In today’s landscape of business travel, the definition of duty of care is evolving like never before. Conventionally, duty of care has been taken at face value, simply focusing on keeping travelers safe and seeing them home. Today that alone no longer fits the bill. In light of COVID-19, duty of care is developing into a new concept all its own.
Caring for the Traveler
This is the more traditional view of duty of care, familiar to many and under careful consideration by many given current travel disruptions. At its core, caring for the traveler centers on the traveler’s individual welfare. For instance, if a traveler falls ill during a trip, the team back home can remain in communication through the travel management company (TMC) and travel counselor. Similarly, if a traveler misses a connection or becomes stranded by a last-minute cancellation, the TMC and travel counselor can connect with them and work out a solution. Likewise, if the traveler is scheduled to take flight during a travel advisory, the TMC and travel counselor can offer guidance or alternative scheduling.
Caring for What the Traveler Cares About
This aspect of duty of care is a newer component. It’s not enough to simply care about the traveler. Now, companies are expected to go above and beyond. A recent study conducted by American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) revealed that several facets of travel that travelers care most about are the autonomy over their trips and the impact of their travel decisions on the greater environment. These ideals can easily be applied to situations we’re seeing today, such as, empowering travelers to make decisions not to take a trip when it is deemed unsafe, unnecessary, or contributes to situations that jeopardize the common good.
Travelers expect their companies and TMCs to care about the individual aspects of travel that are important to them. If they are not considered, then travelers are incentivized to venture outside the established travel program to verify that the options they’re being offered best align with their beliefs and wishes. While this benefits the traveler in the short term, it is to the detriment of the company who cannot adequately care for the traveler when they book outside the TMC.
Caring for the People Who Care for the Traveler
This angle of duty of care is perhaps the most unconventional. Duty of care now encompasses caring for those that care for the traveler. Often this is the travel counselor. At GBT, we have a strong force of travel counselors. As an industry, we cannot expect travel counselors to transition into the all-encompassing role of caring for the traveler and caring for what the traveler cares about without the proper tools. We’re tackling this by looking at our technology infrastructure. This enables us to redefine care at the intersection of technology and a human touch.
Overall, this is just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to traveler care. Learn more about how technology is redefining traveler welfare with the exclusive webinar, Redefining Care for the Modern Business Traveler, Marilyn Markham, Director of Product and Care Strategy at American Express GBT, speaks candidly and dives into how technology is currently changing the continuum of care.
Click here to view the on-demand webinar.