3 in 10 (29%) travel managers report they do not know how long it would take to locate affected employees in a crisis, according to a new study by the GBTA Foundation, the research and education arm of the Global Business Travel Association, in partnership with Concur.
The study revealed that, overall, one-half (50%) of travel managers say, in the event of an emergency, they can locate all of their employees in the affected area within two hours or less. Additionally, three in five (60%) travel managers rely on travelers to reach out if they need help and have not booked through proper channels.
“Research reveals significant gaps in educating travelers about resources available to them and the existence of protocols should the unforeseen happen,” said Kate Vasiloff, GBTA Foundation Director of Research. “Failing to establish and communicate safety measures leaves travelers and organizations vulnerable. As both security threats and technology evolve, even the most robust protocols that once served companies well may now have weaknesses requiring immediate attention and modification.”
“With business travel and global uncertainties on the rise, companies today face more pressure than ever to ensure the safety of their travelers,” said Mike Eberhard, President of Concur. “If a crisis or incident occurs, it’s critical that businesses be prepared to quickly locate employees and determine who may need assistance.”
Travel managers play a key role in supporting travelers should disaster strike, which is why the vast majority (85%) of travel programmes include risk management protocols. Over the past two years, prevalence of domestic travel risk management protocols have increased to rival those of international travel. Despite this progress, there continues to be room for improvement as only three in five (62%) international travelers are given pre-travel information and even fewer (53%) are given information on local providers for medical and security assistance services before leaving the country.
Once it has been determined travelers are in an area experiencing a security threat, every minute spent trying to get in touch could be putting them in greater risk. Live personal calls (58%) and automated emails to business addresses (52%) are the most popular methods of communicating with travelers in an emergency.
Being able to communicate with employees during an emergency is a fundamental responsibility of the organization, either to ensure they are safe, or to pass on important advice. The Business Continuity Institute's latest Emergency Communications Report did deliver the encouraging news that most organizations (84%) do have some form of plan in place, although it did highlight that for those which don’t, two thirds (64%) felt that only a business-affecting event would incentivise them to develop one.