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Business Travel Travel Management Travel News

How to Support Your Business Travelers During The Coronavirus Outbreak

Originally published Feb 27, 2020 at 4:02 PM, updated March 09, 2020

As the coronavirus continues to affect business travel, we want to provide corporate travel managers with helpful tools, resources, and information to best support their travelers. For the most up-to-date information on the coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. 

CDC Travel Guidelines

The following warning and alert classifications have been outlined by the CDC. We encourage travel managers to review the warnings and make informed decisions to protect their travelers.

Warning Level 3 

Nonessential travel to these highest-risk locations should be avoided. This currently includes China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran.

Alert Level 2 

Due to sustained community transmission of the virus in Japan, the CDC recommends that older adults and those suffering from chronic medical conditions postpone travel to these areas. Corporate travel managers could also consider adding an additional level of approval for these business trips by having senior leaders review them on a case-by-case basis. 

Watch Level 1 

The CDC recommends practiving usual precaustions when traveling to Hong Kong at this time. The CDC will continue to update its recommendations on their website. Companies with employees traveling to level 1 watch areas may want to consider implementing additional health and security protocols to ensure traveler safety.  

Personal Travel 

While personal travel does fall outside the realms of a corporate travel manager’s purview, companies may want to encourage employees to travel with caution and remain aware of this ongoing situation. If an employee has personal plans to visit or has visited one of the warning level areas, you could consider having them self-quarantine for 14 days. If an employee participates in any travel, regardless of the area, and shows signs of being sick, you could also ask them to follow the same 14-day self-quarantine. 

Reminder to Only Book Within Approved Corporate Tools 

Travel managers should reiterate the importance of booking business travel within the organization’s approved corporate booking tools and enforce these policies. Booking within policy ensures you always know where your travelers are so that you can best support them and communicate critical information in a timely manner. 

Review Your Risk Management Policy and Update if Needed

Be sure you have included a protocol for an infectious disease outbreak like this in your risk management plan. Events that could trigger action include travelers becoming infected or being stranded in an infected area. Do you have a plan in place to quickly and appropriately support your travelers? 

Remind Travelers to Follow These Best Practices While Traveling 

Ask business travelers to follow these actions recommended by the World Health Organization when traveling. 

  1. Wash hands frequently
  2. Maintain social distancing 
  3. Avoid touching eyes nose and mouth 
  4. Practice respiratory hygiene
  5. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
  6. Stay informed and follow the advice given by your healthcare provider

Additional Resources

For more resources to help you plan and respond to this situation, visit the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019

BCD Travel also has a current list of airline updates and advisories by country. 

The information presented here is up-to-date as of March 9 and is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Christopherson does not give recommendations on the prudence of travel to affected areas. Our aim is to provide helpful information that allows companies and travelers to make informed decisions. As the situation continues to unfold, companies can access real-time information through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization website.

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Business Travel

Duty Of Care vs. Travel Risk Management

It’s not uncommon to see the two terms ‘duty of care’ and ‘travel risk management’ used interchangeably, even by travel professionals. They do work together, to keep your employees safe while traveling for business, but there is one major difference between the two. In another addition of our definition series, we will be defining these two terms, as well as their differences.

Defining duty of care

‘Duty of care’ can be defined as the moral and legal obligation to take responsibility for the safety and well being of your employees. In relation to travel is often tricky to define, often making it a popular subject in the business travel communities.

Businesses have an obligation to their employees to provide a safe work environment. This is mainly due to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations. It is what requires employers to cover workers compensation if an employee is injured while on the company premises or nearby. But what happens when your employees are representing your business, but not under the company roof? Is there an obligation to keep them safe? This is where duty of care gets a bit murky. Unlike workers compensation regulations, there are no defining law, rules or standards for businesses to adhere to when it comes to business travelers. Which is where travel risk management steps in. 

Defining travel risk management

Travel risk management is the course of action used to help provide duty of care for your travelers. There are no laws or regulations that tell a company the specific steps they need to take when it comes to protecting their employees while traveling on business. Which makes the process of protecting duty of care a tricky one for companies. On one hand, they can rely on minimal coverage, only accruing costs should something arise. On the other hand, companies care about their employees and don’t want to see them in harm’s way or injured.

It is finding this middle ground for companies within travel risk management plans that can be confusing. There is no one right way to conduct travel risk management. Additionally, it seems to always be evolving as advanced technology unfolds. For example, our SecurityLogic tool delivers real-time security data to monitor potential risks likes weather, airport delays, or security issues. It also offers the ability to quickly locate any traveler and immediately verify their safety with our Safe Check feature.

Anything else I should know?

It’s easy to think of only catastrophic events when discussing duty of care and travel risk management. Hurricanes, terrorist attacks, civic unrest, for example. This often leaves everyday or common risks out of the scope of your plans.  Things like food poisoning, non-violent petty crime, or minor traffic accidents are more likely to occur to your travelers than a tsunami or other major event. Some specifications can be included in an effort to reduce these more common risks. For example, if your travelers arrive very late at night or early in the morning, they are likely too fatigued to drive and may result in a car accident. Your company could include in your travel policy to provide transportation from the airport within these instance. 

Interested in learning more about other travel management terms? Check out our posts defining the GDS and corporate travel policies. Contact us to learn more about Christopherson’s unique solutions to provide travel risk management for your employees and deliver peace of mind.

