Travel buyers can significantly improve their company's bottom line by having an effective travel risk management programme (TRM) in place, according to Shelby LeMaire, travel manager at technology development firm iRobot.
Speaking at the GBTA conference in Orlando, LeMaire said buyers should have no issue with convincing their senior management team about the ROI (return on investment) from implementing a TRM.
She said the savings made through responding, recovering and dealing with legal issues if a problem to a traveller occurs will mean your policy will have “no problem” getting approved by those at the top.
“With a properly put together TRM you will improve employee morale, mitigate and minimise liability and also ensure the significant threat to business continuity and cost is removed,” said LeMaire. “No TRM is going to avoid all risk but will lessen impact of those that occur.”
However, LeMaire, who helped design the TRM at iRobot and her former company Polaroid, said traveller engagement is “critical to the success of the programme”.
“Companies that invest in engagement will have a much higher compliance,” she said. “I can't say it enough, train your employees so they can use the TRM tools and technologies effectively and develop a structured process for travellers to use for travel-related questions or emergency procedures.”
LeMaire said that many companies don't know what a TRM should look like and this has “created a stumbling block” for themselves and their business.
She also pointed to research from BCD Travel published earlier this year showing that 90 per cent of travel managers see safety as just as important as cost and savings but only 50 per cent of companies offered risk management strategies.
LeMaire said informing your travellers about the TRM isn't about “panicking” them, it's to “safeguard and make them safe and also more productive”.
“The best plan in the world is to go not go anywhere if you can't convince your 'C-levels' of the importance of the programme,” LeMaire added.
Also speaking on the panel was Kathy Bedell, senior VP at BCD Travel, who reiterated the important role the TMC can play in developing a TRM.
“TMCs have experience and resources and data analytics,” said Bedell. “A TRM can't be looked at in a vacuum, it must be up-to-date and constantly changed to deal with differing world situations. If travellers are not engaged then your data will be flawed.”