Confidence in uncertainty

Egencia’s clients want critical information to prepare for any emergency

Ken Kuguru, managing director of APAC, Egencia: responding to a worldwide crisis with agility and insight. Credit: Egencia

ASIA-PACIFIC - As the business and incentive travel landscape becomes more complex, travel management company (TMC), Egencia, is promoting its global and scalable capabilities to manage travel in crises.

The TMC's clients have stated that real-time information has become one of their top priorities for managing travel. Ms Tricia Lim, executive VP corporate planning, NTT, a client since 2018, said: "Beyond compliance and savings, our platform also gives us critical information in case of an emergency. In the past, we felt the pain of not being able to keep track of our people."

Mr Jonathan Davidson, manager, Travel and Expense Operations, Starbucks, said: "One of the primary reasons we direct our partners to book with Egencia is to be able to monitor their location, so we can quickly assist them if needed."

As the company owns its own technology solution, it can react immediately to deliver new capabilities as fast as in a few hours, said Mr Ken Kuguru, managing director of APAC, Egencia.

He said: "For example, we rolled out a 'look backward' capability in Egencia Traveler Tracker so travel managers can search where their travellers have been for the last 30 days to better understand if they may have been near or in a high-risk COVID-19 area."

Travel arrangements for clients also include attendance at conferences, exhibitions, and meetings of all sorts. One of its customers, a well-known UK charity, organised a global annual celebration weekend which cost some £95,000 (US$118,541).

This involved bringing in musicians and performers from all over the UK to perform. The charity used the Egencia platform to arrange the trips, and to gain visibility into their travel spend through data visualisation reports, allowing the charity to "save time and money by seeing where money has been spent, measure it against their budget and the relevant promotional or live events, and invoice appropriately, all in the same place" said Mr Kuguru.

"We have experience in worldwide travel disruptions and understand the value of keeping companies regularly informed on travel disruptions like COVID-19 to help get their business travellers safely back home.

The company's mobile app keeps travellers connected 24/7/365 with business travel consultant support.  App features include trip alerts that notify travellers of a delayed flight or cancelled booking. It also provides advice on the next step - how to help them get to where they need to be.

He believes that TMCs have what it takes to help companies prepare for any eventuality. "They have the agility, tools and insights to respond to a worldwide crisis in a way that can keep any business operational in the face of adversity.

"Even the most unprepared businesses, who thought travel bans were the only solution, can take stock now and not only prepare themselves to get staff moving again during this pandemic, but they can set themselves up to be prepared for anything the future holds."