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Is Your Corporate Travel Program Ready For 2021?

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FCM Travel Solutions today launched a travel policy benchmarking tool to help travel managers see how their policy compares to other businesses in their industry. The tool will also give them an indication of how to evolve their current travel policy to a new COVID-19 travel landscape.

Bonnie Smith, General Manager FCM, says: “This year many businesses have implemented an interim travel policy to cope with the disruption of COVID, however as things start to stabilise, now is a good time to review your travel policy program for 2021.”

Smith shares five ways you can adapt your corporate travel programmes to the ‘new normal’.

  1. Know how to prioritise travel

There are several motivations for corporate travel—from closing deals and networking to attending conferences and meetings with colleagues, clients, and suppliers. But not all corporate travel is created equal. Withh the global switch to video calls and virtual engagement along with decreased travel budgets, many are examining the prioritisation of travel within their business.  The question to be asked is what meetings can continue to be conducted effectively online vs what meetings are truly enhanced or reliant on face-to-face.

  • Lean into consumerisation

Self-service technology and mobile-friendly applications have typically dominated the leisure travel space, leaving corporate travellers restricted by rigid platforms and tedious company processes.

But that is now changing at a rapid pace due to traveller demand and advancements in technology. An additional outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic is also that travellers across the board are seeking intuitive, instantaneous, and autonomous tools to help them feel in control and free of travel friction. Solutions like FCM’s Sam (Smart Assistant for Mobile) ensure that travellers have access to accurate information on changing travel regulations across countries.

  • Keep duty of care a top priority

Even before COVID-19, duty of care was one of the most important considerations for a corporate travel programme, and the delivery of information pertaining to safety and travel alerts a top priority for travellers. The pandemic has made many businesses reassess and adapt their duty of care policies to keep travellers safe, reassured, and informed of changing travel regulations on the ground, all in real-time.

Firm up your duty of care policies by first drafting a risk management strategy. Understanding the fears and anxieties around travel, coupled with communicating the existing risk protocols and support services, is essential to building a successful risk management programme. And through technology and automation, such as real-time risk reports and GPS tracking systems, your customers can pre-empt and mitigate risks at every step of the journey.

  • Enable personalisation for changing needs

Everyone’s behaviour has changed in times of COVID. People have become more risk-averse: they are afraid and in need of more support. To be successful, business travel policies must identify and address the varying needs of corporate travellers accordingly. 

Fortunately, smarter technology can present individual travellers with personalised, relevant results and insights, while remaining within the boundaries of the company policy.

  • Get the best of both worlds with blended technology

Technology, on its own, can only do so much. Even the smartest machines will always be lacking that very human-specific trait: empathy. A human end-to-end support strategy is required to answer for all corporate travellers’ needs. Today’s most forward-thinking corporate travel booking solutions provide a healthy balance of both in what is referred to as a blended technology approach. Implementing a seamless, blended technology approach requires evaluating the various components within a corporate travel programme—from its internal, back-end office to its customer-facing services.

“It’s important to question whether your Travel Management Company is helping you achieve the goals you have set out for your travel programme,” says Smith. “The right TMC has the insight and knowledge to guide you to make the right choices because they have a holistic view of your company, as well as the market at large. If you’re not getting this value from your TMC, it may be time to move on.”

Smith explains that during these difficult times, speed and flexibility are critical. If you’re making the switch from your current TMC provider, FCM has launched a simple and smooth implementation process that will support you and takes the pain out of change management.

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