By Wendy White, CMO Egencia
At Expedia Group, we believe in not only giving back but making a difference in communities all over the globe. When Egencia learned that hospitals were struggling to find places for their healthcare workers and volunteers who needed to safely self-isolated or go to an area impacted by coronavirus, we knew we wanted to get involved.
A few weeks ago, I got on the phone with Dr. Jon Lensing to learn more about his start-up, Apollo Healthcare Technologies. I was inspired by Jon’s vision and his team’s commitment to getting medical professionals where they are most needed. He shared that “Since COVID-19 first arose, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the amount of healthcare workers needed in the areas that have been affected”.
Because of this demand, we’ve developed the Egencia Helping Healthcare travel programme so healthcare organisations don’t have to search for hotels or worry if they’re meeting duty of care responsibilities. We also realise that even local, non-travelling healthcare workers sometimes choose to self-isolate from family. They need easy access to good rates and hotel discounts in their areas and employers want to make it simpler for their staff to find them.
With an accelerated onboarding process, healthcare facilities will quickly be able to give their staff access to hotel rates with up to 30% discount, 24-hour customer service in over 30 languages, as well as travel disruption notifications. Included in the free 90-day travel programme, Egencia will also waive all onboarding and transaction fees.
Healthcare institutions and other service providers will benefit from features built for organisations to effectively manage their travel programmes, including:
- A secure and controlled hotel booking environment with a wide aggregated range of hotel rates, from Expedia rates (including exclusive healthcare rates) and GDS rates to your own negotiated rates.
- An intuitive travel booking experience, whether you choose to designate a travel arranger or let users register and self-book.
- The ability to create custom destinations so users can easily find hotels near them or near their hospital.
- An industry-leading duty of care/travel risk management solution to quickly locate and communicate with all users.
- A detailed travel reporting and analytics suite to know where your employees are and to find their booking details.
- Access to the Egencia Community for best practices and travel advice from peers.
Hotel discounts for healthcare workers
Through Helping Healthcare, healthcare facilities will have access to unique discounted rates being offered by hotel chains like Best Western and IHG, plus special hotel rates from the Expedia Market Management team. Beyond discounts, many hotels are also exploring enhanced technologies to slow the spread of the virus and implement further safety measures, such as increased sanitation.
How Apollo is lending industry support
On my phone call with Jon, he talked about his company’s similar desire to support healthcare organisations during the COVID-19 crisis. According to Jon, Apollo’s overall mission is to “accelerate the delivery of medical services to improve community health outcomes by placing our medical providers in the areas that most desperately need them”. To help with this effort to connect healthcare facilities directly with local physicians, nurses, healthcare workers and volunteers due to critical shortage, Apollo is waiving its fees.
Jon spoke to several state departments of health, hospital associations and medical societies that all expressed interest in his company’s service. During his conversations, one issue came up repeatedly. “They needed to know that the medical workers travelling would be covered and wanted someone to manage them. Someone to know when and where they were going, who could take care of that lodging piece because that was another piece of the puzzle that they couldn’t handle right now on top of everything else”, he said.
Realising that he needed help to solve their travel management concerns, he tapped Egencia.
“We’re really hoping that Apollo and Egencia partnering together can be the vessel for redistribution of these healthcare workers not only now, but also when we need to get them back where they’re most needed again once this settles down”.
Average of up to 30% savings per night at participating hotels.