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Using data to track down your travelers


If you were looking at a map right now, could you pinpoint your people?

Sure, you could get close with some of your travelers, but do you know exactly where all of them are as you read this? Could you call them? Could you warn them of an impending travel delay or political protest that’s turned violent?

Could you get them out?

There’s a reason duty of care is the #2 issue facing businesses this year.

Locating, protecting and communicating with your employees is more challenging than ever. Popular booking sites (and even your suppliers) are competing directly with your corporate booking tool. Your travelers have more and more ways to book their trips and, those outside tools often appear easier, faster and literally more rewarding.

According to Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), 42% of travelers prefer to book directly on a supplier’s website.

That’s a startling statistic—reassuring only in that it proves you’re likely not alone in this issue. Here’s another:

One-third of travelers in the UK, Germany and France still book directly with suppliers at least once a year—even though they have access to their companies’ online booking tools (OBT). And travelers who used an OBT in the past year, 40% also booked directly with a supplier at least once in the same period.

The short story is this:

If your travelers aren’t booking through you, you’re not getting their itineraries until it’s too late—

often after they’ve returned and submitted their expenses.

That’s not protection, it’s a potential disaster.

What is your protocol if your travelers are affected by a crisis halfway around the world?

Here are a few things to ask yourself as you think about your duty of care:

  1. Do you centralize all reservation and itinerary information for all your travelers?

  2. Do you have centralized source to find and communicate with employees in their usual work locations?

  3. If employees book directly with a hotel or airline (instead of through your booking tool or TMC) can you capture and see their itineraries?

  4. If plans change during a trip, are you able to track that information in real time?

  5. Are you able to capture real-time, in-trip purchase and app location data to help you pinpoint where employees are during their trips?

  6. And what about mobile phone numbers? Do you have a mechanism to track, manage and update that critical-but ever-changing piece of information for all your travelers?

  7. What’s your plan when emergencies happen and you’re asleep or otherwise away from the office?

The data that connects you to your people is there, you just have to connect to it.

If you’re going to protect your travelers from delays and disruptions, you need every digit of data regarding their trips—regardless of where they were booked.

Wouldn’t that be nice, you’re saying to yourself, because you know that even the most refined travel programs often only track traditional GDS data—and that’s only when the trips are booked through their TMC.

There are tools and services, however, designed to present you with all the data from all your travelers’ itineraries—in real time and with risk analysis and pre-trip alerts and information. And also to monitor events when you can’t. But before you go looking, you have to know where you stand.

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