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Any number of unforeseen occurrences can suddenly arise that impact the itineraries of business people while travelling. This is particularly pertinent during extended, multi-destination, multi-time zone, multi-cultural business trips.
How does a corporate proactively and reactively mitigate the negative impact of unexpected challenges to the well-being, productivity and peace-of-mind of its long-distance travel employees?
“Most good travel management companies (TMCs), using a combination of the latest technologies and hands-on, dedicated consultants, will offer their clients a service that operates around the clock, every day of the year,” says Sharon Nash, Club Travel Corporate’s Travel Operations Director. “As such, clients can be confident that wherever their employees are or whatever help they need during their extended time away, there’s always someone on the end of the phone who will help them.”
Most of the TMC’s interventions are reactive to situations that happen ‘on the ground’. Seldom, if ever, will the TMC or corporate build ‘buffering’ into their bookings; for example, by adding an extra day or two in a hotel, just in case of meetings or flights having been delayed.
However, a good TMC will always be available, flexible and agile, able to react quickly and effectively to any challenge that may arise. “With a WhatsApp group of people continuously aware of what’s going on wherever their client’s employees are travelling, the TMC is able to proactively alert the traveller to, for instance, an impending storm or airport strike, a terrorist incident or health crisis, etc.”
Airlines are an extremely reliable source of information. TMCs benefit from the solid relationships and lines of communication they have with airlines who keep them up-to-date with relevant information.
Sharon points out that it’s essential for the TMC to always act in the best interests of both the business traveller and the company. This is especially true when inevitable changes in itineraries occur during extended, multi-destination trips. The TMC is required to consider the company’s travel policy controls in all booking processes, many of which may happen due to unforeseen events necessitating changing flight and accommodation times during the extended trip.
Exceptions sometimes happen. “Because of extreme realities, for example, the business traveller has been involved in a serious accident and requires emergency care, the situation may necessitate travel that’s outside of the company’s travel policy framework,” says Sharon. “We will then make recommendations and act upon the company’s response.”
An experienced, reputable TMC partner goes a long way to ensure the good returns of a corporate’s employees and the business conducted in foreign lands.