When we think of our mobile device, we often think of the benefits it brings—keeping us up-to-date on our emails and helping us stay in touch with our friends and family. Mobile technology and apps have, thankfully, evolved dramatically over the years.
Although it’s not always top of mind when you’re happily scrolling, distracted from the chaos of your day, one of the important uses for mobile technology is communications in times of crisis - whether that’s a standard phone call, a text message or another type of connection with friends, family or co-workers.
In this two-part series, we’ll discuss the value that mobile connectivity can deliver for corporate travel managers and travelers—we’ll explore why mobile apps need to be top of mind when you’re considering travel risk management services.
Let’s look at four key benefits of Egencia mobile apps for travel managers and how it helps minimize risk for their travelers in times of crisis:
- Traveler Tracker
- Scenario: You’re running an errand over your lunch hour. While you’re away from the office, a situation occurs in or outside of the United States where you have a number of travelers. You get a text from your VP of HR asking how many employees may be affected. Panicked, you reach for your phone and open the Egencia app.
- Why Egencia? Travel managers have quick access to functionalities on Egencia mobile app to help impacted travelers. In this scenario, you can very quickly pull up Traveler Tracker to do a quick risk assessment. You can search by city or airline for a specific date range to see a list of traveler names, itinerary numbers and view your affected travelers on a map. You can also choose to send a message via email and emergency push notifications to them directly from Traveler Tracker.
- Customer benefit: Within minutes, you can get the information you need about impacted travelers, communicate back to your leadership team, and if needed, send communication to your travelers through Traveler Tracker. If you and your travelers don’t have the Egencia mobile app installed, this process will take longer, and you may have also abandoned your errand to head back to the office to use your laptop. That wasn’t necessary – you completed the emergency request and your errand—helping support your travelers’ wellbeing.
- Travel policy changes
- Scenario: in 2017, there was an unfortunate attack on the London Bridge. Travel managers around the world likely wanted to immediately prevent their travelers from booking trips to or through London until the situation deescalated.
- Why Egencia? Egencia allows travel managers to make changes to their policies when a global threat or natural disaster hits -- without any assistance from our support teams. Changes can be made any time of day, online and from any location. Policy changes span line of businesses, routes, per diems, travel restrictions and more.
- Customer benefit: Policy changes are applied immediately and flow through all identified travelers, and custom messages can be created to provide additional information. Business travelers with the Egencia mobile app will see new policies applied if they try to book or make itinerary changes. The ability to change and apply policies in real time is invaluable to supporting travelers’ wellbeing and helping them make more compliant choices when trying to book a location that is deemed unsafe or high-risk.
- Custom messaging
- Scenario: In some cases, the mainstream news, alerts and notifications don’t cover issues or information related to your industry. Your travelers need information customized based on what’s relevant to your company or actions you need them to take.
- Why Egencia? Egencia natively delivers travel risk alerts for weather, travel restrictions and quarantine requirements via our Travel Message Center and in-product banner notification. In addition, customers can create custom trip messages for locations, or type of booking and contextual messages that appear in the booking path.
- Customer benefit: Travel managers can push important, relevant information to their travelers at any time. These custom messages can be scheduled immediately and removed on a specific date to ensure that travelers are always up-to-date. Built in seconds, contextual messages can be applied across all or some lines of business and marked as important. Rules can also be applied depending on the line of business chosen so they only appear in context.
- Travel approvals
- Scenario: You are out to dinner, away from your computer. You have a traveler on the road who is in urgent need of travel approval due to new country restrictions. You are the approver but don’t have your laptop with you. Do you leave dinner or make your traveler wait? Neither – you take action on the spot.
- Why Egencia? The Egencia mobile app isn’t just for travelers. Approvers get an email on their device and can instantly approve travel no matter where they are. There is no need to run home to log on to your computer. Open the app, review the request and get the approval done.
- Customer benefit: Egencia empowers travel managers to use a proactive approach to approvals with custom workflows that minimize approval wait times so you can keep your travelers moving. Traveler stress levels are reduced knowing approvals can be completed from anywhere and they aren’t left waiting. Once approved, travelers’ bookings can be completed from their mobile device. There’s no need to call Egencia or wait in a hotel room, café or other location on their laptop.
Technology continues to evolve, and if we take advantage of the new innovations, they can deliver benefits for our businesses and our travelers. This may mean revisiting our previous notions on how we applied technology in the past and rethinking our approach to address our future travel.
While POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) is still a very reliable form of communication, phone lines won’t always be available, nor will a wireless network connection or Wi-Fi connect reliably during times of crisis. Your travelers may get caught in a situation where all they have is their phone and their mobile data plan. With the Egencia mobile app, there are many benefits for the business travel manager, arranger and traveler that should be included in your travel risk management plan.
As we enter a new state of travel and move through COVID-19 together, we must plan for the future by learning from the past. Having your travelers install the mobile app on their device improves travelers’ access to information, giving them more confidence in their wellbeing. And, it provides you, as the travel manager, with another option for reaching your travelers and improves your travel risk managers’ plan for delivering duty of care for your employees.
In our next post, we’ll discuss how the Egencia mobile app delivers value for travelers when they are in unexpected situations.