Redefining Care: Care as a duty.

Redefining Care: Care as a duty.

When you hear the term “care” within the context of business travel, what is the first thing you think of? Traveller tracking? Duty of Care programmes? Compliance?

You’re not alone.

In our industry, care is often linked to the moral and legal duty of a business to keep its employees safe from harm whilst travelling. And although it is undeniably important to ensure your travellers are safe, and the business they are representing is legally protected, it often feels more like obligation than genuine concern.

At Travel Counsellors we care.

A lot.

We care about our Travel Counsellors and our clients, and about the trips we plan and design. For us, care inspires confidence. This is not just a confidence that the legally mandated boxes have been ticked, but the ability to instil confidence in each and every stakeholder that their needs have been understood and accounted for.

Care in this sense – looking after our people and our customers – feels less discussed when it comes to business travel, and business in general. Despite care being our sole purpose for over 30 years, it hasn’t always been the case outside of Travel Counsellors for Business.

But times are changing.

And it would seem that we’re not the only ones who realise the value of care.

There is a growing contingent of the workforce who are looking for increased personalisation, understanding and, in essence, care, when it comes to their travel. The NDC debate has been raging for years, alongside the rise of OBTs and mobile technology, all offering a more tailored, unique service. However, that isn’t necessarily synonymous with care, as we at Travel Counsellors for Business see it.

We want to rethink the definition of care within our industry, considering travellers’ unique needs and what this could look like in practice. We don’t want it to just be another buzzword, or a new piece of technology thinly veiled as personalisation. We want our concept of care to become understood, and demanded, industry-wide.

But in order to redefine care, we need to understand the business travel industry’s perception of this topic. Because right now, there is certainly a gap.

How are we, as an industry, defining care? What are the main associations when we talk about care? And what conversations are being had around this topic? 

Firstly, acknowledging the responsibility companies have towards their business travellers is essential. Ensuring travellers, and travel bookers, are safe and protected is vital for both the individual and the company. Technology and tools, such as traveller tracking and repatriation services, are cornerstones in a compliant, risk-managed travel programme. We’re not disputing this. In fact, we have recently added more functionality to our own technology offering, to enhance these services.

But can we really call this ‘care’? Or is this actually compliance?

A quick search of industry media and the top Google rankings for “care business travel” reveal how the majority of businesses in the travel industry view this topic; as a legal obligation or duty.

A recent study by Deloitte, claims that the definition of Duty of Care is changing though. It is no longer simply “having mechanisms in place should an employee need support while abroad” but has expanded to include both “individual and corporate compliance obligations” pertaining to issues such as immigration, tax and labour law requirements.

Whilst this certainly looks beyond the physical and tangible risk mitigation by assisting the traveller with the wider implications of their work commitments, the focus is still on legal issues and managing risk, rather than on traveller wellbeing and personalised needs.

There is clearly more work to be done. We know from our own clients that a care-led strategy can revolutionise a travel programme. And it starts with understanding that care goes beyond duty and into the personal.

If we’re to truly see care beyond the legal obligations and move to instilling confidence for everyone in the travel journey, then we need to move beyond these definitions and shift focus to the individuals – building travel programmes around the lives, needs and preferences of the individual, at all stages in the travel process.

As our CEO, Steve Byrne, puts it:

“Travel Counsellors is built on people and the way we look after each other and our customers, putting care at the heart of everything we do. That singular purpose has remained true since we were founded 30 years ago. While the world around us keeps changing, those are the things in our company that never will, and that are in more demand than ever before.”

It is clear that there is more to care than a legal obligation. By looking beyond duty of care and focusing on the individual, we can open up new strategies and innovations in our travel programmes. The dawn of care-centric, confidence-inspiring travel is here.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be publishing a series of blogs looking at the concept of care in business travel – from the current definition, to what is driving this change and finally what we believe the new definition of care should be.

Redefining Care: Changes in the Workforce

19 June 2024

Alongside changes in expectations, the second trend we believe is influencing the need to reconsider our definition of care, is the change in the make-up of the global workforce. In our latest 'Redefining Care' blog, we explore why it's more important than ever to have a travel programme that caters to the individual needs and expectations of the workforce - particularly in relation to Gen-Z travellers.

Redefining Care: Changes in Expectations

05 June 2024

Our second ‘Redefining Care’ blog, we explore the importance of taking a personalised approach to business travel – with each and every traveller treated as an individual. With expectations changing rapidly across all sectors, find out why it’s important that travel programmes adapt and evolve with them.

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