Lots of businesses start small, some grow rapidly others at a steadier pace, but in the excitement of growing a successful business, putting business travel processes in place probably isn’t at the top of a new business owner’s to do list! In reality, this is probably fine when there are only a handful of employees, each in regular contact about their activities, but what happens when the number of employees grows? All of a sudden you’ve got employees travelling on business and no way of knowing where they’re going, where they are and when they’re coming home?
Why is this important you may ask? We’re not suggesting you start stalking your employees out of curiosity, but businesses have a legal obligation to provide duty of care to their employees and this means looking out for them when it comes to business travel.
Here are some top tips on how to prepare your travellers for travel, support them while they’re away and mitigate any risks to keep them safe while they’re on the road.
#1 – Make sure travellers are prepared for their trip and destination
If your travellers arrange their own business travel, make sure you have a documented process that notifies the relevant people within your organisation that the trip has been booked. If you don’t know where your travellers are going and when, you can’t help them prepare for their trip. This is even more important today when travel advice changes daily, travellers shouldn’t be complacent just because they have visited the destination before. If you’re using a travel management company, ask them how they can help support your travellers before they travel.
#2 – Make sure their trip is recorded via the proper channels
If you use a travel management company, you should have management information that shows who is travelling where and when, you may even have access to traveller tracking software that shows you this data in real time. In the absence of a business travel agency, it’s important that you keep your own business travel records so you can locate travellers when you need to. For example, if there is an incident, you’ll want to check if any of your travellers were in the area at the time. If you use a travel management company, ask them about their traveller tracking tools.
#3 – Make sure they have support 24 hours a day
If your travellers need help while they’re away, who can they contact 24 hours a day to help them? It’s important that travellers feel someone is there for them, even if it’s at four in the morning! If you’re using a travel management company, you should have access to a round the clock service, seven days a week. If you’re managing things in-house, make sure travellers know who to call when they need support, there’s nothing worse that being stuck in another country than feeling that you’ve got to figure it all out for yourself when you’re there on behalf of the company.
#4 – Make sure you can keep them updated of any risks
Our first tip told you that travellers should be aware of any risks before they go, but what happens if things change when they’re already there? Make sure there is a system in place to keep travellers updated of any changes to travel advice or if an incident occurs that could affect them. Most good travel management companies will provide travel or risk alerts to keep travellers up to date but if you don’t use a business travel agent, make sure you have your own systems to capture and disseminate such information.
For businesses using a business travel agency or travel management company, you should have most of the above covered already but check with your supplier if you’re not sure. For businesses managing your own travel, make sure you have a documented process to ensure you are aware of all business travel trips and put a system in place to brief travellers before they go and keep them updated and supported while they’re away.