It has been said many times: during periods of disruption, travel management companies (TMCs) show their real value. This is not news to the travel manager. It is only when unforeseen events trigger the need for companies to locate and repatriate staff do senior executives suddenly realize the indispensable role of this particular business partner.  Let’s take a closer look at how a TMC is a company’s key ally in times of need…

Providing reliable travel advisories and alerts

During periods of disruption, you need information you can trust. With travel bans and restrictions impeding business trips, actions need to be taken swiftly. Missteps can happen when hastily acting upon misinformation.

A TMC can be your go-to resource for intelligence-driven, up-to-the-minute travel information so you can confidently take action in an expeditious manner. Your TMC should closely monitor travel advisories – year-round – and provide servicing and risk management alerts from the most credible sources. This should include potential disruptions resulting from travel bans while also equipping support teams with the latest updates so they can better service travelers.

Helping impacted travelers

Corporate travel teams must quickly identify where travelers are and who may be caught up in the disruption. Without the right tools, locating employees can become an unwieldy, time-consuming operation. And if it affects an entire organization, security and incident management teams may struggle to support everyone at the same time. This is when a TMC’s risk management technology can help get stranded travelers back home safely. Using the vast amount of itinerary information in our big data platform, GPS technology, real-time flight status updates, and credit card swipe data, our incident management solution, Expert Care™, GBT clients can quickly pinpoint travelers’ whereabouts and send alerts to security teams so they can prioritize helping those who are most likely impacted.

Additionally, the solution enables two-way communication via text, email, and mobile so companies have multiple ways of reaching employees and providing assistance. Travelers who have Expert Care on the Amex GBT Mobile app can share their geolocation and tell the company if they are safe during a disruption, eliminating another worry for the security team.

Supporting travelers when they need help the most

When flight cancellations and travel restrictions create disruptions worldwide, travel companies’ telephone systems become tied up due to the swell of queries. At the same time, business travelers, all trying to cancel trips simultaneously, cannot necessarily rely on their corporate travel team for support since it too is inundated with questions.

A TMC can help relieve the pressure and frustration. Through the use of big data and client analytics, it can seamlessly identify potentially affected travelers when travel bans are announced and, through a flight disruption service like our Proactive Traveler Care™, can proactively contact those with upcoming trips and help coordinate new arrangements.

Unlike most travelers who must work directly with suppliers to get itineraries changed, our clients’ business travelers using the Amex GBT Mobile can use the app’s click-to-call or click-to-chat functions to connect with a travel counselor 24/7 for assistance.

Being your rock and advocate through the ordeal

When there’s a tsunami of trip cancellations, a lone organization may not have the supplier relationships needed to manage refunds and penalty fees. This is when a TMC, with its well-established relationships with suppliers across the travel ecosystem, can negotiate favorable terms on a client’s behalf. Since the onset of the COVID-19 situation, GBT has been in constant contact with the senior leaders of our most strategic partners, providing feedback from our client base to help inform their policy decisions. While cancellation penalties may apply for domestic travel in the United States, certain airlines have been working with us to change names, dates, and destinations at no cost. (Exact protocols vary by airline.)

Lastly, you can rely on an experienced TMC to be a steady hand and your sounding board. GBT has robust business continuity and risk management procedures in place to continue delivering a positive traveler and client experience even during periods of disruption. We have been in this business for more than 100 years, helping clients navigate the ups, downs, and sideways of this ever-evolving landscape.

We are here with you today, guiding you through COVID-19, and we will be here tomorrow when travel restrictions are eased and you increase your business travel. Speak to an American Express Global Business Travel representative today to learn about how we can help you.