If you have business travel to London, you need to read this article. In this article you will discover why the London riots created a greater travel threat than a terrorist attack. We will examine the threat posed by the London riots and demonstrations, terrorist attacks and resulting travel delays, disruptions and changes. At the end of this article, you will have a specific understanding of the required business travel management response and awareness as to why this will happen again.
The London riots and demonstrations has resulted in one of the largest business travel disruptions of 2011.
London Riots and Demonstrations
The London riots and demonstrations have come as a complete surprise to many. It is not a unique event and certainly not unique to the UK. The scale, violence, fire and failure of the authorities is often something expected in other countries but the lack of preparedness for destinations like the UK is common and widespread. Therefore, the lack of preparedness and last-minute scramble to respond and the inability to avoid major business travel disruptions are widespread as a result.
Due to the footprint of disruption, many routes and modes of transport have been negatively affected. Simple commute from the airport, trains and ports to planned accommodation options have been altered and continuous review of hazard or threat assessment are required. Furthermore, travel support providers such as taxis, hotels, restaurants, emergency services an other basic amenities have also been affected, to varying degrees.
Travel and risk managers need to immediately identify:
Degree of threat,
Affected and exposed (inbound and outbound) business travellers,
Safe and non-affected areas,
Mitigation or eradication options,
Cost of implementation,
On-going or developing events,
Social or non-business activity,
Insurance claims and compliance requirements,
Resumption of travel criteria,
Extended event plans,
Travel alternatives (domestic and international)
The London riots have affected multiple support systems related to business and leisure travel. Any leisure travel disruptions will further compound business travel threats such as decreased accommodation options, airport congestion and increased public transport demand. Even simple actions like withdrawing money from an ATM will prove a challenge and compound the hazard/s.
The London riots have had a prolonged affect on UK business travel sector, far greater than the majority of terrorist attacks. Further affects such as planning and preparation for the 2012 Olympics will also contribute to the lingering affects.
A lack of planning and subsequent response capability by businesses could constitute a failure of duty of care, due diligence, corporate social responsibility, workplace health and safety or other related legislation.
Terrorist attacks less of a threat than London riots
With the exception of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, most have limited travel disruption and only affect a narrow band of travellers. Inclusive of the Mumbai terror attack, terrorist attacks typically have clearly defined threat elements (terrorist, bombings, gunfire, etc) whereas the London riots is a constantly changing and unclear threat. Most business travellers will be unprepared for such decision-making demands and lack sufficient experience to make consistent and safe decisions.
Most contemporary business risk management systems focus on location and plausible event threats, then seek to inform or prepare travellers for the best results to mitigate or eliminate the hazards and threats. Therefore, the bulk of business travellers will not be prepared or educated on how to respond in London, with such wide spread disruption and threats. Few will have residual knowledge from information and preparation for such events in other locations, considered more likely to be medium to high risk. Many of the supporting business travel management departments and managers will be equally unprepared and resourced.
A terrorist attack and other similar violent crimes would have a much smaller footprint of disruption, not affected such a wide business travel demographic, not affect business travel support providers so comprehensively or have such a prolonged impact on all exposed.
Routine travel delays, disruptions and changes represent one of the most persistent and probable travel risk management issues.
Travel delay, disruption and changes
Change management and the decision-making involved is one of the most commonly accepted workplace hazard concerns. This is equally relevant to business travel and business travel threats.
The instinctive and guided response of travellers to any delay, disruption or change can significantly affect the outcome of any spontaneous or new hazard as it presents. Particularly when this is the first level of response, before support options and resources can be activated or come into affect.
Travel delays have been triggered due to airport and airline workers unable to get to work, taxi drivers not able to refuel vehicles, hotels and staff overwhelmed, business travellers unprepared and convergence of business and leisure travellers upon all available exit travel nodes.
Access to information, at all levels, the ability to consume and process all the options and explore alternatives is imperative in this and similar travel disruption events. Crisis leadership will succeed more frequently than simple crisis management, to which are dependent upon timely and accurate information from all available resources.
