Concur already offers a risk alerts system that notifies customers of incidents that could affect travel around the world. Now it is expanding that system to monitor traveling employees to make sure they are safe.
When a truck deliberately drove into crowds celebrating Bastille Day last summer in Nice, France, 11 Concur employees were traveling for business in the city. Company President Mike Eberhard quickly learned two more employees were vacationing in the area.
Within an hour of the attack, Eberhard had received a full report on the employees’ whereabouts. Within three hours, all had been contacted and checked in as “safe.”
Bellevue-based Concur, which develops and sells software allowing companies to manage business and travel expenses, announced Wednesday that it will provide that same type of monitoring service to customers.
It already offers a risk-alerts system that notifies customers of incidents that could affect travel around the world. Now it is expanding that system to allow customers to sign up for a service that monitors traveling employees and reaches out to them in the case of an incident.
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“There’s really a growing concern for traveling employees’ safety,” Eberhard said. “The places we may have previously considered safe have had incidents. Now it’s best to assume that all locations can have risk.”
The service, Concur Risk Messaging, allows companies to quickly find and reach out to employees who are traveling when anything from a natural disaster to a terrorist attack to bad weather occurs. The program integrates into existing Concur travel and expense systems.
It also includes an option for round-the-clock monitoring services, provided by new Concur partner, HX Global, an international travel-assistance company. When an incident occurs, the monitoring system will locate an employee and reach out to them via email or text message. If the employee doesn’t respond quickly, an HX Global worker will make calls to try to reach them.
Concur assigns a level of risk to each incident, finds and contacts affected employees and delivers a full report to the employer within an hour.
Concur has a good idea where to find employees while they’re traveling, Eberhard said, using everything from hotel reservations to restaurant receipts that have been entered into its expense system.
“We believe Concur has the richest data set on traveling employee locations,” he said.
Keeping on top of travel alerts is going to continue to be a focus for the company, said Eberhard, who stepped into the role of president in November. The next steps will be finding ways to gather more data on where employees actually are while traveling, not just where they plan to be.
Eberhard knows first hand how important it is to get immediate assistance while traveling. While working for Concur across Asia, he traveled about 350,000 miles a year.
“I’ve actually been one of those business travelers that fell ill outside my own country and have been in a city during civil unrest,” he said. “I know what it’s like to be in risky situations on business trips at a time when my corporate headquarters is asleep in a different time zone.”
Concur has already had success with its risk alerts — 150,000 customers were signed up to receive travel alerts in January 2016; by December, 1.3 million had joined the system.
Alerts will encompass incidents that could affect visas as well, Eberhard said, including something like the travel ban signed earlier this year by President Donald Trump.