Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
Business Travel Show Europe, presented by The BTN
THE INSTITUTE OF TRAVEL AND MEETINGS (ITM) is to set up a crisis management body to help companies respond more effectively to disruptions and disasters.
The brainchild of ITM chairman Jamie Hindhaugh, head of sourcing at the BBC, the so-called Phoenix Group will consist of a squad of players with expertise in different crisis management fields.
In the event of an industry-wide upheaval, such as that caused by the Eyjafjallajokull eruption, those with the most relevant experience or expertise would form an advisory team to help others cope with the crisis fallout. Speaking to Buying Business Travel at the ITM's annual conference at Chelsea Football Club's Stamford Bridge, Hindhaugh said of the reaction to the ash: "There was a real lack of clarity and strategy, and that highlighted the need for some sort of central point of reference. Agents brought in lots of staff to sit on the phones at weekends, but not one of them had any kind of strategy."
Travel management company reputations suffered, Hindhaugh said, as intermediaries waited for the calls to come in rather than calling out - to clients and travellers alike - to offer reassurance and help.
The Phoenix Group's first meeting was due to be held last month, but ITM chief executive Paul Tilstone declined to identify those involved.