Expect the unexpected:
what COVID-19 taught us
about travel risk management

From lockdowns to border closures, COVID-19’s impact on the travel industry has been unprecedented, putting even the most robust travel risk management plans to the test. It seems if the global outbreak has taught us anything, it’s to be prepared for just about anything.

But looking ahead to when borders re-open and the world starts travelling again, how can we make sure we learn from the coronavirus pandemic, and apply these teachings to ensure travellers’ wellbeing and safety? We asked someone who’s been at the forefront at the crisis since the start, Global Product Leader for our sister brand FCM, Matthew DeMaris, to share his thoughts around the key learnings identified by both our business and our customers...

Four key learnings

1. Have a plan in place and assign clear roles and responsibilities

Responsibility for managing risk shouldn’t fall to any one person - a robust risk management team should include people from across the business. The clients who have had the most effective responses to COVID-19 formed their crisis team early and made informed decisions on how to mitigate their risk.

2. Recognise and communicate the tools you have prior to a crisis occurring   

Most travel management companies (TMCs) offer customers a range of tools to help them successfully navigate a crisis. However, in times of stability, understanding behind the function and accessibility of these tools is actually pretty low. In order to be prepared for future events, practice checking security updates and traveller whereabouts via your risk management tool.


3. Automation is key

Ensure the tools your TMC offers are powered by a reputable crisis management provider like WorldAware, to help facilitate this process. Having immediate access to updated crisis information, and the tools to easily assess which travellers are affected, can drastically cut down your response time in getting travellers to safety. 

4. Don't hesitate to ask for help   

In times of crisis, having a partner backed by people who genuinely care about the wellbeing of your travellers can really pay in dividends. When you need help, even the best tech out there can't replace the personal service of another human being. So if you need help or advice, don't hesitate to get in touch with your Travel Expert.

What have we learned as a Travel Management Company?

1. A crisis can come in many shapes and sizes

The past weeks and months have certainly put our business to the test. We have learned that technology is only as good as the experts behind it, and I am so proud of the unwavering commitment our people have shown by supporting our customers through this crisis. We have also learned that quick response times and access to clean data that we can mould into critical intelligence for our customers are vital.

2. The value of our relationships and industry knowledge   

Travel is more than just booking reservations. It’s about the industry knowledge – knowing where to go for important information. It’s the benefit of having access to WorldAware and IATA, and being able to harness those tools to support our customers – resources we have access to as part of a global organisation. Additionally, strong relationships with the airlines and hotel chains allows us to work collaboratively with these industry partners to find solutions that can benefit our travellers with speed and efficiency. 

3. Traveller health and wellness is more important than ever

FCBT has always spoken about topics such as traveller stress and road warrior retention, and I predict that additional health risk factors will play a role in how travel management companies can help clients moving forward.

What has COVID-19 taught us about travel risk management?

Our four key learnings for Travel Managers around what COVID-19 has taught us about travel risk management and the steps you should take for your business. 

Need support with your travel programme during COVID-19? We're always on hand!

Looking for more information?

With the Covid-19 situation constantly changing, our information page has links to airline policies, official advice, information on what you should do if you're concerned about upcoming trips, and resources to ensure your travellers' safety.


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