Gauging client needs

FCM Travel Solutions: navigating through uncertain times

Bertrand Saillet, MD, Asia, FCM Travel Solutions: helping clients to adapt to the post COVID-19 world of business travel. Credit: FCM Travel Solutions

SINGAPORE - FCM Travel Solutions Singapore has been operating as a regional office since 2007. It cites its travel managers as its strongest asset. They are supported by essential tools such as an in-house 24/7 emergency assistance team, mobile app, Sam, and travel risk management tools.

Sam aids clients as a personal travel assistant while they are on the road, offering a 'share my location' feature, which feeds directly into the Secure platform, alerting travel managers and the appropriate personnel of a traveller's location should the need arise.

Mr Bertrand Saillet, MD, Asia, FCM Travel Solutions, shared that for many clients, areas of concern have predominantly been focused on health and safety of travellers, and varying country regulations for different nationalities.

"Customers are looking up to their TMC to get relevant information in a fast-changing environment and need assurances that their travellers can travel and get back home (including repatriation of workers from other regions).  

"Also, customers are working on travel policies, tracking and reporting, business continuity plans, scrutiny in cybersecurity issues such as consumer data privacy, as well as the need for medical/health data reports and tracking."

Mr Saillet added that in China where domestic volume is now above 20% of pre-COVID-19 time, the largest part of the recovery comes from companies in the technology, manufacturing and construction sectors.

In addition, many pharmaceutical companies that focus on the development of new therapies and vaccines continue to have greater travel needs, especially those who are conducting clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine.

One of the factors that has helped to upkeep the relationship between FCM and its clients is its people. "Many clients have commended FCM's quick turnaround response time in bringing travellers and their families home to safety at the onset of the crisis."

FCM stressed its strong Duty of Care support in communicating accurate and timely data to help clients manage their travel programme during this period.

"Clients also value the significant consult that FCM is currently providing on a regular basis, advising them how to adapt their travel policies post COVID-19."

Some of the discussions FCM is having with clients in preparation for post COVID travel are centred on upskilling, retraining and improved application of technology products to enhance their travel programme; reviewing their data and analytics programme; education through webinars and increased communication support via industry updates.

All the discussions, activities and strategic consultative advice that FCM is providing clients with, are focused on helping them to adapt to the post COVID-19 business travel world.

The company is also monitoring micro and macroeconomic trends and situations that are high-risk around the world, which can be used as key drivers for corporate travel projections on an ongoing basis.

Besides the current focus on hygiene and sanitisation demand from travellers towards players in the travel chain including airlines, hotels and transfer providers, there will be a big focus on health and security for companies and their travellers, be it in terms of personal and physical space or cyber-security space, said Mr Saillet.

Companies will also increasingly work on a more in-depth review of their sustainability and risk management policies. "We have already started to observe more MNCs engaging consulting firms to develop these areas."

He advised that meeting planners will need to start putting more emphasis in areas such as spend and cost containment, tracking and reporting, as well as ongoing travel policy revision to help companies adapt to the new normal of business travel. "Transparency and regulations will be part of the new reality post COVID-19," added Mr Saillet.