Friday, 9 December 2016


In my former life as an army officer, I spent several years specialising in operational planning and intelligence analysis, often in Afghanistan and Iraq. I also managed evacuations from challenging environments like Gaza and Kurdistan. What I learnt from my experiences is that the army’s commitment to “train hard, fight easy” compels it to prepare for every eventuality overseas, however complex. In many ways this makes it a model for the corporate travel sector. 

Here’s why:

It offers a 360-degree view of risk
When planning an overseas deployment, the army doesn’t just look at one part of the risk, it looks at the big picture. It harvests multi-layered information from a huge range of sources – not least social media, historical data and open-source reporting. And it uses horizon-scanning to work out how threats may change tomorrow, next week, next month and so on.

It delegates to and trusts third party partners  
If it can’t solve a problem or identify a risk itself, the army won’t hesitate to delegate. Often this means trusting a specialist third party to complement its own skills seamlessly. This way, problems can be anticipated and fixed exactly when they need to be.

It adopts a “think to the finish” approach
The army starts with a successful solution and works back from there. If a plan doesn’t match a threat, it starts again. Then it runs through scenarios over and over again, until its people are perfectly prepared to see the plan through to its end.

It communicates at the right time
Timing is everything. In the army’s eyes, it’s better to get 70% of the information to someone in time than 100% of the information too late. It could be the difference between life and death.

It values its assets
The army empowers its people to provide successful solutions. It starts with a tiered training regime that enables them, first, to understand their own roles, and then to work in group environments and with outside agencies. And it trusts them.

The lessons?
Translate this approach to the corporate travel sector and you’ll see employees abroad getting 360-degree, one-stop support, from assistance providers who no longer restrict their services to one area of expertise, but integrate the skills of specialist third parties to extend them.

You’ll see travellers being able to pre-empt threats overseas with a bird’s eye view of medical, security and other risks. You’ll see them getting well-rehearsed and end-to-end responses to both medical and security emergencies - all via the same contact point. And you’ll see them getting the best care abroad before being taken all the way back to their loved ones at home or to their local hospital bed.

All this would be driven by fast decision making, based on facts. And by people who are trained to work harmoniously with multidiscipline teams and networks of global partners, who can solve problems seamlessly in all four corners of the world.

This post was written by Chris Knight, Head of Corporate Services for CEGA.

CEGA and Solace Global are exhibiting their one-source medical and security assistance service, INtrinsic, at the Business Travel Show in February, Stand B251. Travel bookers, buyers and managers can register for a free pass at

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