Although many travel managers have been able to base their organization’s return to travel decisions on CDC guidance, local government restrictions and the personal comfort of their travelers, those serving organizations providing essential services needed to devise strategies to keep travelers safe and comfortable during the spread of COVID-19.
As the Travel Management Company for several essential service organizations, Fox World Travel supports travel managers and travelers in several ways:
Understanding Traveler Sentiment
When the pandemic hit, Fox Director of Customer Experience Mia Beltran scheduled time with agents to gauge traveler sentiment. “I wanted to hear from agents the questions travelers were asking and their primary concerns,” remembers Beltran. “It was the first step in learning how we could best serve travelers and travel managers in this new era of travelling.”
That basic understanding led to Fox-developed traveler sentiment surveys. Fox then utilized the survey results to create a COVID-era traveler journey map and virtual education sessions to spread the knowledge to, and allow conversation between, travel managers.
As a webinar panelist Julie Van Oss, travel manager at a global dairy producer, talked to other travel managers about how understanding traveler sentiment and the changing travel landscape guided her to a simple way to assist essential travelers. Van Oss used technology provided by her TMC to run a future air/hotel/car report. “I take a look at where travelers are staying and I pick up the phone and call the hotel to talk to them about sanitation, cleanliness and service changes at the property,” said Van Oss. “Passing along the information to my travelers gives them confidence around what to expect when they arrive.”
Traveler and Travel Manager Support
Utilizing COVID-era traveler feedback, Fox gained insight in how to best support business-critical travelers. Organizations like Michels Corporation, a leading energy and infrastructure contractor, needed to keep travelling. “Our essential travelers are building pipelines and other infrastructure,” said Kathy Wondrash, Michels Corporation Travel Manager. “We couldn’t stop that work and needed to keep some staff travelling.”
Wondrash says key to keeping Michels staff on the jobsite was support from their TMC. Due to the ever-changing travel landscape, Fox instituted a simple traveler text notification 48-hours prior to departure reminding travelers to check travel details. And for travel managers, Fox served as a primary source for COVID-19 travel information. “The traveler notifications and travel manager communication from Fox allowed us to get the most up-to-date information,” said Wondrash. “That was huge for us because there was so much information out there. Fox’s COVID hub gave us that one-stop source.”
Gaining Value from Unused Tickets
Early in the COVID 19 outbreak, travel managers were challenged with ensuring unused tickets didn’t get lost in the chaos of never-ending trip cancellations and changes. It was especially important for organizations with business-critical travelers to discover and gain value from unused tickets
To assist its customers, Fox developed a custom airline waiver table that pairs with its best-in-class ticket tracking platform to automate the application of unused tickets for those utilizing an online booking tool. For global furniture manufacturer Ashley Furniture, this technology removed the risk of having debit memos issued while business-critical travelers returned to their plants.
Ashley Travel Manager Connie Pronschinske says that while staff travel has continued to increase, having the ability to easily utilize unused tickets has been a huge benefit for her in-house agents. “Instead of digging for waiver information,” she said, “our agents can spend time assisting our travelers in this new world of COVID-19 travel.”
At Fox, we hear you essential workers and we are here to support you. Travel managers can feel confident that throughout these times of change, you will have a solid partner to support the continuity of business for your organization.
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