There’s a new app in town for South African globetrotters with a unique mission: to serve as a lifeline for South Africans abroad. The Travel Smart app by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), unveiled at the GBTSA conference, allows users to log their trip details, activate live tracking, and receive immediate updates on local hazards. For free. This means that the SA consulate can inform you about potential dangers and intervene if necessary.
While the Travel Smart app is a game-changer and a significant leap forward, Bonnie Smith, General Manager of FCM, underscores that corporate travellers often encounter more nuanced challenges that a general consular app may not fully anticipate. “Our business clients are frequently in high-stakes situations where swift action is crucial, and any travel disruptions can have significant repercussions,” Smith says.
This is why Smith highlights the importance of specialised safety tools for corporate travellers – particularly in the current climate of political uncertainty. Travelling to new territories involves more than personal safety, she adds – it’s about understanding the political climate, weather patterns, and everything in between. While standard traveller apps provide a valuable overview, the depth and detail required by business executives call for a more tailored approach.
Specialised business traveller safety tools offer a range of alerts, for example. From handy notifications like warning you about potential strikes (so you might consider sticking with carry-on luggage) to keeping you in the loop about things that could affect your travel plans, like security issues. Plus, they cover critical and crisis alerts that get the message to travellers within just 15 minutes of the information being verified.
The around-the-clock connectivity these tools provide underscores a company’s responsibility to safeguard their employees during travel, Smith adds. The stakes are higher, as are the expectations for the safety tools and duty of care support they provide, she says. “Business travellers require assurance that their well-being is not just monitored but actively supported throughout their journey,” says Smith.
The new standard in Corporate Travel – proactive, personalised, and predictive
So, what exactly do travellers and those responsible for their safety have at their disposal as we head into 2024 – a year promising to be full of traveller turbulence? Smith highlights some of the features offered by safety technology, as provided by a TMC like FCM.
First, there’s proactive monitoring – it’s about staying ahead of potential issues, not waiting for them to occur. “We know it’s important to have systems in place that are always on the lookout for potential trouble spots. So, if something is brewing that could disrupt your plans, you’ll know about it before it hits. This proactive approach empowers both travellers and trip managers to make swift adjustments. With access to real-time dashboards displaying risk levels for health, security, and travel, you’re always in the know,” says Smith.
And artificial intelligence (AI) is playing an increasingly significant role in traveller safety, powering traveller risk reports, says Smith. She explains these reports allow you to quickly access essential details about traveller locations and schedules – a real game-changer for busy business travellers managing complex travel itineraries.
When it comes to planning future trips, analytics are also proving to be indispensable for those managing business travel. They help in formulating travel strategies while keeping an eye on upcoming events. “It’s about being smart with the itinerary, not just for one trip but for all journeys on the horizon,” she adds.
Location sharing which the DIRCO app is offering is helpful, but Smith says corporate travel management tech can take it a step further with geo-threat coordinates providing a real-time look at your proximity to potential incidents. “It’s the difference between feeling lost and being in control, knowing exactly how close you are to potential issues,” says Smith.
“With all these tools at your disposal, business travel becomes less about dealing with surprises and more about being prepared for anything that comes your way,” concludes Smith.