Travel Risk Management: Are You Ready for a Crisis?

Introduction If you know that business travel is not without its risk and the potential for crisis, then you need to read this article. In this article we are going to talk about the management and containment of crisis as it relates to travellers and travel managers. The objective of this article is to share with you the collective knowledge on managing crisis and significantly improve your ability to identify and manage a crisis but also improve your business travel efficiency.During this article I am going to discuss travel risk myths, crisis management, plans and options so you can immediately compare or improve your own travel risk management system for your travellers or travel management department.Crisis by definition is something you didn’t have a plan for or something in which you are unprepared. Additionally, it can be a series of events that in concert create a crisis. Events or issues that occur, to which you have a plan and strategy, is merely an incident.Crisis Management/Leadership The first thing is to clarify what is the difference between crisis management and leadership. More importantly, which one is the more important?Crisis management relates to the response to event/s that threaten your business, travellers or travel activity. The event leads and you follow with plans, decisions and actions.Crisis leadership, on the other hand, is more about getting ahead of the events and issues to prevent, management and even contain the impact to your business or business travel activities. While management is a portion of the leadership demand, your actions and involvement lead the outcomes rather than a more passive wait and act approach with pure crisis management.Crisis leadership is the less practiced of the two, but the most significant in terms of results and reduction in risk and impact. If you take nothing else away from this session, it should be that your focus should always be on Crisis Leadership, not crisis management.Myths There are many myths and half-truths about crisis, disruption and threats within the travel management sector. Much of this misinformation has originated from travellers themselves, media, travel managers, friends and family or so called “experts”.For example, many travellers and planners are focused on terrorism. The reality is, you have a very, very small chance of being exposed or affected directly by a terrorist act. It doesn’t mean you should discount it as a threat altogether but it shouldn’t dominate your plans or processes if not a proportional threat to you and your travellers. Conversely, almost everyone overlooks motor vehicle accidents. Yet, they happen far more frequently, can have devastating affect on travellers and are the least common plan contained within company travel management departments.Travellers and travel managers must be prepared, educated and have supporting plans for any event that has the potential to delay, disrupt or harm the traveller or the business.The most common events include:
Motor vehicle accidents
Airline delays or cancellations
Airport closures or disruptions
Transport delays
Bad weather
Sickness and illness
Petty crimes
Hotel fires
Political disputes
Demonstrations and gatherings
Motor vehicle accidents within your own country can be stressful and dangerous but on an overseas business trip they can be 100 times more challenging and dangerous. Consider language, local authorities, first responder, standard of healthcare, families and support in your plans and initial response.Airline delays and cancelations. They happen all the time but they are not just an administrative response. You may need to consider safety, transport, quarantines, security threats, government response and wide spread suspension of services to overcome the issue and maintain safety of your travellers.Airport closures or disruptions. Failed systems, electrical problems, threats, weather, construction and so on can prevent you even getting to your flight. Consider the impact this has on your plans and how your traveller will need to possibly extend stay, move to alternate airport or find accommodation.All other transport delays and disruptions can create crisis when everyone no longer has access to trains, buses, key roads or even water transport. Have a plan and add it to your immediate decision making process.2010 and the commencement of 2011 has seen travel of all kind affected by natural disasters and weather. Weather and natural forces have and always will impact travellers. It does and will continue to occur. It is highly concerning how unprepared travellers and companies are for volcanic eruptions, typhoons, floods, earthquakes and general bad weather.People get sick or feel unwell all the time. This is compounded significantly when travelling. Standard of care, language, access, cost, complications, choice and numerous other location based concerns will determine just how at risk your traveller will be. A single, “one-size-fits-all” plan or solution will fail and you need to be aware of these issues immediately with the onset of an affected traveller.Crimes are a reality of any city in the world. However, travellers seldom know the risks and may be preyed upon by thieves and criminals. The loss of phones, money, and other items may seem less likely to constitute a crisis but when overseas, injured or not able to speak the local language, all these simple events can create a major concern for your business travellers. This can be amplified