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Traveller tracking The travel management company


recently launched a Find My Traveller tool within its Gateway travel portal which has been well received by clients. Typical is the comment from Liz


Onisiforou, travel Manager at Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC. She says, “Although Hillgate has always been able to track and report on the whereabouts of our travellers, the launch of the Find My Traveller tool is of enormous value to our duty of care programme. It


provides us with the peace of mind that we are able to assist our


employees should an incident occur.” HRG Insight is another good example of innovation in this direction, with the map-based service highlighting where travellers will be/currently are, what the risks are and what the environmental impact is. The service is currently being implemented with HRG clients following a pilot phase.


“Historically, we used to react to an


event based on security and risk, but risk could be commercial such as the risk related to a snowstorm and needing to get people out,” explains Nigel Meyer, group technology and data services director at HRG. He adds that the technology is helping


it ‘go full circle’ by highlighting elements such as when travellers to the same destination are booked into different hotels. “It’s about expanding the use of the information into different fields to do with support and service enhancement rather than the tracking process,” he says. ATPi takes a similar view and Gary Hance,


the company's director of operational improvement and yield, describes pre-trip reporting as the ‘holy grail’. Hance says the company sends out more


than 2,000 reports a week with some corporates wanting reports on every destination deemed sensitive for travellers and related bookings. “A lot of people still use the system as a knee-jerk reaction but it has evolved because agents have to manage this pre-trip information,” says Hance.


“You used to get a spreadsheet in the middle of the month with the previous month’s travel but with pre-trip reporting, good account


PRAGUE THURSDAY


management and intelligent travel managers you can nip stuff in the bud. It could be safety elements or it could be an exception report,” Hance explains. KDS has also done some work in this area with its Maverick tool designed to curb rogue travel spend. A survey conducted by the company in the summer found 24 per cent of employees regularly book travel outside of the corporate solution, making it pretty difficult to keep track of them.


Even the existing technology on the market has its limitations. For example, if a traveller has to deviate from what was originally booked without updating the travel manager, or with elements such as train journeys that are not yet integrated.


Key Travel has been working to plug some of the gaps because of the nature of its clients (not-for-profit organisations such as charities) and the sort of destinations they are travelling to. The company is trying to find ways to


integrate off-the-beaten track locations which often don’t have IATA codes to identify them. It is also working with security specialist Maxwell Lucas on pre- trip risk assessment and making travellers go through an online test posing potential scenarios while on the road. On the rail front, Business Travel Direct


(BTD) has done some integration work with corporate rail booking specialist Evolvi so that train journeys are fed into the e-Travel Technologies system it uses and to ensure travellers are kept up to date with disruptions. How traveller tracking technology


evolves from here – and to what extent employees can be pinpointed – will all depend on whether travel management companies begin to see demand from corporates for GPS tracking. Such a 'big brother' approach, however, opens a whole new can of worms. More immediate change is likely to


come in mining data as well as tools being developed specifically for the small to medium-size business market with both Vibe Software, part of the P&P Associates stable and International SOS making noises in this arena.


A SNAPSHOT OF WHAT’S OUT THERE:


American Express: AX Connect service uses maps to plot traveller itineraries. Dynamic functionality can plot groups of travellers affected by an incident. A two-way communication enhancement, scheduled for launch in October, will enable managers to send and receive messages via AX Connect tool. ATPi: Developed an in-house service, Emergency Tracking System, about seven years ago but also works with compa- nies including International SOS where the client has an existing relationship. Business Travel Direct: Uses a bespoke version of e-Travel Technologies system which it says is more UK-centric. The company also recently added a two-stage security alert service with an email going out when travel abroad is booked with useful information for the traveller such as key contact numbers and visa requirements. In the event of an incident both travellers and the company receive an email with details of disruptions and who is affected. An online system enables companies to get an immediate view of who is where and any risks in the destination. CWT: The company’s Safety & Security tool uses a custom version of iJet’s tracking technology to help companies manage their responsibilities to travelling employees. The company says it can package up services to suit the needs of small and medium-sized organisations. FCm Traveller Tracking: a web-based solution with the ability to search on various criteria and locate travellers on an interactive map. The company also recently partnered with red24 for its alert service with daily news summary broken down into fi ve regions as well as a real-time alert to highlight events as they happen covering airports, fl ights and rail as well as security incidents such as protests and marches. GDS: The global distribution systems all provide traveller tracking services from Sabre’s Traveller Security Suite enhanced last year with daily alerts and risk briefi ngs, Travelport’s Journey Reporter and Amadeus e-Reporter ‘who is where?’ as well as mobile alert services. Hillgate Travel: Offers all customers traveller tracking, free of charge, through its in-house developed GateWay travel portal. The company claims to be the only independent TMC in the UK to offer this facility. HRG Insight: An interactive tool based on colour-coded maps and providing both pre and post-trip information. The tool shows travel managers where travellers are, related spend and any potential risks with information fed in from red24. International SOS: TravelTracker solution from Travel Security Services, a joint venture between International SOS and Control Risks. Key Travel: It uses the Anvil system, which it says is fl exible, but is currently looking at various options with a view to integrating traveller tracking into its service more holistically and reduce related costs for all clients.


KRAKOW


THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE 57


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