Unfortunately, many will fail to fully understand the gravity of the events, the threats posed and respond or prepare accordingly. While many others exposed will chalk it up to another force majeure or random act that is just part of the rich experience of international travel. Courts, business travellers and peer review increasingly do not share this flippant view.
This scenario and lack of preparedness has been played out numerous times in recent history. Volcanos, volcanic ash affects, Japan’s tsunami, airport closures, airline failure and many others have caught business travellers and managers alike unprepared. This disturbing trend will continue.
Conclusion: London riots threat
You should now see why the London riots have a far greater impact and threat to travellers than you may have originally thought. We have examined the business travel threat posed by the London riots, terrorist attacks and resulting travel delays. You now have a specific plan for this and similar events and the required business travel management an
ENSURE YOU HAVE A CLEAR-CUT TRAVEL POLICY SET UP
A well-defined travel policy is an important (and cost-effective) manner of effective travel management. A specified travel policy should outline clearly stipulated guidelines for all employees with regards to responsibilities and while traveling; travel arrangements and travel expenses.
There are a numerous factors to consider when compiling a travel policy for your company.
Although cost-effectiveness is an important requirement, it is vital that you don’t jeopardies the safety and quality of travel service, as well as compromise on travelling employees’ travel needs. Offer a small variety of options that allow employees to select one that suits them the best. You can avoid unnecessary compromise even further by letting employees offer their thoughts and/ opinions during the decision-making process.
Always ensure that you always have your employees’ up-to-date contact details on hand, in case of emergencies.
Responsibility regarding expenses – personal, business, leisure etc. – must always be clearly and precisely set out.
GET A GRIP ON TRAVEL TECH
Travel planning has undoubtedly been revolutionised by the rise of online booking apps. The trouble with the increase in availability of such tools is choosing which one to use for your business travel planning.
A great option is to have a ‘personalised’ online booking tool that has been custom made according to you business’ particular travel policies and needs. Although having your own travel tech has its advantages – such as being able to increase efficiency with built in approval processes and managing your travel at any time – there are a few disadvantages that should be noted. The initial designing and assembly, as well as the continued administration, of a custom online booking tool can be rather steep. Another drawback is that all the research necessary will be your responsibility. It begs the question whether the convenience is worth the required effort and cost.
A terrific option is to make use of a travel management company (TMC). Working with a TMC means acquire an experienced travel management asset that is a devoted travel manager. A travel manager can assist you in making the best travel decisions, based on your unique business requirements. Further benefits include help with a multitude of other details, such as VISA applications; arranging ground transport; arranging Forex and taking care of travel emergencies.
The smart choice would be to use a combination of the two. The advantages of TMCs are clear and they often have an online booking tool that companies can use. This way you get best of both – the convenience and control of managing your travel bookings yourself, as well as the individual support and assistance with more complicated and/ or time-consuming processes.
ENSURE TRAVELLING EMPLOYEES’ SAFETY
Although business travel is an essential and probable part of most businesses, is doesn’t come without risks. A company has a duty of care to its employees. This means it has a legal (and moral) obligation to elude risk of injury to an employee during a business trip, as much as possible. The onus is on you (the travel planner) to ensure that all the proper safety plans and measures are in place. This means assigning sufficient travel insurance, which includes medical cover, lost luggage, flight cancellations, as well as natural disasters and terrorism and everything in between.
Employees must be informed of the associated risks of their destinations, before travelling, and need to be informed of the course of action to follow in case there is a travel emergency.
It is vital to always know where your companies travelling employees without exception. There is a multitude of apps and online tools that you can use to help keep track of and stay in touch with your travellers.
PRE-BOOK TO SAVE
You can save more when you plan ahead when it comes to making travel arrangements. Research has proven that business travellers who only book their flights a day beforehand – can end up paying as much as 200% more for their flights.
In contrast – airfares are generally the cheapest from three weeks and more before the departure date. Employing an advanced purchase strategy, you can reduce or moderate the influence of price fluctuations on your company’s travel budget. Although it’s not always possible to book so far in advance as meetings and schedules are sometimes changed at the last minute), it is definitely worth the effort in the long term.
