Travel Execs – It’s Time to Have “That Uber Talk” With Your Business Travelers
I remember a walk and talk I had with my two middle-aged school kids. It was time for one of “those talks” so we did it while we did an evening walk around our neighborhood. My specific talk had to do with smoking. “I know you’ll want to try it. I did and I know you will, too. All I ask is then when you do, we talk about it.”
I didn’t want to relay all the health horrors of smoking if they were nowhere near picking up a cigarette as my words would have fallen on deaf ears. But to wait until the smoking habit had already been ingrained would have been too late. And I knew that if I remained silent, we’d have a never-ending game of ‘let’s pretend we don’t smoke and you won’t nag.’
It’s time to have one of “those talks” with you, as a travel executive, in regards to Uber and other ride-sharing services. Your business travelers ARE hopping into the back seat of Uber, or into a glowstached Lyft car, or Grabtaxi, Ola or other ride-sharing transportation services. I know they are, Certify in their report issued last week knows they are, and you know they are.
So are you going to talk to your business travelers about it and communicate how best to safely and wisely use these services? Or are you going to let your silent travel policy lead the way and hope that your travelers know they’re not to use such car sharing services?
I applaud many of you for already having “that talk” with your travelers. You have updated your travel policy and/or given guidance to your travelers on how to use ride-sharing safety and how to use it wisely. Your safety information includes how to ensure the traveler is getting into a bona-fide car of one of these services, how to notify colleagues/family of their location, whether pooling is allowed, how to review ratings of drivers as well as international usage. Your wise words of wisdom share how to select a service appropriate to meet your travel policy, how to deal with surge pricing and how to tip. And you’ve had internal conversations with Safety & Risk, Internal Communications and IT to ensure a unified plan, as well as conversed with your vendors to ensure your company’s needs are met in regards to safety, technology and reporting.
If you’re a travel executive who has not already had “that talk” with your business travelers, internal departments and vendors, and I know many of you haven’t based on conversations at my Executive Round Tables held on the topic of the sharing economy, today is the day to start. As you’re reading this, it’s highly likely one of your travelers is standing curbside at this moment, smartphone in hand, one eye watching the street for his/her ride-sharing car to pull up, the other eye on the app watching the driver’s turn-by-turn route.
Help your travelers be safe. Help them be wise in selecting the best choices to meet your organization’s travel objectives, objectives agreed to by your key internal groups, and help your vendors give you the information you need. The travel world is changing with dizzying speed and staying silent on this pervasive of an industry game- changer will constantly have you and your management wondering “should we be doing something on this Uber-thing?”
As for the success of my communications with my kids – neither one of them smoke today. Yes, they both tried it and for longer than I would have liked. But two-way communication helped, both for me in understanding why they did what they did and for them in understanding the reasons why I cared for their safety.
Helping craft communications your travelers will want to follow, drafting policy your organization can endorse and training your business travelers are some of the key areas my organization can help support you with. I’d welcome a brief conversation with you on how you can begin to have “that talk” within your organization to help your travelers be safe and wise before they step off that curb and into the back seat of their next ride. Call me directly at 407-758-4322 or 877-619-8930 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.