Botswana is just one of the countries where engineering firm FLSmidth has an office © Getty Images
Botswana is just one of the countries where engineering firm FLSmidth has an office © Getty Images

How to organise safe travel to remote locations

27 February 2020

Booking travel to remote locations can be a challenge, so how can travel managers mitigate the risks? 

At Danish engineering firm, FLSmidth, employees are often travelling to remote places around the world with no hotels located nearby. Merete Minnet,  the firm’s global travel manager, told delegates at the Business Travel Show approximately a quarter of its travel requires staying on-site.  

“There's a lot of that for us. Sometimes our travellers will stay on-site somewhere in the desert. We have an agreement with [travel security firm] International SOS, and they have a tool where we can register where we're staying,” she said. 

Travelling to remote locations can also require organising air travel which would usually be out of policy, but Minnet believes it is important to be flexible for different projects 

“Sometimes we book out of policy because we need travellers to arrive in the morning so they don't arrive in the dark. If we go somewhere in Africa, we need to arrive at a certain time to be picked up by the client so there are different rules.

“We include reason codes and explanations so managers can see why it has been booked out of policy when they need to approve it,” Minnet explained. 

Remote travel was also a crucial aspect when the firm ran its procurement process for a new travel management company (TMC) four years ago. It was important to determine whether the TMC was truly global, Minnet said. 

“We are travelling to very remote places. I need a provider that knows these remote places in the middle of Africa or in the jungle in South America.

“We have offices in 52 countries, and we implemented the new TMC in 28 countries. We needed to know if the TMC is present in those countries where we really need an account manager,” she said. 

Before building a travel programme, it’s important to know exactly what your business needs, Minnet added.

“You need to know your company. Ask yourself if a global travel programme is necessary or can you do it regionally, or do you need a TMC to help?”

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