Kathy Hall-Zientek, manager of travel services for East Aurora, N.Y.–based Moog Inc., is no stranger to travel emergencies. She has navigated everything from plane crashes to hotel bombings to employee injuries for her travelers at Moog in order to ensure the safety of the staff. Here is the process she embarks on as soon as an alert comes in.
1. Get instant notification: An e-mail notification from Moog’s risk-management company, International SOS, alerts Hall-Zientek that an incident has occurred. “The minute I get that e-mail, I run a report through [the company’s tracking software] that tells me exactly how many travelers are in the affected area.”
2. Inform management: Next Hall-Zientek notifies senior management that the company has travelers who may be affected by the emergency. She also informs each traveler’s direct manager as well as her corporate health and safety department.
3. Interact with travelers: After management has been informed, Hall-Zientek reaches out directly to each traveler in the affected area—first via e-mail, then on their cell phones. “I send them an e-mail saying that there has been an occurrence in their area and to please contact me immediately,” she says. “Then I try to contact them on their cell phones to talk to them and let them know that I am aware of what is happening and that I am going to take care of them.”
4. Take measured action: Once Hall-Zientek has gotten in touch with all appropriate staff, she begins to assess the specific situation to determine a plan of action. “I go out and network with other travel managers at other companies to find out what they are doing in response,” she says. “I want to find out if they are bringing their travelers home or if they are just monitoring the situation.”
Hall-Zientek says she uses the National Business Travel Association’s listserv to network with her peers and ask others how they are handling a particular crisis. “You don’t want to overreact,” she explains. “You get an idea of what other companies are doing so that you can make an educated decision and follow best practices. I get as much information as I can about how severe a situation is before taking action.”
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