In a survey to its members earlier this week, the Association of Corporate Travel Executives found that the vast majority had been affected by the ongoing eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano. Nineteen percent of the member respondents cited stranded travelers as their primary concern, while 11 percent have had to cancel meetings. Twenty-two percent were dealing with a combination of stranded travelers, canceled meetings, reduced sales calls, and increased expenses. Only 11 percent said they were not affected at all.

“The unanticipated loss of air service for hundreds of thousands of business travelers has played out in dramatic fashion,” said UK–based ACTE President-Elect Chris Crowley (who is currently stranded in the United States). “Travel management resources are being stretched to the limit as every effort is being made to return travelers to their families. ACTE members--travel managers, travel agents, travel management companies and suppliers in 82 countries—have been working 24 hours a day since the middle of last week to bring people home.”

Budgets also have been hit hard, which could have repercussions on travel spending later in the year. When asked this question--“Would the cost of this crisis force your company to travel less in 2010?”--76 percent responded no, but 22 percent were unsure.

The survey is proof that more companies need to have stronger crisis management plans in place. Only 47 percent of respondents said they had an existing plan to accommodate stranded travelers, and 29 percent had none at all, with the remainder having some only some strategies in place.

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