Many travel coordinators relying on standard livery companies experience growing pains as their travel calendars expand and their needs become complex. In these cases, it may make sense to explore secure executive ground solutions—a category of ground transportation that elevates safety and service standards through a combination of people, processes and technology.
Are you ready to graduate from standard livery? Although every situation is different, look for these 5 signs to understand whether or not you’ve reached that tipping point—and read on below for more.
Sign #1: Your current provider has become reliably unreliable
Reliability should be table stakes, but many ground companies lack processes, service standards, and the systems that govern them, resulting in lots of little ways a provider can fail to meet expectations. Do any of these sound familiar?
- No-show or late pick-ups
- Last-minute driver or vehicle changes
- Drivers who get lost en-route to pickup or go to the wrong address
- Unclean vehicles or drivers can’t stop talking
- Flight delays that aren’t identified and adjusted for
- Nausea-inducing driving styles
- Service failures that take weeks to resolve
These issues aren’t just frustrating—they impact travelers’ productivity, disrupt their momentum and introduce safety risks. And that doesn’t even take into account the variations that can be experienced from one geography or driver to the next. With many of the affiliate networks in use today, how is a traveler or coordinator to know what to expect, unless service standards are clearly articulated?
In addition to setting clear expectations, ensuring reliability shouldn’t be an ad-hoc process. Redundant, intelligent oversight practices can—and should—be the norm.
Sign #2: The frequency of travel—and the painful repetition of booking and managing it—has become unbearable
Travel coordinators are busy people. If you’re booking enough ground that you spend a noticeable share of your day in repetitive tasks related to managing your ground providers, it’s time to reevaluate your provider. Calling to confirm drivers’ locations, typing the same address information over and again, and manually forwarding status updates to a list of stakeholders are not the type of value-added activities you should be focused on.
Instead, look for a provider who takes these tasks off your plate and gives you confidence in their ability to do so consistently and accurately. Look for:
- A secure online portal—and even better, mobile app—that give you access to the information you need without requiring a phone call. Real time location tracking, trip status, an estimated arrival times, for example.
- A digital account that allows you to save locations, traveler profile information and preferences, and multiple payment options, and rebook common trips or return transfers with one click.
- Online booking tools that autofill address information for accuracy and convenience.
- Advance driver and vehicle details including the driver’s name, direct phone number, photo, and vehicle make, model, and plate number.
- Automated flight tracking, to make sure flight changes are addressed.
Sign #3: Multiple stakeholders need to be “in the know”
Ground often operates in a silo. Yet the need for visibility into ground travel movements transcends departmental and sometimes even company boundaries. Beyond executive assistants, flight departments, security teams, on-location personnel and personal contacts (such as family members or other staff) often need visibility into different stages of a trip.
Without a system for automatically keeping these and other stakeholders in the loop—systems that aren’t common to basic livery services—manual effort is required to let each person or team know what’s going on.
Communication is particularly important to a secure executive ground solution, which is why it comes equipped with sophisticated notification tools to make customized updates a snap. Automated trip status notifications alleviate bottlenecks and offer to-the-minute visibility at multiple stages throughout an itinerary, for as many stakeholders as necessary, via their preferred communication channel. Flight teams might want theirs through a flight deck integration. The security team may prefer text. An Executive Assistant may want emails so she can route them to appropriate folders. Either way, real-time updates should also be paired with comprehensive online oversight features available online, such as GPS maps and itinerary details.
Sign #4: Your organization or traveler has become more high profile
Peoples’ and organizations’ levels of visibility wax and wane. Maybe your company has an upcoming IPO or news of a buyout has been announced. Maybe it has announced a round of layoffs, or your traveler has risen to Mick Jagger status thanks to a recent speech. Whatever the case may be, greater visibility (either positive or negative) can create new concerns for a travel planner.
Basic livery drivers may be able to provide a comfortable travel experience, but they’re rarely equipped to help manage the safety risks associated with the movements of high-profile travelers. For example, can you be assured that drivers:
- Are bound by confidentiality agreements designed to protect the safety and privacy of travelers?
- Have completed at least a minimum of safety training, will practice situational awareness while on the job, and can recognize common situations to avoid?
- Are screened, monitored and actively managed and coached by a team dedicated to their success?
- Are supported by round-the-clock live agents through remote access tools in the event they need assistance while on a trip?
- Have the benefit of oversight activities such as threat & disturbance monitoring and flight tracking operating in the background, stepping in to help in the case of irregularities?
Secure executive ground is not executive protection, but for teams surrounding high-profile travelers, it can fill a necessary gap during vulnerable ground movements.
Sign #5: Your relationship with your ground provider is more transactional than strategic
When you book ground transportation, do you feel like you have a partner that’s actively looking out for your best interests and that’s able to work with you in a consultative manner? Do you talk to a new agent every time you reach out? Does it feel as if you and your traveler are just another number on a dispatcher’s daily list of trips? Do you problem-solve tough travel questions together?
Your job isn’t to be an expert in ground travel—that’s our department. Any travel partner worth their salt should try to understand your needs and preferences and share their expertise to make your ground as efficient and effective as possible. Ownership is a key requirement for a successful relationship. And when things go wrong, a partner will step up to make them right. That’s what it takes to ensure secure executive ground. It’s hardly transactional.
If your vendor takes orders but doesn’t try to establish a longer-term relationship, they have little incentive to make sure every detail runs smoothly.
Is it Time to Graduate to Secure Executive Ground?
If any of these points hit too close to home for you and your team, it may be time to upgrade from standard livery to enjoy the standards of safety and service that are available through partners like Savoya.
Reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 866.916.3081 today to see the difference secure executive ground partners can make in your travel experience.
Savoya’s longest tenured employee next to founder Robert Dobrient, Ms. Gleason currently serves as Savoya’s Chief Operating Officer. As a thought leader in the travel industry, she shares high-level insight into research, trends and other new developments affecting the space.