The importance of having a crisis plan in regards to corporate travel cannot be understated. Business travel happens all over the country and throughout the world and as any seasoned traveler knows, things don’t always go to plan. This risk management is an important part of any sensible business’ understanding of the inherent uncertainty when it comes to business travel. Having a crisis plan in place for a corporate travel manager or a corporate travel agent is also an important part of the crisis management plan. Crisis plans should never need to be done in the midst of a crisis and the significance of them cannot be understated both in helping to mitigate the risk as well as mitigating any cost to the business itself. So what are some of the most important things when it comes to implementing a crisis plan in corporate travel?
Define a Crisis Situation
Obviously one of the most important things when considering risk management in corporate travel is defining what is a crisis situation. A crisis situation is something that can be broadly defined as something extraordinary outside of the normal hazards for flying or travel. A crisis situation then would not include things such as a flight getting delayed because of weather or an individual needing to rebook a flight due to an accident ahead on the road that slowed down the flow of traffic to the airport. These are all parts of the normal risks of travel and do not raise themselves to the crisis level. A crisis then is something that generally cannot be mitigated in advance or planned for and something that requires immediate action.
What are some examples of what would be a crisis situation? Some things that can sometimes be considered a crisis situations would be like the airport needing to be evacuated whether due to a threat or to a natural disaster. Natural disasters like hurricanes, potential violence or unrest, political instability, or even criminal and gang threats in the area can all lead to significant travel delays or full out cancellations. Of course there are also the normal things like accidents, injury, unscheduled trips to the hospital, or sudden illness that can also all fall under the crisis category. Defining a crisis is important as determining what qualifies as a crisis will help you understand the risk management, and can help facilitate the corporate travel agent developing a plan to help with the crisis management aspect.
Corporate Travel Manager
Having an individual who has oversight over a crisis plan can be an essential element of a successful plan. If there is no corporate travel manager, travel agent or travel agency then there will be no crisis management as there is no one in charge when a crisis occurs. A crisis manager is not just a reactionary individual but ideally should be proactive as well helping to scout ahead of any travel situation to determine different economic, environmental, political, or other issues that could have a significant impact on the travel itself.
Without an individual in charge of this plan it will be nearly impossible to affect the situation on the ground and without clear guidelines already established in case of a loss of communication, the issue can just be exacerbated. This is all the more reason why it’s important to have a strong outline of what to do in a crisis plan in case communication is lost so individuals know how crisis management can be managed, as well as assessing risks involved. There are other key aspects of the plan. Let’s now look at those in more detail.
Crisis Management Plan Essentials
Number one is to make sure that there is a crisis plan and an individual who oversees it. This is of course the most important because you need somebody who can manage a crisis who is not in the crisis. Another important aspect of this is to have specific decision-makers involved. Whether this is your travel agent or travel agency it doesn’t matter but there needs to be somebody who is making some specific decisions about key areas of the crisis including safety, liability, mitigation, and next step planning. This is not all necessarily done by a single corporate travel agent but is rather a responsibility shared between several individuals.
An additional piece to consider with your crisis management plan is to make sure that you have plans for as many potential incidents as possible. By thoroughly considering and thinking through a wide variety of different crisis situations there will be a plan, a way to mitigate it, and a response forward which is essential for handling these kinds of situations. The last thing you want in an emergency is to have a generalized plan that doesn’t specifically handle the facts on the ground. By creating and brainstorming about more specific crisis situations you will easily be able to have at least a solid framework from which to base future decision-making off of.
Another important thing to do is to also prioritize what things happen when. Obviously one of the most important priorities is to make sure your personnel are safe and secure. The next would be to make sure that they have accommodations and necessities met. After they are out of immediate danger and they are taken care of, finding a methodology to move forward either out of the crisis area or how to respond to it should be the next on the list.
Each step along the way needs to have its own particular person in charge to make sure it happens as swiftly as possible. There should also be training for these types of situations among that team of individuals to make sure that they are able to respond swiftly and efficiently in case of a crisis situation. There also needs to be a designated methodology of communication to ensure solid flow of information both from the crisis area and to the crisis area from the management team.
And, of course, having corporate booking tools like TTS Corporate is a major plus to have on both the travel agency and the company sides as it gives them the flexibility to find new and fast alternatives during the crisis in action.
Having a list of all resources available during these crises as well as opportunities to improve them are all fantastic ways of making sure that your client’s business is easily able to assess the risk management, as well as crisis plan correctly. By planning for a crisis you can keep an incident from turning into a major disaster and can help ensure the well-being of your corporate travelers now and into the future.