We live in a world where short form, highly targeted and timely digital communication is the norm. It is therefore probably unreasonable to expect an employee to wade through pages of travel policies and advice before they head off on a business trip, even if that is to what might be a higher risk destination.
So how do businesses keep track of and effectively communicate with ‘The Snapchat Generation’ – the younger breed of corporate traveller who is used to consuming information in bite-sized nuggets and who has a high level of sophistication and worldliness when it comes to travel?
Last year, the Global Business Travel Association’s Business Traveler Sentiment Index highlighted the importance of access to social media for the business traveller: ‘millennial’ business travellers worldwide “agree” or “strongly agree” that when they’re travelling for work social media helps them connect with friends (59%) as well as colleagues and business partners (48%), compared with 43% and 36% of global business travellers of all ages respectively.
Collinson Group’s work with corporate clients has validated that today’s typical traveller doesn’t have the time – or necessarily the inclination – to wade through large swathes of text or chunks of narrative on travel policy. To engage with a younger and/ or more sophisticated audience, improve levels of co-operation and secure their safety when travelling on business, communication needs to be timely, easy to consume and, above all else, relevant.
In recent years solutions such as real-time incident alert services, enabling travellers to keep abreast of what is happening in their destination country or countries, have become more widespread. While these are relatively instant they tend to contain generic information and are not tailored to individual needs or requirements.
When it comes to addressing this challenge of relevancy, working with clients to understand the profile of their travellers and travel patterns – to ensure that there is an appropriate response to the ‘what if’s’ that fit their company’s culture, as well as their risk appetite – is key.
It’s also about understanding the trends and listening to what today’s business travellers are saying and looking at how methods of communication are evolving to ensure that their needs continue to be met.
Duty of Care packages to protect against litigation
Travel risk management is no longer a case of simply identifying a conventional high risk security location and implementing a subsequent travel risk assessment or policy. It is also not enough to expect travellers to turn to pull static company information or interact passively with the business travel process.
The recent events in Paris have illustrated the speed at which country-specific travel risk information can shift, highlighting the importance of relevant, real-time updates as well as information that is available to employees both pre and in-travel.
Interestingly, such events also highlight the increasing use of social media and similar channels to keep in touch with family, friends and colleagues where they might be on business. In this way, social media can be equally harnessed by employers to put the onus on employees to regularly ‘check-in’ with the business.
This is often seen as an expectation of the employee or their ‘Duty of Loyalty’ to the company they work for, and such expectations might be led by incentives within the travel policy such as lounge access, swift re-imbursement of expenses or premium economy seats for trips over a certain number of hours, but only if the traveller complies with the established travel policy.
The consumption of news has transformed from daily newspapers with in-depth articles into headline alerts on our phones or 140 character tweets. Businesses can apply similar tactics when communicating with travelling employees; providing information in a way that increases engagement while keeping travellers safe.