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How to manage business travel during transport strike action

Reed & Mackay Hall: BTSE Stand: K50
How to manage business travel during transport strike action

For example, last year saw some of Europe’s largest airports being impacted by airline, airport and border force staff strikes, while strike action was simmering among airline workers in the US.

“2023 was a challenging year with strike action,” Reed & Mackay Incident Management Unit (IMU) Lead Michelle Harrison says. “Economic pressures and high inflation levels caused workers in many industries to request pay rises, which if refused, led to strikes.


“UK rail strikes have been a regular occurrence over the last year and have continued into 2024. We have also seen nationwide multi-sector strikes in France over the government’s decision to raise the retirement age,” Harrison adds.

With strikes planned and more expected throughout 2024, Harrison delves into how travel management companies (TMCs) can help minimise the disruption of strike action on travellers.

How can a TMC help minimise disruption for travellers during transport strikes?

TMCs have an extensive network of partners, which allows them to monitor strike developments in real-time. They proactively share updates with travellers and offer support in rearranging travel plans if original itineraries have been impacted. Their strong relationships with suppliers enables them to secure more flexible booking policies. This allows them to make last-minute updates to travel arrangements if needed.

Their 24/7 support ensures they provide immediate assistance to travellers who are stranded in transit. Additionally, traveller tracking tools enable organisations to view the exact location of their travellers. Organisations can therefore identify affected travellers and ensure their safety during times of disruption.

What process does Reed & Mackay have in place to support travellers during strikes?

As a global TMC, we have a network of robust processes in place to ensure business travel during strike action can remain on the move. Our global IMU team monitors news feeds 24/7/365, including communications from our suppliers. This allows us to remain up to date and aware of strikes as far in advance as possible.

Strike alerts are shared with the Operations team, which informs clients and helps adjust travel plans if necessary. We are proud that 94% of the time we contact clients informing them of updates before they reach out to us.

How does Reed & Mackay communicate updates and alerts with travellers during strike action?

Travellers who have signed up, receive alerts and reports via our proprietary technology. These reports are also distributed to our Operations team so they can share updates directly with clients. Updated alerts are shared when there is a change in the situation, for example, if a strike is cancelled. We also share a Travel Update newsletter twice weekly with clients informing them of the latest developments.

What developments are being made to support travellers throughout 2024?

We’re continuing to enhance IMU reporting. These initiatives will continue to streamline the communication process, enhancing the efficiency of sharing information with clients to minimise the disruptions caused by travel strikes.

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