Tuesday 31 January 2017

GUEST BLOG: How do you know your travellers are safe?

Duty of care requirements put the onus firmly on employers to ensure they are providing appropriate training, briefings and safety measures for employees overseas.

Employers should look to specialist third party providers for integrated pre-deployment services that encompass everything from basic security awareness e-learning, employee route recommendations and detailed journey plans, to information on location-specific medical care and the prevalence of terrorism, civil unrest or piracy. Employees should, where relevant, be trained to cope in challenging environments.

Whilst pre-travel planning and research can help determine if it is safe to travel and what mitigation measures are commensurate to the threat, technology solutions can help augment duty of care once personnel are in-country and employers should harness the right technology to protect their employees.

A GPS tracker may be seen by some as ‘big brother’, but users maintain their ability, through the device, to regulate an employer’s knowledge of their location. The availability of itinerary travel tracking and regular mobile app check-ins means that a tracking device such as a satellite tracker (which frequently pushes out its position) needs only to be considered for higher risk travel or travel to countries where communication systems are poor or impacted by a natural disaster.

Travellers to high-risk destinations or individuals considered at high risk of an attack can benefit from wearing a tracker that constantly sends back their location and has an SOS capability. This can reassure travellers and enable them to continue their work.

In high-risk countries, communication systems can be unreliable and GPS may be the only way of ensuring that someone back at the office is aware of their team’s movements and can pick up quickly if they have strayed from a geo-fenced area, proposed route or plan. Early identification of unexpected activity could save a life.
Remember that personnel tracking needs to be part of a comprehensive and secure risk management platform that operates an 'opt in' tracking facility and delivers not just real-time situational awareness of staff, assets and facilities in a single display, but also 24/7 intelligence about political and civil unrest, terrorism and armed conflict, piracy and maritime incidents, health risks, severe weather warnings and more. All this should be complemented by integrated emergency medical and security responses and tailored to employee locations and client needs.

If an emergency does occur, fragmented medical and security assistance supply chains will complicate and delay employee access to life-saving information and emergency responses. Seamless support via a single contact point will best help organisations to operate efficiently in risky areas.

We’re finding that the appetite for one-stop security and medical risk management, tracking and emergency responses for employees abroad is growing. It now extends well beyond the (traditionally risk-prone) oil and gas sector, to, among others, the corporate, shipping, NGO, media and academic fields.

This post was written by Chris Knight, Head of Corporate Services for CEGA, and Emily Roberts, Head of Business Development for Solace Global. CEGA and Solace are exhibiting their one-source medical and security assistance service, INtrinsic, at the Business Travel Show in February, Stand B251. Travel bookers, buyers and managers can register for a free pass.

Monday 30 January 2017


ReboundTAG is exhibiting in this year's Business Travel Show Launchpad and is an exciting start-up with an innovative product. Read more from CEO Max Rangeley and vote for your favourite Launchpad exhibitor - five of the 14 will make it to the final of this year's Disrupt Award.

The Airline Industry Finally Gets Smart with Luggage

Airlines misplace around 25 million bags every year, with many of them never seen by their owners again. After decades of stagnation in this sector airlines are finally starting to look at more sophisticated solutions. Most airlines process baggage in much the same way they did in the 1970s - can you imagine using the same computer or television that people used in the 1970s?

There are several ways in which luggage processing can be made more intelligent. The primary technology is radio frequency identification (RFID). This is a tracking technology where the microchips are powered by the actual microchip readers in the airports so they do not need batteries. RFID is an IATA recommended practice, but the interesting part comes with permanent smart luggage tags which is what we are involved in. For a permanent tag it becomes cost effective to build in multiple technologies – ReboundTAG uses RFID, NFC (a type of microchip that can be scanned with smartphones) and a QR code as well as having the unique tag ID printed on the tag itself so that it can be manually entered into a baggage system to alert the owner that the bag has been found. This means that whether you are flying through an advanced airport like Hong Kong (with a microchip system) or going on safari your bag is protected.

We have helped airlines like Lufthansa design the microchip systems used for luggage tracking. Over the coming years not only will you not have to worry about your bag being lost by an airline, but you will also have extra services built into the airline package, for instance some airlines using RFID now offer updates to your smartphone as the bag moves through the airport and when it is ready for collection.

Much of this will develop over the next few years, the great thing with ReboundTAG is that you can take control now – you can microchip your luggage so that it is protected worldwide when you travel. 

Friday 27 January 2017

GUEST BLOG: Going the extra mile - four reasons to revisit your ground transport services

A ground transport provider should do more than just get your passengers from A to B. Of course your provider will offer a great fleet but it needs to be more than just a car service. Your provider should be a dependable and efficient arm of your business; one that works with your business in the way you want them to.

We’ve identified four key factors to consider when reviewing your ground transport needs.