if you have a senior executive or a group of executives affected.Hotel fires and emergencies are more common than most people think. The immediate threat to an individual is fairly obvious but the impact that the lack of accommodation choices can create from the temporary or permanent closure of a hotel is a much bigger concern. This was graphically displayed during the Mumbai terror attacks (as extra ordinary as the event was) when most of the best/preferred hotels were now unavailable in a key part of the city. This removed thousands of rooms for business travellers and forced many to cancel or significantly alter travel plans just because there were a lack of suitable accommodation options, whether affected by the events or not.Any event that alters the political stability of a location or region or results in thousands of people out on the streets constitutes a risk to your business travel plans and travellers. They can happen spontaneously or take time to develop. The immediate dangers and the ongoing disruption can have a major impact on your business or traveller.Again, plans, preparation and thought to these issues will greatly reduce the impact and improve your business too.Now that we have removed the most common misconceptions, let’s focus on the management and containment of a crisis.Crisis management The key to successful crisis management is planning, training, plans, decision-making and adaptability.Planning Given the issues previously covered, you now have a better insight into how and why planning is important to remove the more emotive issues from the realities of real business threats and events.Planning needs to include multiple departments and perspectives to be truly effective. One of the greatest weaknesses I see regularly is that departments continue to manage the risk of travel through multiple departments with multiple plans. The input and plan needs to be unified. Depending on the company, it may include travel managers, security, HR, finance, marketing, C-suite and operations.All plans need to be continuously updated, location specific, aide in the decision-making process and modular enough have elements extracted quickly and effectively. Modern, effective plans embrace technology. Rapid, efficient access to information, along with running updates is the hallmarks of a modern sustainable plan, regardless of the size of the issue or the company.Training No plan is effective without training and rehearsal. Training, whether through simulations, drills or live, full-scale exercises are vital to the success of any crisis situation. Such sessions don’t need to be boring or overly complicated but must include travel managers and planners along with the more common crisis and emergency managers.Increasingly, training is becoming a mandatory requirement for key positions and roles. It can be linked to internal HR processes but must support the business objectives and measurable on how it reduces the risk to people, business, brand and travel demands.While the plan creates the framework for crisis decision-making, teams can learn a lot from training on how and when to adapt their plans. How the team interacts, strength, weakness, leaders, followers, limitations, tools and many more planned and surprise outcomes are possible with effective training.Adaptations No plan will completely script all the events, issues and options available for every plausible travel delay, disruption or crisis. You need to be able to adapt and evolve from the original plan and intention. This can only be achieved with planning, plans and training.Solutions So what do I need in my plan?Here is the best travel risk management content for your plan:
Objective(the single most important part of any travel policy)
References
Scope
Legal
Insurance
Finance
Reimbursements
Limits
Priority/precedence
Management Authority/ies
Situations
Procedure will likely cover:
Planning
Resources
Tools
Authority
Executive Decision making
Limits
Budgets
Training
Compliance
Pre-trip admin
Providers
Booking
Accommodation
Airlines
Ground Transport
Safety and Security
Health and wellness
Emergency
SOP/Actions on
Insurance
Travel Monitoring /tracking
Reporting
HR
Entitlements
Threat/risk levels
Shelter in Place
Relocations/evacuations
Management Authority
Review
Don’t forget your risk assessment will need to include the key elements:
Traveller
Location
Activity
Support/Resources
Response
ConclusionThere you have it. Now you know what is required, how do you rate your current plans and preparedness?You now have the most relevant issues and areas to focus upon that will reduce or contain the majority of incidents you may face your travellers will be safer, your business more profitable and your costs will be contained by reducing your exposure to expensive crisis events.We have debunked popular travel threat myths, identified the difference between crisis management and leadership, outlined plans and options so you can immediately compare or improve your own travel risk management system for your travellers or travel management department. Review your plans and make the immediate improvements.You will know when you have an effective crisis management system for your travel risk management strategy when you have little to no crisis.You may have numerous events or incidents but you have a plan, you’re prepared and your decision making is fast and consistent. If not, you have failed and you will run from crisis to crisis on a regular basis.

Is “Content Marketing” the New “Promised Land”?

