The novel coronavirus pandemic is a fast-changing global situation that began without a clear road map for how organizations take immediate action while planning for the future. Though it is affecting every aspect of society, its impact has been especially felt in its disruption to global travel.
For organizations whose work depends on business travel, ensuring a smooth operation and enabling business continuity is key. Although it varies a great deal from organization to organization and from day to day, it is critical that leaders and systems remain flexible and able to factor in the latest information.
Here are more recommendations on how travel managers can work with teams across their organizations to help keep employees safe and control costs to maintain business continuity.
It is vital that travel managers be in constant communication with leaders and employees throughout their organization to ensure that travel policies are modified and adapted according to internal standards, as well as governmental guidance and mandates.
In times of uncertainty and rapidly changing circumstances impacting business travel, travel managers can act as liaisons between employees and executives, investors, and other key stakeholders and decision-makers to assess the latest situation.
Meetings can help identify: where people in the organization are, whether any are currently at risk or in danger of becoming stranded, where situations are developing and travel managers may need to modify travel policies soon, and even where issues are resolving and business activity is resuming.
In order to effectively assess the state of travelers within the organization, and to effectively make all of the above decisions, it’s necessary for travel managers to stay on top of risks as they develop.
Travel managers should identify primary sources for the latest information and data that they can draw upon daily. Wherever possible, looking a few days down the road at areas that may become problematic, difficult to reach or get out of, will put your organization in the best possible position for ensuring traveler safety and business continuity.
Clear communication channels must be established, and all employees made aware of them, in order for changes in the travel situation and in company travel policy to be communicated in real time.
It’s best if communication can happen in a targeted way, so that employees are not overwhelmed by messages that may not be relevant to them. For instance, warning employees with upcoming travel to a certain region of the possibility of disruptions, or getting a message out to those in one country where a travel lockdown is due to take place soon. This will ensure employees do not begin to tune out what will likely be a high number of communications during a very dynamic time.
This communication goes hand in hand with ensuring that travel policies are continually updated, and available in a central location for employees to access and consider when making plans. When travel policies are native to the booking tool itself, the organization doesn’t have to rely on communication alone to make sure that these changes are seen and understood. This is an important part of your duty of care as an organization, ensuring that you are not allowing travelers to go to at-risk regions on behalf of your business. The best corporate travel tools empower travel managers to blacklist by continent, country, and city to ensure employees don’t inadvertently book travel to a troubled region.
It’s vital to have the right tools to facilitate quick response and then communicate in any dynamic, uncertain situation. Travel managers can no longer compromise when it comes to the technology that supports them.
The TripActions Business Travel Continuity™ suite features live traveler maps showing where travelers are as well as historical and future travel, reports on impacted regions, and traveler safety mechanisms to ensure travel policy can be modified as quickly as situations evolve. Plus, the user-friendly TripActions interface boasts industry-high traveler adoption and satisfaction, giving travel managers the confidence and power of full visibility into what employees are booking so action can be taken when necessary.
Keeping things running in the midst of business disruption is never easy, but by taking some of these key steps, travel managers can work as efficiently as possible toward being a part of the solution, reducing guesswork and stress throughout the organization, and ensuring business continuity to the greatest extent possible.