The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), unveiled the Travel Smart App at The Global Business Travel Association Southern Africa (GBTSA), which is designed for South African globetrotters travelling abroad.
The app allows users to log their trip details, activate live tracking and receive immediate updates on local hazards, for free. It means that the SA consulate can inform you about potential dangers and intervene if necessary.
FCM general manager, Bonnie Smith, believes that the Travel Smart app was a game-changer and a significant leap forward.
But she warned that corporate travellers often encountered more nuanced challenges that a general consular app may not fully anticipate.
She said: “Our business clients are frequently in high-stakes situations where swift action is crucial, and any travel disruptions can have significant repercussions.”
Smith highlighted 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. 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,” she said.
She added that the specialised business traveller safety tools offer a range of alerts, from handy notifications like warnings of potential strikes to keeping you in the loop about things that could affect your travel plan, such as security issues.
Plus, they cover critical and crisis alerts that get the message to travellers within just 15 minutes of the information being verified.
Smith said that the around-the-clock connectivity provided by these tools underscored a company’s responsibility to safeguard their employees during travel.
“The stakes are higher, as are the expectations for the safety tools and duty of care support they provide. Business travellers require assurance that their well-being is not just monitored but actively supported throughout their journey,” said Smith.
Here are 3 reasons why business travellers need more than just a safety app when travelling for business, according to Smith.
Smith highlighted that TMCs like FCM had the latest safety technology that is proactive in monitoring travellers.
“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,” Smith explained.
She said this empowered 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,” said Smith.
Smith also highlighted that artificial intelligence (AI) was playing an increasingly significant role in traveller safety, powering traveller risk reports and that allowed TMC to quickly access essential details about traveller locations and schedules; a real game-changer for busy business travellers managing complex travel itineraries.
The FCM general manager said that when it came to planning future trips, analytics were also proving to be indispensable for those managing business travel to formulate 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 said.
Smith noted that location sharing, which the DIRCO app is offering, was helpful, but corporate travel management tech could 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. 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,” said Smith.