1. Safety
Your employees’ and your clients’ safety is priority number one when it comes to selecting a ground transport provider.

Look for a provider that satisfies all the safety checks, monitors driver behaviour, treats chauffeurs well with flexible shift patterns, has a strict car maintenance policy and invests in driver training and advanced driver training skills.

2. Communication
For a ground transport provider to work efficiently with your business, communication between you (the booker/client and passenger) and your provider needs to be slick and uncomplicated. Good communication can circumvent many potential issues. Do you have a dedicated account manager, ensuring your account and passengers are being managed in the way that fits with your business? This should cover everything from: which form of communication works for you, how you want to make your bookings, how you want to be invoiced, and so on.

Access to the provider’s in-vehicle tracking (usually via an app) can also provide details on where and when your passengers are travelling - a very useful management tool. This can also track driver behavior and provide you with reports on C02 emissions.

3. Cost and value proposition
Consider the cost versus efficiency ratio. How are rates determined? Is it by ‘passenger travelled miles’ or by the traditional ‘base to base’ formula?

Also consider the man hours gained by using a reliable provider – no missed flights, no late meetings, access to a range of management tools and reports at your finger tips  - such as bills and invoices by department, miles travelled, C02 reports and so on. This makes management reports on ground transport a piece of cake.

4. Technology
Your provider should be ‘very easy’ to do business with. Mobile and web apps can help bookers and passengers check, amend or cancel bookings, any time, anywhere. Vehicle tracking and driver behaviour puts you in the driving seat. Consider what tech is on offer and how it adds to the service you receive.

This post was written by Jonathan Dow, of Club Class Chauffeurs, an award-winning long distance national corporate ground transport provider with administration hubs in Sussex, London Heathrow, Gloucestershire and Leicestershire. www.clubclassonline.co.uk

Club Class is one of 260 exhibitors at Business Travel Show in February - register now for your free visitor pass at www.businesstravelshow.com. 

Thursday 26 January 2017


What will be the top three priorities for business travel in 2017?
  • Safety: traveller security will remain a key focus for corporates as random, indiscriminate attacks seem to have become the latest terrorism tactic.
  • Cost control:  whilst some companies are experiencing growth, business confidence could fade quickly given the general air of economic and trade uncertainty concerning Brexit, US political changes, and other global factors.
  • Legislation: we are all waiting to hear if and when Article 50 will be triggered, and what it will mean for trade. Companies may need to keep a close eye on how new legislation will impact on their business

What effect has terrorism had on business travellers?
A recent business travel survey revealed 49% of travellers feel less safe on business trips than they did 12 months ago. 94% would opt for GPS tracking if travelling to a high-risk market. 

How can TMCs help companies fulfil their duty of care? Can technology help?
It’s important that your TMC takes a holistic approach to supporting clients with traveller safety, risk management and traveller tracking in times of emergency. It’s not just about providing travellers with a mobile app. It’s also about your TMC’s staff having the knowledge and expertise to make the best use of traveller tracking tools so that they provide accurate, timely and relevant support. Many of our clients are travelling to high risk destinations, so traveller safety is at the core of our operations. Our new GoSecure™ technology is a sophisticated risk and alert portal that allows Wings’ consultants to locate travellers and send high level, personal notifications to travellers and bookers – for example telling a traveller to stay in his or her hotel due to a terrorist threat outside. However it’s also important that all parties involved in traveller safety work closely together: TMC, client’s travel manager/buyer, the corporate’s insurance provider and security firm, so that we are all aligned in terms of the crisis management process.

What can make a difference in a crisis?
  • Work with a TMC that has wholly owned and managed global offices in key high risk markets, and doesn’t just have partnership agreements with local agents, to ensure you get consistency of service
  • Also check that your TMC operates off a single global technology platform in each market where you are sending your travellers. This means the TMC can access a client’s travel records instantly worldwide which is crucial for tracking and re-routing travellers

Can most corporates reduce their travel budget?
Absolutely. Around 60% of our clients are in the energy sector. When the price of oil fell dramatically last year, many of these clients were forced to reduce costs across-the-board, including travel and asked us to generate savings of as much as 20 per cent. We were able to identify, communicate and implement vital savings for them during this difficult time, by reviewing travel authorisation, setting up new airline deals, consolidating hotel spend and changing rail travel policy, all without comprising on traveller safety.

What do you think will be the big trend for 2017?
Rollercoasters!  We will see months where UK PLC shows positive numbers and growth followed by months where business confidence will diminish and the economy could stall.

Wings Travel Management (www.wings.travel) will be demonstrating GoSecure, its new risk management portal, on stand B144 at the Business Travel Show. You can hear more from Paul East on the conference panel discussing how to build a crisis management plan.
Register for a free visitor pass at www.businesstravelshow.com