Mobile tools and travel risk management go hand-in-hand
No surprise then that these devices have become essential travel risk management facilitators. Mobile tools are helping prepare, inform and protect employees abroad: not least via pre-travel training, and real-time medical and security intelligence and alerts. They are giving travelling employees speedy access to integrated medical and security assistance and remote advice. And their monitoring, check-in and tracking capabilities are providing employers with a birds’ eye view of global staff and assets in the context of real-time threats.
When used correctly - and tailored to specific destinations and needs - mobile technology can translate to reduced traveller worries and emergencies. And we know from GBTA surveys that almost three-quarters of business travellers expect their employers to contact them proactively within two hours of an incident abroad. Almost half also expect their employers to use tools like GPS to locate them in an adverse situation.
What about the human touch?
But reducing traveller anxiety will always necessitate the human touch too. So, heed the words of James Waters, global director of customer service at Booking.com, who talks of “maintaining the right balance between genuine human interaction and efficient automation” for travellers.
Heed too advice from Jason Clampet of online travel platform Skift, who says, “The always-on, always-connected nature of many people's modern lives means that we are often under a constant barrage of news headlines about bad things.”
Rather than allaying concerns about our travel environment, this over-supply of information, says Clampet, “heightens our anxiety about the world around us, making it seem as if everything is just one tweet away from completely unravelling.”
Just as any effective travel risk management programme should combine reactive emergency responses with proactive training and support, so too should it offer a variety of delivery channels. At times this may be a hand-held device, at times a human voice. There’s no one-size-fits-all.
The skilled travel risk manager will understand not just the different roles of these delivery channels, but also the importance of providing bespoke, tailored information that reassures, rather than worries, globally mobile employees.
Written by Chris Knight, head of corporate services for Charles Taylor Assistance.