'Travel Lessons to be Learnt from the Ash Cloud

In recent years, in the wake of the Ash Cloud, charity travel companies have been asked to provide more information on what solutions they have available, therefore it seemed an opportune time to talk to the wider not-for-profit sector about this.

It’s an uncertain worldRecent events have included the Haiti earthquake, Belgian rail disaster, incidents in Greece, Thailand and Jamaica, and of course the British Airways strikes. However it is probably ‘Eyjafjallajökull’ – more commonly know as the Icelandic volcano, whose ash cloud caused severe travel disruption, which is the most memorable to us.This year is no different to any other year. Every year we see a number of events that directly impact on the welfare of Charity staff when travelling. If there is one lesson we can learn from these events it is that they can happen to anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time.

Some Worrying FactsAccording to a survey, 26% of respondents had been abroad when a major incident had happened at the location they were travelling in, and 42% of those questioned said they were never made aware of the risks associated with the destination they were travelling to nor had they been provided with any pre-trip briefing.

The quest for support in light of uncertaintyThe Ash Cloud is by far the largest single event to affect travel on such a wide scale, and it brought home to us how important it is to manage travel risks properly. Many people have certainly learnt a lot from this event, which is evident from a number of people asking about travel related risks both offline and online.In such circumstances charity travel companies are often asked to supply data about which travellers are affected, where they are, how to contact them, and what they can do to help change travel arrangements. They are of course happy to help, but what happens to those travellers who have booked their arrangements ‘off contract’?Online travel retail booking sites are designed to be low touch. They keep costs down by using the least possible overheads. In theory this makes sense; but in reality, especially in the travel world, things don’t always go to plan and events like those above happen often. In such circumstances travellers are provided with little support and often need to spend time and money trying to make new arrangements.

Issues and risks associated with fragmented travel purchasingA fragmented approach is characterised by individuals within an organisation making their travel plans in isolation, with no centralised guidance, control or monitoring of how and when travel is procured.Centralisation of such a process can seem quite a difficult task, however when reviewed against the associated risks, the action is worth taking.Risks:•    No central list of individuals scheduled/booked to be travelling at any given point in time.•    No central source of information to locate travelling employees in the event of an incident.•    No efficient way to communicate to travelling employees to convey contingency plans or simply confirm their state of wellbeing.•    Inefficient methods to make alternative arrangements and recoup any refunds that may be applicable.

Working together to be better preparedIf there was another situation like the Ash Cloud would you know where all your travellers are quickly and be able to contact them? These are the sorts of questions that are becoming increasingly more prevalent in the current climate and ones which charity fare travel companies are trying to help you to be able to answer.

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I am a fan of travelling in general and enjoy sharing my tips on how to make travelling easier and more secure.


Environmental sustainability

Tourism has its own pros and cons, over-exploitation of resources is one of the risks. Very informative article on the ongoing issue.

Managing travel risks is very

Managing travel risks is very important for those who travel a lot.

Sometimes things happen that you can not quite control (i.e. ash cloud). You should prepare well for these unexpected incidents.