APPOINT THE MOST QUALIFIED PERSON
Travel planning is not an easy task – it’s far more than just coordinating itineraries. The responsibilities of a travel manager range from bookings, policy management, budget approvals, reporting and handling travel emergencies. Then there’s the time-consuming task of finding the most affordable flights, ground transport, accommodation etc.
Managing your company’s travel plans yourself has some advantages, such as
According to the American Express Global Business Traveller Survey 2013 if you are a business traveller and you sat next to me on your next flight there is a one percent chance that you would engage me in conversation, so much for business going social! Whether you would want to engage me in conversation is another matter but this article is not about me it’s about the developing trends in business travel from a healthy flier perspective.
The survey was conducted by American Express in the summer of 2013 with participants from the US, UK and Australia. Approximately 500 randomly sampled business travellers were surveyed in each country.
The standout headlines are
(1) As the global workforce goes through change the Millennials are beginning to make up a larger portion of it.
(2) As a group the Millennials value a better work life balance and are savvy about it while on the road.
(3) There is an added focus on relieving travel related stress.
Narrowing in on the US market the travel stress theme is specifically in evidence.
74% of travellers said they drank extra water to stay hydrated.
48% stretched on the plane.
44% use a hotel gym.
20% avoid alcohol.
The majority use a combination of diet and exercise to stay healthy while on the road and 41% supplement their diets with vitamins.
Even if it is only implied these figures show that more business travellers are beginning to recognise and value the correlation between flying healthily to arrive well, be productive and successful in business.
This can only mean good news for the healthy flying niche. If the influence of the Millennials as a demographic block is brought to bear the way the baby boomers have done for the last few economic boom cycles the healthy flying niche and other industries will be better for it. This period in time is all the more important because we have the makings of a perfect storm. We have an influential demographic that fliers and values health. We have challenged or non existing healthcare provisions which mean staying healthy and out of the healthcare system is at a premium. We have an epidemic of Autoimmune disease and we have Globalisation and Technology which play the roles of saint sinner and saviour all at the same time. There are more people taking to the sky that before, journeys are more stressful than before and the frequent flier has to negotiate all of this while still performing at the top of their game.
Globalisation is forcing the pace of change we are experiencing. The good about it is more nations are coming online as it were, the bad is it becomes an even more crowded marketplace to negotiate. The same applies with Technology it forces change but also brings an always on and in view aspect to our lives. How we are able to harness both of these forces to enable a better flying experience for health inclined frequent fliers is a million dollar question in more ways than one.
Some strides in this direction are already being made, I would expect efforts to continue in this direction with some seriously useful kit to be available to fliers. At the moment we have a few notable players. The Napwell sleep mask, the Re-Timer sleep glasses and Valkee LED earbuds are a few aimed strictly at jet lag or sleep trouble often accompanying jet lag. On the other hand there are technologies that have a native use which can be adopted by fliers for relief of some jet lag symptoms. Brainwave Apps and Barefoot Earthing Technology products are some of these second category technologies. The Photon shower revealed at a TED talk in 2013 sounded promising but is only a concept with no firm plans for production. The explosion of fitness gadget that work with the latest smartphones or stand-alone is a curve you can expect travel related gadgets to follow. There are actually some such gadgets already in the marketplace. The AirPlus Traveller Productivity White Paper on how to manage traveller productivity used such a product.
As I mentioned earlier the most potent indictment of the times we live in is to be found in the strong currents of change caused by Globalisation and Technology. I would argue that Globalisation is increasing global collaborative work where people travel and come together on a project for the short-term. This trend is already prevalent in show business, journalism and the fashion world and even in the technology industry. As it continues to develop the need for people to arrive on form and ready for business becomes more obvious. Even without going that far the multinationals who spend large sums of money to recruit the best they can find want them to maintain their performance edge when they are sent half way around the world on the company’s business. It is common knowledge that it is no longer enough to just book a business class seat and expect the employee to arrive well.
