• 2016
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Client safety is king

Client Safety is King - Orbit's duty of care

Brendan Drury, Managing Director, Orbit World Travel Auckland

We have all seen the Air NZ safety videos and had a chuckle at their innovative approach to getting safety messages across. Even after a class at the gym recently, the instructor made a comment about putting the gear back as he would be held accountable under the new health and safety laws if anyone tripped up and got injured!

For Orbit, traveller safety is also hugely important. Most people when looking at ‘why do we need a travel management company’ will automatically jump to savings – but the benefits of traveller safety is something that should never be overlooked. Health and safety at work isn’t just for forestry, construction or manufacturing.

The Health and Safety at Work Act

The recent introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act has meant increased focus on the health and safety of employees.

A business must do all things ‘reasonably practicable’ to ensure the health and safety of employees. This means businesses need to be seen to be taking responsibility and planning ahead to manage hazards, risks, and potential harm that could come from work.

Are hazards, risks, or potential harm relevant for business travel? You bet.

We believe a good travel management company should assist you in meeting your obligation to look after your travellers.

In this regard, there are four things that I always come back to:

  1. Can you get data of where your staff are now, right now while travelling?
  2. Is health and safety included in your travel policy?
  3. Do your staff know what to do when they end up in challenging situations when traveling for work?
  4. How proactive is your TMC being with keeping you informed of travel risks and disruptions?

Orbit’s Duty of Care Programme is aimed at ensuring that if an emergency arises that may impact on a business and their travel, employers, and their employees – you can be confident that Orbit will pull out all stops to keep travellers safe and connected.

We also have a duty of care team focused on continual improvements – for example, ensuring that companies have escalation procedures in place should there be an incident or if a contact is on leave. Orbit’s bigger picture for clients would be to have travel as part of an organisations business continuity plans (BCP).

Our duty of care proposition is based around demonstrating that what we offer stands apart from the rest of the market. We do this in 5 ways.

Finding travellers

Through our client location reports and OneClick technology from Amadeus, we always know where your travellers are.

When there is any incident be that with an airline, ship, hotel etc, all nine Orbit offices use OneClick and run client location reports to let key contacts know whether they have any travellers affected or not.  If someone is affected, we then start to make contact with them and then provide support to change travel plans, help get them home – whatever is needed in the situation.

Communication comes first

Rather than just communicating to key contacts, our Alerts and Stop Press communication allows us to also let colleagues of travellers know that that there are no affected employees from their business. Take the recent Australian airport strikes, our communications were about being proactive to clients to minimise their disruptions. While with the recent bombings in Brussels – our alert communication was about being reactive to let key contacts and colleagues know if they had travellers impacted or caught up. Being both proactive and reactive with how we communicate is key.

24 hours, 7 days a week

Orbit’s afterhours service is something we are extremely proud of and don’t believe anyone in the industry offers anything similar. Based in New Zealand, you can be confident that you will be talking to someone that understands your account, understands your business, and understands travel in NZ, and abroad. As the Orbit group operate as one business, this means we have 9 offices across the country all with access to traveller details should situations arise. Personalised Kiwi service on call 24/7.

Orbit Partnership’s

Rather than just having one partner that we work with, we work with a number of experts in the fields of international medical, security and travel assistance services. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), International SOS, Healix International, and Amadeus – we work with them all to ensure our clients have the best proactive and reactive duty of care services and products available.

Even something like our preferred hotel programme supports our client’s safety and well-being. Looking for accommodation that meets minimum earthquake standards? The Orbit way will be to give you those options.

Innovation and staying one step-ahead

Technology and innovation is a big part of our business. In our technology blog we talked about this.

Our exclusive Orbit Travel App is one way we know we are making travel easier, more efficient and less stressful so will always be one way we demonstrate our innovation to our clients.

To support our various forms of client communication, a recent addition to our duty of care offering is the ability to communicate directly to clients (individuals, to group distribution lists, or to all contacts from within a business). Broadcast messaging allows us to send messages (like a text message) direct to travellers – so when a safety related travel situation occurs, we have another direct channel available to reach our travellers.

Different businesses will always have different health and safety risks – but how well prepared is your business to manage health and safety? And, how does your TMC keep you updated with travel disruptions, impacts of weather changes, earthquakes, and security threats?