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Managing traveller risk for new destinations

One of the many unintended consequences of the 2008 worldwide financial crisis has been British companies' seeking new markets. Many of these are countries which most of us have little knowledge or experience of. Many of these trips are exploratory so companies will not be doing the volume of travel which would yield enough solid knowledge upon which to build policies.

It's not only British businesses which are travelling to new places. The world has become a rapidly changing place in which the relative safety of different countries can alter quickly.

The hazards for business travellers are growing in number and changing in nature as well as often being in new and unexpected places. Destinations that were never considered hazardous can suddenly become so; Egypt and Kenya are two examples. Earthquakes happen in California and travel to West Africa has become hazardous because of the Ebola virus.

Companies have a statutory obligation not to expose their employees to dangerous situations. The importance of traveller risk management is increasing. This includes equipping executives with relevant information before travel as well as taking steps to ensure that they are protected during their trips.
Business travellers in companies that use the "Portman Traveller Tracking" tool now automatically receive an email containing FCO country advice relevant to their destination upon booking. This will include practical tips on topics such as visa requirement and any inoculations needed as well as travel advisories which might arise as a result of any political instability. The traveller will receive another country-specific advisory with updated information three days before travel.

Companies using "Portman Traveller Tracking" can both fulfil their duty of care obligations and be confident that they will always be able to locate their executives away from the office on business trips.

All the passengers' profiles and information about all upcoming and current business trips are held on the portal. This enables a corporate travel manager to locate each and every traveller using an airline, car rental, Eurostar or hotel booked through the GDS and also to review upcoming trips.

This is invaluable in ensuring the safety of current travellers and evaluating any potential risk for those yet to travel. Filters allow the manager to look at travel to specific areas which could become hazardous. They can then make decisions about whether the travel is essential and should go ahead or if any extra support is needed.

The portal also offers managers the opportunity to send customised messages via text, email or the Portman mobile app. Because the company is in control of the communication it can send out company specific information such as "stay in the hotel" or "get home at any expense".

If the traveller responds via the app, their location can be identified on the tool's interactive map.

Locating travellers at times of travel disruption or incident is one challenge but finding safe and secure ground transport and accommodation is also an issue in emerging markets. This is when the travel management company consultants' knowledge of countries and properties can be invaluable.

Your Portman representative can tell you more about Portman Traveller Tracking. Contact