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Safety check: 5 reasons to focus on duty of care

Business travel is, in its very nature, dynamic and changeable. And while COVID-19 was a dramatic demonstration of just how quickly things can go wrong, if you’ve ever had flights affected by strikes or bad weather, or had someone take ill while on the road, you’ll have a fair idea of what it’s like when a trip doesn’t go exactly as planned.

Often SMEs book travel on the fly, and without the support of a dedicated travel expert it can be stressful. Especially when things go wrong. Here are just five good reasons to relook your current approach to risk management and duty of care:

1. Your people are your greatest asset

You simply can’t put a value on a hardworking, productive and committed team, which makes protecting them a pretty big deal.

From managing any (and all) travel concerns with trustworthy advice, real-time information and smart recommendations, to health and safety dashboards and traveller tracking, Corporate Traveller takes a dynamic, decisive approach to duty of care. This includes pre-travel risk assessments, the vetting of suppliers, open communication, travel alerts, and 24-hour support.

Importantly, today’s booking platforms also allow you to take a closer look at your company’s travel data, travel behaviour, and your team’s health and wellbeing.

For example, is one traveller carrying the load when it comes to long-haul flights, early mornings or the dreaded ‘red-eye’? By analysing your travel data, you’ll be able to make certain that your travellers aren’t sleep-deprived or spending too much time away from home. It’s a pro-active approach to your team’s wellbeing – and one that could have a significant impact on attracting and retaining key staff.

2. It boosts traveller confidence

Traveller confidence is everything. The safer your employees feel, the more relaxed and productive they’ll be, which is great for morale, improving staff retention and ultimately the growth and success of your business.

Any TMC worth their salt will be able to assist with pre-trip planning (including visas, destination information, tips and advice), but did you know that tech can make a massive difference?

When travel tech company Amadeus asked 6,000 travellers what would boost their confidence as they returned to travel, a whopping 84% said technology. Interestingly, mobile apps offering on-trip notifications and alerts came in at the top of the list.

Corporate Traveller’s platform, Melon, includes a mobile app which is available across all devices, and uses a blend of artificial intelligence and integrated travel consultant support to keep travellers informed at all times.

This means that if boarding times change, strike action is announced or flights are cancelled, you – and your travellers – will be the first to know. Even better, Melon makes it really easy for travellers to get in touch, with instant support just a tap or call away. A handy chatbot sorts out straightforward queries, while travellers can also opt to be connected to a dedicated travel consultant whenever they need to.

Ultimately, travellers just want a safe and seamless journey. And the knowledge that someone else is in charge when things go wrong.

3. Traveller tracking is where it’s at

The most notable advancements in risk management tools are around traveller tracking. No longer a ‘nice to have’, today’s travel bookers want to know exactly where their travellers are at any given moment. This includes easy access to ‘real time’ data regarding a traveller’s whereabouts and on-the-ground risk conditions.

It’s not as creepy as it sounds, honestly. It’s more so that should anything happen, you can easily get in touch and bring them home.

4. It makes a difference when the chips are down

Although you can do everything in your power to keep your travellers safe, sometimes the unthinkable happens. Take one of our TV production clients, Blast! Films. Their TV crews are used to travelling to remote and far-flung destinations, including the Himalayas, the jungles of Papua and the Canadian wilderness. But it was while on location in Siberia that everything turned upside down.

The Blast! team witnessed a helicopter crash. Thankfully they were safe, but understandably traumatised and shaken up. They were also stranded in Siberia with no supplies – and wanted to come home as soon as possible. Our production, sports and creative division was able to spring into action, organising ground transport and the first available flights out.

5. COVID could still scupper your plans

It’s safe to say that the global pandemic has made even the steeliest travel experts a little wary. And while we’re a million miles from 2020, the situation around the world still looks a little different depending on where you are … or where you’re headed.

A true travel partner will have destination information at their fingertips and know the most up-to-date entry and testing requirements. Although COVID feels like a distant memory, it taught us to ‘never say never’. Arm yourself with the latest information for complete peace of mind.

As a business owner or travel manager, keeping your travellers safe is your top priority. And I’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to risk management and duty of care.

Luckily, we’ve included it as a chapter in our free SME Corporate Travel Toolkit. This kit will give you pointers on how to craft the perfect travel policy, where to find savings without compromising on traveller safety or sustainability, the pitfalls of unmanaged travel and so much more. Sign up today!

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