Managing Travel During a Pandemic

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(March, 2020)

Managing travel in the best of times can be a challenge, but during a pandemic can by its very nature create an abundance of situations that previously were never imagined. TI has put together a few best practices for your consideration.

Duty of Care

Traveler tracking and communication is essential. You need the ability to know the location for each of your employees, and have efficient tools and processes in place to communicate with them.

  • Make sure each of your employees has their mobile phone number identified as a mobile number in their personal travel profile. Many tools, including Travel Incorporated’s EVA, automatically pulls the information from this field and provides you with the ability to validate via text the safety for every one of your travelers with a single click.
  • If international travel is growing within your company, consider a partnership with a global medical and security service organization such as International SOS to assist with local support and services while traveling abroad.

Alternative Policies

It is also important to consider altering your company’s standard travel policy or include a travel ban clause.  Most companies apply ‘guidelines’ as a suggestive approach to managing costs and traveler safety. This tends to work well from a cultural perspective, but poses challenges when trying to locate your employees that booked outside of your preferred channels. Having the ability to integrate all bookings made through a multi-channel environment will provide the flexibility your travelers appreciate and provides you with the data and peace of mind you require.

  • For those clients that are using Concur travel, we suggest you consider including the TripLink functionality which allows your employees to simply email direct supplier booking confirmations to a TripLink email box.
  • Travel Incorporated receives this information and integrates this detail into your duty of care reporting today, and will be consolidating it into your real time reporting via our TripInsights graphical reporting tool next quarter.

Evolve Communications and Open Feedback

Effective communication and corporate messaging should incorporate two fundamental components: Timely and clear information; and Feedback. It should be a two-way street.

  • After initial communication goes out to employees, there could be ongoing or even new issues that arise. Be open to updating communications, being as honest as possible. In the age of instant information, it is important that your travelers hear from you early and often – maintaining clear messaging will establish and build trust and loyalty.
  • Have a mechanism that makes it easy for your travelers to provide feedback. Feedback gives travel and procurement managers valued perspectives of employee needs and also gives you ideas on how to improve procedures or communications if necessary. While uncertain periods lend to emotional insecurity, if handled properly this can be a time to demonstrate resilience and show your travelers you are equipped and care about their well-being.

Template for Pandemic Planning

As many of our clients have never considered preparing a plan for a pandemic, TI came across a template which could be helpful as an aid for organizing your internal processes. As this is only a suggested template, you should coordinate with your internal risk management, HR and legal teams.

Pandemic Plan Template

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