By Jackie Visnic and Constanze Briefi

As an organization, you have a duty of care obligation to protect your traveling employees. You have invested time and resources to select your travel risk management provider as well as your travel management company (TMC) to assist in supporting this obligation, but are you really optimizing your investment? Not when itinerary information isn’t being completely captured due to booking leakage.

When travelers book with their designated TMC, travel details are passed to the company’s travel risk provider or optimally integrated into a complete travel and expense tool (travel, expense, safety and security), thus allowing the organization the ability to locate and communicate with their travelers during a crisis event. However, many organizations fall short when it comes to capturing data from all components of a traveler’s trip, especially when travelers are booking directly with suppliers (particularly hotel accommodation). As a result, the TMC is unable to capture this itinerary information, making your travel risk management program less effective.

“Nearly 30 percent of travel managers are unsure how long it would take to locate employees in crisis situations” and “60 percent of travel managers rely on travelers to reach out if they need help and have not booked through proper channels.”

Source: July 16, 2017

To find out if your program is at risk, answer these questions:

  • Are you able to pinpoint your travelers’ locations?
  • Do you know how they are traveling (i.e., air, rail and/or rental car)?
  • Do you know where they’re staying (i.e., accommodations)?
  • If the unexpected happens, are you able to locate and communicate with your travelers within a reasonable timeframe?
  • Does your travel policy provide clear, concise procedures on how business travel should be booked?
  • Do you monitor and reinforce these procedures?
  • Do you know if at least 80% of travelers use the designated online booking tool or TMC to book their air, accommodations, and ground transportation?

If you can answer yes to all the above questions, you have a comprehensive, best-in-class booking process. If you cannot answer yes to all of the above, read on.

In today’s world, no longer is it acceptable to capture data from air bookings alone; you also need to have visibility into where your travelers are staying in order to be able to locate and communicate with them during a crisis. In addition, data captured from air, hotel and ground transportation bookings can be utilized to:

  • Help fulfill your duty of care commitment and obligations
  • Consolidate and use data to leverage relationships with travel suppliers
  • Control hidden costs of lost productivity due to traveler time spent booking through multiple channels

Capturing all components of a business trip first starts with clear messaging of your travel policy. It needs to be communicated, easily accessible and reinforced with your travelers.

The bottom line is, if you are not capturing 80 percent or more of all components related to your travelers’ business trips, you are not maximizing your investment with your TMC and your risk management provider.

American Express Global Business Consulting is here to help you. We provide customized solutions and support to help our clients optimize every facet of their travel programs. Please contact us at [email protected] to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our subject-matter experts.