Skift Take

In today’s volatile world, risk management in business travel is more important than ever. Organizations have a duty of care for their employees, but they need help to meet it. The solution is a travel management company who understands the high-touch service, preparation, and proactivity required to keep everyone at all levels of the travel program safe and well.

Another day, another long haul flight. Sometimes it seems like I spend as much time in the air as I do on the ground. I know the routine – seat backs up, smartphone to airplane mode, cute safety video – from Indianapolis to Istanbul, you could say I live in the Cloud.

The skies have become sort of a happy place, really. Catch up on a little work on my laptop, watch a movie or two, take a nap – most of the time it’s, dare I say, relaxing. Excuse me while I sit back and cruise over the Atlantic.

Here we go again – another alert that could affect one of our travelers. It seems like it’s something new every day, or just a new version of the stories we hear more and more.

I know all about the risks that come along with traveling, because I’m in charge of thousands of international travelers. From Kagoshima to Kathmandu it’s my job to make sure their travel plans allow them to be productive, happy, and most importantly safe wherever our business takes them.

Of course we work for savings and efficiency, and all those things that make our CFO tick, but above all, we’re responsible for our team’s safety and well-being when they’re traveling on business.

So as soon as I see this alert come through from our travel management company, I open it up right away. Some dangerous protests have just broken out in a city where we frequently send travelers, and the report shows that sure enough I have one up in the air on his way there.

Just as I’m pondering the situation I get a call from Kelly, my dedicated agent team’s leader – she’s on top of it and has a plan ready to go upon my approval. After a quick briefing to get me up to speed I sign off and she confirms an escort to be en route to the airport to meet my traveler at the arrival gate. She’s made a change to the hotel keeping my traveler out at the airport and away from the volatile city center.

As we’re still on the phone, we go through the rest of the report and single out any other travelers who are scheduled to go to the area in the next week. Our agent team begins reaching out to each of them individually to assess the situation. Proactivity is key.

As for my traveler in the air, we dive into his profile information that’s stored in the dashboard and begin reaching out to him by every possible means. I leave a voicemail on his mobile and also send a text, while Kelly sends an email to his business and personal account. We have to make sure that he gets the message as soon as possible.

Well, that was a nice flight. I got some work done and was able to catch a few zzz’s.

I almost dread turning my phone back on as we taxi to the gate – it was nice to disconnect for a bit. It has to happen though, I want to tell my wife I landed safe and sound, so I power on.

Whoa. System overload. I’ve got voicemails, texts, and emails galore from our corporate travel people and my company’s travel manager. I see the alert first – and it looks a little scary. Before I freak out though I see the next email from my favorite travel agent Kelly, and she said they’ve got someone from their local office waiting for me at the gate. She’s already taken care of everything.

My next thought is – what about my prospect who’s flying in tomorrow for our meetings? I get him on the phone as quick as I can and conference Kelly in with us. He didn’t know about the protests yet and was packing his suitcase when I called.

I’m already on this side of the world, so we come up with a plan to meet tomorrow in a safer city nearby. Kelly rebooks all my flights, hotels, and cars on the spot, and even helps out my (very important) prospect with his arrangements. Whew, that was a close one.

But we’re all set now, before I even got off the plane – and I’m still going to close this deal!

Whew, that was a close one. Risk Management can be stressful, but it’s truly the most important part of a corporate travel program.

This is exactly why our travel management company, Ultramar, stresses proactivity. They set up all of the systems we need in the beginning, so we have the information and the support we need to tackle anything that may arise anywhere on the globe – 24/7/365.

I can see where my travelers are, where they’re going, and where they’ve been at any point in time. From a snow storm to an airline strike to something much worse, something we don’t even want to imagine, we’re able to take every possible step to keep our team safe and sound.

And that makes all of our jobs a lot easier.

This content is created collaboratively in partnership with our sponsor, Ultramar.

Subscribe to Skift Pro

Subscribe to Skift Pro to get unlimited access to stories like these ($30/month)

Subscribe Now

Tags: business travel, Service, TMC, travel, Travel Management Company

Up Next

Loading next stories