Traveller Tracking Explained
What is Traveller Tracking & Why Do we Need it?
To the uninitiated, the term ‘traveller tracking’ might sound a little Orwellian at first, conjuring up images of 24/7 surveillance and shadowy corporate figures spying on staff, but in reality it’s a handy tool for everyone’s benefit.
So just what is traveller tracking exactly and why does it matter?
Duty of Care
From the perspective of a corporate travel management company such as CTM Travel, traveller tracking is all part and parcel of our ‘duty of care.’ This slightly grandiose sounding term simply means our responsibility towards our customers’ staff, looking after their interests and wellbeing, especially when they’re out on the road travelling on business.
It’s something we take very seriously of course, and our clients know that they can depend on us to look after their employees no matter where they may be.
Traveller tracking is a vital tool we use towards this end. It helps our clients keep tabs on where their staff members are in the world at any given time, which becomes especially important at times of crisis, such as natural disasters, terror attacks or unexpected civil disruption.
Knowledge = Peace of Mind
As this recent article in Buying Business Travel magazine points out, since the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act in 2007, organisations have an even greater responsibility towards their staff, which includes ensuring they’re safe and well while travelling for business. And of course you can only do that if you actually know where they are, which is where traveller tracking comes in.
Gone are the days when we could declare a certain destination ‘entirely safe’, and while the Government’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office service can give travellers a useful overview of any hotspots, the reality is that we just never know when an incident will occur which could put people at risk.
Equally the responsibility for corporate travellers’ well-being (or duty of care) does not always sit squarely with one department: increasingly it’s shared across multiple areas such as HR, security, occupational health and management.
How does traveller tracking work in practice?
So how do we track our business travellers? Well our primary means are things like inventories, flight lists and passenger name records held in Global Distribution Systems (GDS), which are always kept scrupulously up-to-date.
Our systems give managers the ability to send messages to their travellers out in the field as soon as they get wind of a major incident which may affect them.
Traveller tracking systems mean our clients can see, at a simple click of a mouse, precisely where their business travellers are any time they like - whether they’re at their hotel, at their conference, in transit or even wandering lost around the streets of a new city.
Is ‘Big Brother’ Always Watching Business Travellers?
So you may be wondering by now if travller tracking infringes on your end users’ privacy in any way, and have companies who use traveller tracking met with much resistance or encountered any issues with this?
This depends on how you look at it perhaps, but it’s important to bear in mind that these systems exist for the benefit of business travellers. If you’re travelling for business then you’re still technically ‘at work’ even if you happen to be several time zones away from your desk, so why should you object?
Our systems are not as invasive as some, which can track travellers with ‘real-time tracking’ via the GPS single of their mobile phones and other devices.
Tracking also allows travel managers to plan ahead before a trip and identify any potential problem places, and make alternative arrangements if needed. Above all it gives you control and keeps you in the know, which can only be a good thing.
Travel Risk Management
Traveller tracking isn’t an entirely fool-proof system of course. There is still an element of risk involved. Even with the GPS-based systems, there are always going to be ‘maverick travellers’ who prefer to go off-grid and book their own travel and if their phones aren’t switched on in the first place (or if there is no network coverage in the destination) then it renders these services less effective.
Of course we also operate a 24-hour helpline for travellers who find themselves in the midst of an emergency situation. Our emergency helpline can handle any form of emergency, from anywhere in the world. The service manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is UK based.
Our Man in Istanbul
We’ve had first-hand experience of seeing our traveller tracking systems in action this year.
Mark Jeffery, who works for technology company Komori, found himself in Istanbul during a terror incident in January. As soon as we were aware of the incident he was flagged and contacted, which he was very grateful for, as he told us in an email at the time:
‘Right now I am sat in a Starbucks in Istanbul staying clear of the troubled areas… It was reassuring and positive to get your email knowing that you have an eye on me.’
Business Travel Management
Traveller tracking is just one of many services we offer our corporate travel clients.
Take a look at the full range of our business travel services and learn how we can help you travel smarter.