As the travel industry players and the corporate world become more cognizant of the costs of travel related stress and jet lag, quantifying it in terms of the bottom line becomes a useful yardstick. The aforementioned AirPlus Traveller Productivity White Paper and the Carlson Wagonlit Solutions Stress Triggers for Business Travelers White Paper (which includes the Travel Stress Index tool) are two attempts to put a perspective on the scale of the problem. How the data in both of these tools is put to use is a question for the corporations individual fliers as well as the airlines and the travel industry intermediaries. For airlines at least it seems the battle lines are drawn, with the rollout of the latest offerings from Boeing and Airbus creeping into the stocks of most major players the focus is moving away from the hardware (the planes) to the software (customer service and deliverable product enhancements) this last category could potentially include any number of health initiatives to make sure business frequent fliers arrive well.
“American Express Survey Finds Majority of Global Business Travelers Balancing Work and Play While on the Road” – The Plane Facts (Infographic)
AirPlus. Traveller Productivity: How to tailor your travel policy to improve traveller performance (White Paper) PDF File.
Carlson Wagonlit Solutions – Stress Triggers for Business Travelers: Traveler Survey Analysis (White Paper) PDF File.
Christopher Babayode is a nutritional therapist and frequent flier with over a decade’s worth experience flying for British Airways on their long and short haul fleets.
New York City is one of the most popular key travel destinations for corporate travellers worldwide. The city is the center of much that’s great, dynamic and profitable in America. It is home of one of the world’s principal financial centres (i.e. anchored by Wall Street), and a popular business hub for the publishing and entertainment industry at the same time. So, it’s no surprise it features three airports, Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and J. F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). As a frequent corporate traveller you probably may have flown to one of the three New York airports at some point or another. With JFK being a major international gateway to the US, this city guide aims to provide some helpful travel agents tips for corporate travellers flying to or from JFK Airport.
New York JFK Facts & Figures
Located about 25km away from Manhattan in Queens, JFK Airport is the largest airport in the state of New York and one of the busiest business travel hubs (over 50 million travellers/year) in the US and internationally. It has six operating terminals (numbered 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8; terminal 6 was demolished in 2011, Terminal 3 in 2013). Currently, the 4th runway is under redevelopment to comply with the needs of Group VI aircraft (until December 2015 as planned so far), which may cause delays, but measures are in place to minimise them, so you shouldn’t be too much affected. With more than 90 airlines arriving and departing from JFK, various business travel solutions for flights to New York can be arranged. Points of origin and destinations include places within the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Pacific, Australia/New Zealand, basically all over the world. The airport offers corporate travellers a choice of non-stop flights to about 100 international destinations which may prove convenient for your next business trip. However, JFK is very susceptible to weather-related delays due to its position. Corporate travellers are well advised to consider and prepare for possible thunderstorms in summer, causing delays across the US, as well as snow, icing and assorted slush throughout the winter season. For the months between June and November the risk of potential hurricanes is increased.
In general, our business travel agents team advise leisure and corporate travellers to allow plenty of time for getting to and from JFK. Serious traffic incidents on the way between the city and the airport left many wondering whether they’ would be able to make it in time or miss their flight. Furthermore, don’t forget that this is America. Therefore, bear in mind that the TSA rules supreme over security checkpoints. So, take a deep breath and take maybe a book with you or something else to keep you busy. Make sure you arrive early.
Useful JFK terminal facilities for corporate travellers
In most public areas within most terminals, corporate travellers will conveniently find that Wi-Fi is available for free for up to 30min. You can get online near the ticket counters, boarding gates, designated work stations and food courts. The Wi-Fi access is provided by Boingo Wireless Company. If you need to use the internet for longer than 30mins., consider the following options: 1) $4.95 (£3.01, €3.77) per hour (pay as you go), 2) $7.95 (£4.83,€6.05) for unlimited access throughout a 24-hour period (day pass), 3) $9.95 (£6.04,€7.58) per month (unlimited access via a monthly subscription, to be used worldwide), or 4) if you already have a user account, simply log in using your user name and password. ATMs, currency exchange options (Lenlyn or Travelex), a rental phone shop, and more than 100 shops alongside various dining options are available at the terminals.