Content, Content, Content… it’s the new buzz word in marketing circles these days. Since Social Media isn’t living up to its claims for many companies, they are looking for the new “silver bullet”… which now happens to be “Content Marketing or Content Management.” Is it the new found Promised Land for marketing?I would encourage you to think a bit broader and deeper when it comes to a discussion about Content Marketing. We have to remind ourselves that “Content Marketing” is actually just a “TOOL” with a Bigger Purpose if used correctly. Like many of the other traditional, digital, and social media “tools” already being used, this one can fit into the same category… unless you THINK DIFFERENTLY.Start with the concept that generally, “Marketing ruins everything.” OK, I know this will get some people’s feathers ruffled and for others of you, you will say Amen, it is completely accurate. The point I want to make is that when marketing gets a hold of “a new thing (tool)” they tend to do two things to it… over use it and use it incorrectly. Content Marketing probably won’t be any different so it will follow the same path at some point in the future… unless you treat it differently.If you think of Content Marketing as a “tool” you are missing the point and its value.There are two concepts in marketing… “PUSH” and “PULL” marketing. All traditional marketing was designed as “Push”… shoving out lots of ads and other information to the audience. This worked amazingly well in the Industrial Revolution when there weren’t any other options for the consumer to hear about products and services. Ad agencies were born and raked in millions of dollars on the backs of this approach. It has essentially died when we left the Industrial Revolution behind and entered into the Internet/Digital Revolution.Unfortunately, many people in marketing didn’t get this was happening right under their nose. Instead, they saw a whole bunch of new “tools” called Social Media show up that they thought were simply a new and improved way to “push” their information to the customer. They were wrong. The customer initially thought this was pretty cool and welcomed the new way of getting information… then marketing ruined it. They started shoving everything they could… faster and in more volume… than they ever had before. They thought this would work… it didn’t. It was still “push marketing” only using a different tool called Social Media instead of direct mail, TV, radio, magazines, billboards, and a host of other traditional media tools.The audience grew up and learned how they wanted to receive information and it wasn’t by having billions of pieces thrown at them through every channel they were on… they learned where the “off switch” was and turned off this barrage of messaging. The numbers have been declining steadily and marketing is wondering why their audience doesn’t want to see their valuable ads and self-promotional information. They really never did…Enter Content Marketing as a new way to “push” more information to the customer. It is new because it actually involves content… something of substance (written, video, podcast, etc.). The consumer is asking for this… they want to learn more but invest less time in consuming the information. Once again we are seeing most marketing groups seeing the next “Promised Land” and as such are shoving more and more “content” to their audience. The right concept… wrong execution.The content isn’t RELEVANT, HELPFUL, or TIMELY for their audience… it is just once again voluminous amounts of information… much of what we can already get by doing a search. This is where marketing stands to “ruin content marketing” as they have done for so many other forms of media.But there is a solution… “PULL MARKETING.”Pull Marketing is all about the “customer WANTING the information you have because it is relevant, helpful, and timely and so they PULL it to them… when they want and how they want.” This is an entirely different way to think about marketing. It is marketing the customer actually wants in their life because it is VALUABLE to them.CONTENT MARKETING is an absolutely amazing way to create an effective PULL MARKETING strategy and execute it in a way the customer will love. Now companies have the opportunity to truly understand their customers wants and needs and anticipate what will be helpful and relevant in their lives and then give this to them in a timely manner. When marketing adopts this mindset, they have crossed over from the old traditional “push” process and adopted a completely different strategy of “pull” into their strategy.THIS WORKS… AND THE CUSTOMER IS BEGGING YOU FOR IT.Content Marketing can be the next PROMISED LAND for your marketing and company efforts… if you adopt a “PULL MARKETING” strategy and erase the “PUSH” strategy from your brain. Content marketing is absolutely something that your audience will love and reward you for when developed with a PULL MARKETING STRATEGY. It is what they want… marketing just has to understand this and not screw it up again.What will you do as the leader of your company… the business owner and CEO? Will you allow your marketing to be done the old traditional way and lose the immense value in front of you that you could benefit from by using a “PULL CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY?” I believe the leadership team needs to direct the marketing function to be more OBSESSED with their CUSTOMERS and give them the ability to create a powerful PULL MARKETING strategy… using CONTENT as the core. Today leadership teams need to be more involved in marketing than ever before.Today it can help to significantly solidify your brand, create true differentiation, and endear your customers to you in ways your competition can’t… this is where marketing and customer obsession can become your true competitive advantage. When this happens, Content Marketing can become the new PROMISED LAND for your company… and your customers will reward you both with business and much more WORD-OF-MOUTH… and we all know this is the ultimate success for marketing and the organization overall.Will you adopt and drive a PUSH or PULL strategy as a leader of your company? This is an excellent time and opportunity to put your company in front of the pack of competitors.