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Business Travel Travel Management

The Overlooked Risks of Unmanaged Business Travel

Booking and managing travel is usually a breeze when everything goes as planned. It’s even kind of fun, right? Researching new destination cities is a change of pace from the norm. And finding a good bargain on hotel or airline prices is always a win.  Heck, why do you think we like travel management so much too? But as entertaining as planning business travel can be, most professionals are unaware of the negatives that come with it. Online travel booking sites are easy to use, but truly can’t provide the support that companies need for efficient business travel. The risks of unmanaged business travel, that come without using a travel management company, vary from minor to potentially serious.

7 risks of unmanaged business travel

  • Lacking access to travel experts. Growing accustomed to booking your own travel can be a learning experience, but you’ll likely never gain the years of expert travel tips that experienced account managers or travel agents acquire first hand. Relying on their know-how is one of the top benefits of working with a business travel company.
  • Losing out on loyalty programs, discounts, other offers. There are so many tips, tricks, memberships, vendor contracts, etc that most companies have never even heard of before.  Without a TMC to guide you, most companies miss out on serious cost saving benefits without even knowing it.
  • No framework to ensure compliance. Booking travel is one thing, but managing, reporting and analyzing the data is a whole other ballgame for most busy professionals. Having support to ensure compliance, ultimately reducing travel spend, is a major goal that most companies just can’t realistically afford to do on their own.
  • Leveraging the company’s travel spend appropriately. Instead of loosely managing, a TMC will be able to keep a close eye on your costs and any leakage along the way.
  • Comfort for your employees while they travel. A happy traveler is usually a more productive traveler. Automatically booking them on seats or rooms based on their preferences is one easy way to keep your travelers comfortable and efficient.
  • Overall management and order to travel. Keep all itineraries, preferences, and reporting in one place. No more searching through your inbox to find your traveler’s information. Travel technology, like our AirPortal Suite, is designed to keep everything you or your travelers need readily available and in one secure place.
  • Risk management and duty of care support. One of the growing major risks of unmanaged business travel is duty of care responsibility, or lack thereof. What if an emergency arises in an area that your employee is currently traveling? Staying in communication with them, and alerted should something arise is imperative in our world today. And sadly it’s often overlooked by most companies who manage their own travel.

While most online public travel sites are easy-to-use and appear cheaper on the surface, they ultimately can’t provide the cost savings, quality of service, or duty of care support that travel management companies can overall. Ready to learn more about how Christopherson helps companies stay organized, ensure compliance, and assist with risk management? Let’s chat.

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Categories
Travel Management

The Truth and Consequences of an Unmanaged Travel Progam

As I was talking to a valued client last week the question came up as to why did their company need to have a managed travel program.  What are the advantages?  Are there cost saving benefits?  Will their travelers really follow a managed travel program where they acutally had to adhere to guidelines and rules?  They expressed their doubts and concerns that anyone would follow their travel recomendations without “mandating” they do so.  They are the type of company that does not mandate.  I returned to my office and pulled up a grid that we use when comparing distinctions between Managed vs Unmanaged travel with regards to travel policy compliance and enforcement.  The grid compares the two travel programs and the  possible outcomes or should I say… consequences.  I would like to share this grid as it could help you  as it did them when putting together your companies managed travel program.

Travel Issues
Managed Travel
Consequence of Unmanaged Travel
Finding the lowest fare Christopherson Business Travel will search for the lowest corporate policy fare and notify designated approvers when a travel is out of policy. “Lowest fare” may be defined by the traveler, and not by corporate policy. 
Securing corporate discounts Consolidated data provides spend detail & improves negotiating leverage with suppliers Suppliers unlikely to grant meaningful discounts based on non-detailed general ledger data.
Risk Management Christopherson Business Travel’s AirPortal® can find travelers when a crisis develops. Corporations are at legal risk when employees traveling on corporate business cannot be accounted for.
Non-Refundable Tickets Christopherson Business Travel’s AirBank® automated unused ticket program ensures that all dollars spent are re-used and not lost. Unmanaged travelers will forget to rebook non-refundable tickets prior to travel date, and lose the full value of the tickets costing the company thousands of dollars.
Ticket cancelation flexibility Christopherson Business Travel can reserve fares on major carriers via Worldspan, Sabre, and Apollo allowing your company to void tickets by the end of the next business day avoiding the full ticket price loss and the exchange fee cost. Voiding tickets via airline websites or online booking engines is most often not possible. Once issued and the trip is canceled, the ticket funds are “tied up” and not eligible for use until you travel again. A change fee is then charged ranging anywhere from $50 to $200.
24 Hour Emergency Support Christopherson Business Travel is available 24/7 for support of GDS and tickets booked online Unmanaged travelers are on their own. Many suppliers are no longer open 24 hours.
Online Booking Products Christopherson Business Travel’s ResX, Cliqbook, and Get There are booked via AirPortal® and are travel policy based and promotes compliance through high tech high touch filtering Online supplier sites are consumer based and not travel policy compliant.
Hotel Reservations and No-Shows Christopherson Business Travel can find space in sold-out situations and often arrange waiver of no-show bills Stand alone travelers have no leverage in sold out situations and rarely can negotiate a no-show waiver – adding more costs for the company’s bottom line.
Groups & Meetings Christopherson Business Travel will insure that groups travel on group fare discounts and that meetings are budgeted at lowest possible costs. Unmanaged travelers will fly independently at higher fares and pay “rack” rate for meetings when purchased on one-off basis.