Ground transportation services from JFK Airport to New York City
The most convenient, stress-free way for travel from and to JFK Airport is to take the AirTrain. It is a cost efficient and helps you make sure you arrive at the airport in time, whilst avoiding possible traffic jams. You can access AirTrain services via the New York City subway system, which is also connected to the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). The journey from/to the city takes just over an hour. AirTrain is operated 24 hours on 365 days a year. Within the airport area, it connects terminals and also enables you to easily access car rental services, hotel shuttle areas and parking lots. At peak times the trains depart every 7 minutes and at off-peak times they go every 15 minutes. However, be clever in choosing your business travel route, as various routes make different stops within the airport. Good news for corporate travellers is that travel within the airport is usually free of charge. However, travel outside the airport is subject to a fee. AirTrain prices generally start from $5 (£3.04, €3.81). For more details on ticket prices are provided on the JFK Airport website under costs and tickets. If you travel via New York’s public transport network, then it is a good idea to use MetroCard, which is widely accepted and is worth to purchase for travel via subway, local trains, or buses. You can find vending machines for buying a MetroCard at Howard Beach and Jamaica Station. A good alternative for corporate travellers would be to take a taxi (for up to 4 passengers). Simply wait in the cab line for a licensed and insured cab to take you to your destination (about $52, i.e. about £31.58, €39.59, flat rate between JFK and Manhattan, excluding tips and tolls). The time for this trip should be about an hour. However, it can take much longer during rush hour.
Shared-ride shuttle services are a cheaper option than taxis, but can involve a lot of waiting and being driven around New York City to drop other people off first. You can find a full list of providers on the airport authority’s website. But remember to tip appropriately, as tipping (around 20% of transfer cost) is quite common and keep in mind that bridge/tunnel tolls are not included in the shared-ride shuttle services fares. Another option is to ask your business travel company to arrange a shuttle service for your trip from and to John F. Kennedy International Airport as prices can vary greatly depending on location and number of passengers. In this way you can ensure that you are travelling with a reliable supplier.
An express bus service is also available for a nominal fee from Penn Station (reachable e.g. by AirTrain or taxi). The service operates from early morning to late night, with buses running at least every half hour.
The airport is also home to several car rental agencies. Leisure and corporate travellers can choose between a number of car major rental companies including Advantage, Thrifty, Dollar, Enterprise, Budget, Hertz, National and Avis.
So, which mode of transport should corporate travellers choose for a trip from JFK to Newark and LaGuardia airports? Usually the best way to get to Newark Airport from JFK Airport is to simply take the AirTrain. However, if you need to travel to LaGuardia during your business trip, it we recommend to take advantage of a convenient shuttle bus service, using the free Route A (running every 10-15 minutes from 4:00am to 11:30pm) or Route B (running every 10-15 minutes from 6:00am to 2:00am). In any case, more details, also for connections to other airports, are available on the JFK Airport Connections page.
Hotels near JFK Airport
Hotel booking services for corporate travellers flying to New York JFK AirportAlthough there are no operating hotels at JFK Airport at the moment, New York provides corporate travellers a huge choice (from budget accommodation to luxury suites) of hotels and motels, which are conveniently located nearby the airport. Most hotel accommodations nearby offer shuttle services. Alternatively you can take the AirTrain to the Federal Circle station and follow the “Courtesy Hotel Shuttles” signs. There are telephone services for the hotel courtesy shuttles located at the AirTrain Federal Circle Station and in the arrival areas of the airport terminals ($5, i.e. about £3.04, €3.81, Service Charge for making reservations). The range of motels and hotels include the Hilton*, the Courtyard* by Marriott, Hampton Inn*, Sheraton*, Hilton Garden, Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Fairfield Inn* by Marriott, Days Inn, Best Western and Howards Johnson. The ones marked by an * are also offering conference and meeting rooms for corporate events.
In part two of our New York City Airport guide we’ll provide you with some business travel agents insider tips on Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA).
Complete travel agent services for corporate travellers flying to JFK Airport
The experienced business travel agents team at Flightline Travel Management is looking forward to hearing from you, whether you are a corporate traveller or travel manager looking for support in your business trave