and in one place, providing full visibility of your entire trip. And thanks to the advanced Artificial Intelligence engine built in to YourTrip+, the more you book, the more the tool understands your preferences and can provide personalised options based on your typical booking tastes.
In addition to this great feature, YourTrip also delivers additional options to enhance traveller safety. YourTrip Cares provides insights during the booking process from your destination country’s foreign affairs channels, serving up–to–the–minute, relevant information that allows you to make an informed choice. This might include information on entry and exit requirements, Covid–19 considerations, natural hazards, health insights and so on.
Our Stay Safe service can also be added to bookings made through YourTrip. Stay Safe provides email and mobile notifications for your chosen destination and updates you as necessary both before and during your trip. Prior to your journey you’ll receive emails with information that you should know before you go, and while you’re away mobile notifications can be delivered in real time with any breaking or updated news that’s directly relevant to you and your trip.
For the back office, YourTrip Cares’ Global Monitoring provides comprehensive traveller tracking to ensure organisations know where their travelling employees are, at all times. If an in–country risk unfolds, Global Monitoring provides the tools to communicate with relevant travellers to help ensure their safety.
A two–way street where communication is key
As companies and their employees begin returning to business travel, there’s no better time to ensure that the right processes are in place to not only save money but reduce risk and ensure employee safety. But this is a two-way street. Businesses of course have a duty of care to their employees – they must provide the tools and procedures to keep them secure and safe.
But individual travellers have an equal stake in ensuring their own safety and meeting duty of care obligations to their employers. Confirming travellers fully understand this should be a priority for any company asking their employees to travel on business.
Highlighting the reasons behind the need to remain in policy is the best way to ensure the message sinks in and processes are followed. You can have the best, most comprehensive travel policy in the world, but if your travellers don’t understand why they need to follow the rules and are booking elsewhere, then that policy may as well not exist.
With many years of specialist experience, TMCs are well versed in finding ways to help make those policies stick. It’s this insight that has driven the advancement of business travel technology and the continual development of tools such as YourTrip. Even so, the features it provides rely on both businesses and their travellers understanding that they have a big part to play in self-regulating and following best practice for their own and the greater good.
To help you navigate the changes of business travel, we’ve created the brand-new Traveller Toolkit. This invaluable online resource is packed full of easy-to-use guides and checklists for every stage of every journey. We detail exactly what you need to know and do before, during and after your trip.
You’ll also find innovative and interactive virtual trips, which walk you through each step of being at the airport, on the train and in the hotel. You can even check the travel restrictions and health status of your destination with our comprehensive COVID-19 Country Tracker, updated five times daily to ensure you have the very latest information to help keep you and your travellers safe.
Travel is changing. With common sense and a good TMC behind you, travellers can have the confidence to once again take to the skies. It’ll soon be back business as (un)usual.