Duty of Care: How to communicate effectively with your travellers

4 min read

Communication is vital for any travel management programme, even more so when the health, safety and security of your employees is concerned.

Recent events around the world in a number of capital cities have demonstrated that traditional business destinations now have a far greater risk attached to them when visiting on business.  It is therefore imperative that companies work with their Travel Management Company to develop a crisis management strategy which includes a robust communication plan.

Crucially employees need to be fully engaged in order for them to understand travel risks and take the necessary precautions. We suggest keeping your employees updated using the following methods:

  • Email: Travellers will be familiar with receiving their booking confirmations by email and it’s equally good for sending travel advisory notices. Email can also be used to send travel alerts to travellers if they need to be aware of something that may impact their trip.
  • SMS: SMS can be even more effective than email to get a message straight to the traveller’s phone. People are generally more likely to open a text message than an email so consider using this method for any communication about traveller safety.
  • Telephone: Nothing beats speaking directly to an employee when you need to discuss their safety and security. Make sure all travellers provide their mobile phone number so you can reach them while they’re travelling.
  • Online Booking Tool: If you use an online booking tool speak to your Travel Management Company about showing messages throughout the booking process to advise travellers of travel risks.
  • Emergency Service: Make sure your travellers know who to contact if they need support while they’re travelling. If you use a business travel agency make sure they have details of their contact numbers so they can reach them 24 hours a day. If they need to speak to someone within the company in an emergency, who should they contact?
  • Travel Portal/Intranet: If you have a Travel Portal or an area in your company Intranet concerning travel, document the travel risk process so employees are aware of the various roles and responsibilities and who to speak to if they need some guidance.

Travel Alerts

Make sure there is a system in place to keep travellers updated of any changes to travel advice or if an incident occurs that could affect them. Most good travel management companies will provide travel or risk alerts to keep travellers up to date but if you don’t use a business travel agent, make sure you have your own systems to capture and disseminate such information.

If you use a corporate travel agency, you should be familiar with travel alerts which keep you and your travellers up to date with information that may affect their travel plans, including the following:

o Impending strike action, in any country, by airlines, airports or ground transportation staff

o Changes in FCO travel advice

o Amendments to passport and visa requirements for specific countries

o Advice and implications of weather or major incident

It’s good practice to ensure any travel alerts received are relevant to the traveller, otherwise, they’ll start to ignore all alerts if they’re inundated with emails that don’t affect them. At Good Travel Management we code our travel alerts by the level of severity and the potential impact so alerts are tailored to the traveller and therefore relevant to their current or upcoming trips.

Traveller Tracking

It’s imperative that organisations know where their travellers are when they’re travelling on company business. If you use a TMC, you should have access to management information that shows who is travelling where and when, you may even have access to traveller tracking software that shows you this data in real time. In the absence of a Travel Management Company, it’s important that you keep your own business travel records so you can locate travellers when you need to. For example, if there is an incident, you’ll want to check if any of your travellers were in the area at the time. If you use a TMC, ask them about their traveller tracking tools.

At Good Travel Management, we offer our customers an online traveller tracking solution which displays itineraries on a map. This allows customers to quickly pinpoint a traveller’s location using GPS functionality in their smartphone or by geolocation of an airport or hotel. Users can also contact travellers from within the traveller tracking tool which makes tracking down travellers in an emergency as quick and seamless as possible.