3 Healthcare Marketing Secrets You Never Knew

Marketing a healthcare business is tough! the Healthcare Industry is a unique field because while you deal with the very sensitive nature of your patients’ treatment, which often frighten you, make you vulnerable or confuse you, you also work in a very scientific and avant-garde industry where treatments, tools and systems in constant evolution. Today, healthcare providers are rarely caught up in the new health marketing strategy and sales processes or respond to technological advances.The healthcare marketing landscape has shifted dramatically the past decade with the increase of technology tools, social media, and digital devices. A recent article for Socialnomics quotes Tricia Wilkerson, Senior Marketing Specialist at Conifer Health Solutions, on the state of B2B Marketing in the Healthcare industry: “Healthcare is notoriously behind other industries when responding to technological advances and audience expectations, so it remains important that marketers push the industry with smart trend adoption.”Here are some important stats to consider as you begin planning out your marketing strategy:• As of 2016, there were more than 326 million people in the U.S. Each one of them with their own personality and each one of them a potential patient.• 52% of smartphone users gather health-related data from a smartphone.• 91% of adults have their smartphone within arm’s reach 24/7.• According to recent Facebook data, the number one most asked for recommendation is a doctor or a healthcare provider.• There are 8.2 billion health-related video views on YouTube.As in many B2B industries, long sales cycles can mean change comes slowly to marketing strategy. So, to make it a little easier for you, here are some essential truths we’ve discovered about healthcare marketing. Here are the three healthcare marketing secrets and how they can rejuvenate your business:#1 Research and Define Your Ideal CustomersWhen you try to reach a particular audience, your success depends on how deeply you can guide them. Focusing on a certain segment of the market to generate and attract potential customers will not only help you polish your marketing, but also ensure that the customer association you get from your sales and marketing operations will have a better success rate.How to Reach Your Target Audience in the Healthcare Industry?If you are looking to improve your health care marketing, you may have realized that not all messages will be adapted to all audiences. Partnering with a marketing professional with health care experience is always a smart strategy. Before doing anything else, you need to consider your audience:• For whom are you creating this report?• What do they want to know?• What will they do with the information?For any organization and practice of medical care of all kinds (hospitals, manufacturers, doctors and surgeons, dentists, pharmacists or groups), the more specifically the target audience defined, the greater their capacity to inspire a positive response.Once you have identified your targeted audiences, it is helpful to gather some information about them. This information can help you determine the information needs of your audience, how you can communicate with them more effectively, and where and how you can contact them.#2 Create Valuable ContentHow do healthcare marketers develop and promote relevant content? First, they must understand the needs of clients by building insight through primary research, syndicated sources, and behavior analysis. Next, they need to create content that meets their needs, such as video, blogs, articles and supports brand objectives. Finally, promote content in the media where customers interact and share.According to a new report, 85% of healthcare B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy, but only 4% believe their programs are extremely effective.For a healthcare marketer focused on a pediatric service line, creating helpful content could mean writing an educational article on the merits and concerns of pediatric psychology. When planning to increase content production when the vast majority does not believe that their content marketing efforts are highly effective, B2B marketing specialists are potentially prepared for failure.Content marketing nurtures a long-term relationship with customers, which is critical in the medical industry.3 Tips to Grow Your Healthcare Company with Content Marketing:1. Know what your customers want to learn2. Be a healthcare industry leader3. Capitalize on current eventsThe following tips will set you up with the knowhow you need to produce better content for your readers. Content marketing is an excellent way to both position your healthcare company as a thought leader and to generate new leads and customers for your business. Be creative and offer information that provides real insight for your customers.Target Ideal Buyers with ContentCreating and sharing successful Healthcare marketing content is all about your audience: who you’re speaking to and what you’re trying to say. To make the most out of your healthcare services, you first have to define the group of people you’re creating your content for and what they’ll find useful about it. Content marketing involves creating and sharing quality content that is specifically designed to attract your target customers. If you’re not sure how to get started with your content marketing strategy, we can help! Here’s how to target your buyer persona through content marketing.• Defining And Developing Buyer Personas• Consider The Buying Team• Mapping Content To The Buyer’s JourneyThe beauty of the specific content is that it was created with a specific group in mind to enjoy and learn from the way they prefer to consume content. Without a persona-based content marketing initiative, you run the risk of allowing your competitors to influence buyers by talking about their needs and addressing uncertainties through specific content, which increases the consideration of purchases as along the road.That’s especially true for B2B healthcare marketers, many of whom face more complicated, longer sales cycles, making their challenges with consistent and compelling content creation all the more problematic. With that in mind, there is a lot for B2B marketers in other industries to learn from the world of health marketing. Be sure to always involve a specific target audience through different channels and remain relevant.

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