If you’re like most people and you believe that government travel advisories, warning and alerts represent the most accurate advice for business travellers then you are terribly mistaken.Here are the key elements that all business travellers and travel managers need to know regarding the validity and application of government travel alerts and travel related advice. Knowing and understanding these few simple issues will save your company unnecessary travel delays and disruptions under almost any circumstance. The main points to always consider in the wake of a renewed or updated advisory, warning or alert is the target audience, specific government resources, commercial relevance and the avoidance of evacuation scenarios.The primary demographic for government advisories are first time travellers, backpackers, families and anyone else with little to no prior travelling experience and preparation or the lowest possible denominator. It is this group that governments aim their advice and analysis towards with the belief that if this group is adequately informed, then all remaining demographics will be covered. Unfortunately this results in an artificially low benchmark for all travellers not within this group.These other groups depend upon travel for business productivity, management and administration and the more likely to have their travel plans altered unnessesarily due to many government alerts. This is in part due to corporate risk avoidance (in the belief the government travel advisories are adequate) and insurance companies benchmarking many of their travel policy exclusions on that of government travel advice (again, in the belief the government are catering to their needs too). Unless you are a first time traveller, significantly inexperienced or lack appropriate business support while travelling, then the majority of government travel advice does not apply to you.Detailed examination of dedicated resources aimed at travel related advice and content typically reveals little more than a handful of “specific” resources. That is, someone or department dedicated solely to the collection, analysis and dissemination of commercially relevant travel advice. Most government resources are “shared” services when it comes to travel intelligence and advice with general non-government travel a very small increment of their overall mandate. Smaller countries have no dedicated resources and simply “share” the advice from coalition partners or more populace countries, further diluting the relevance to their citizens. Most continuous travel advisory services, provided by a government, are little more than a chronology of publicly available media updates. While resources are limited in the first instance, it is the lack of commercial experience that constitutes the greatest flaw to government travel advisories.What little resources there are that are aimed at travel intelligence typically lack any direct commercial experience. Therefore, all their apparent advice is predicated more on the interests of the government (resulting in censorship, omissions and politically correct publications) than that of any business sector or commercial demographic. When you have soldiers, government agents and police officers commenting on matters relating to commerce and business travel, you get little actionable advice due to their inability to put into commercial context the impact events may have from a purely commercial perspective rather than a transnational or political viewpoint.Behind closed doors, most governments admit they do not maintain nor posses the resources (assumed by most of their citizens) for large scale evacuations from any corner of the globe. Regrettably many travellers have grown to assume that complete failure to take responsibility for their own safety and security while travelling will always be compensated by the government’s ability to swoop in and save then if they should so choose. This is wrong and very dangerous for those with such a belief. For those governments that would even consider an evacuation of their nationals (not very many) they will often go to great lengths to advise their citizens to leave or make personal arrangements long before any government is forced into acting. Landing troops or foreign government elements in someone else’s country is always the choice of last resort and highly prone to complications, even if it were possible.Anything published by a government will always have the country’s national interests such as economy, trade and diplomatic relationships carefully considered before release. Anything that may threaten such strategic goals is likely to be withheld, including government travel advisories, warnings and alerts. Now that you understand the importance of being self sufficient and discerning when it comes to government travel advice you will waste less time placing priority on such updates and focus on more commercially relevant inputs. As a result, your company travel risk management process will be far more resilient and less impacted by the stop/start affect created by government updates, warnings and alerts. You may also now identify gaps that need to be filled by insufficient commercial content from government sources.Government travel advisories, warnings and alerts focus on the wrong target demographic, lack the appropriate resources, have little commercial relevance and seek to avoid last minute acts such as evacuations. Now that you too are aware of these limitations you should be better positioned to make business decisions in the wake of crisis, emergency and dynamic events that affect a location and your business travellers. Business travel risk management is a commercial process and can only be achieved with appropriate commercial products and services.
Business insurance protects business owners against a range of possible losses including vehicles, travel, worker’s compensation and buildings. Businesses have much different insurance needs than a normal person and due to the range of different businesses in operation today, also require specially tailored insurance solutions. Since the range of insurance products available to business is so vast, this article will focus on small businesses and their insurance options.The main types of insurance small businesses need are vehicle, property, liability and worker’s compensation. Worker’s compensation cover will usually be required by law if employees are working “danger jobs” such as road works, handling heavy machinery like cranes or similarly dangerous jobs.Vehicle insurance coverIf your business requires you or your employees to travel using your vehicles, then business vehicle insurance is crucial. More expensive than personal vehicle insurance, business vehicle insurance covers the vehicles used for business travel. Business vehicle insurance is generally more expensive because a “regular driver” does not always need to be specified. This is due to the fact that business vehicles are often used by multiple employees and they also tend to travel more than personal vehicles.Property insurance coverProperty insurance cover covers all your physical assets from loss. This may include your business’ offices, place of trade, outbuildings and more. It can also provide additional cover for your stock. For example, if you own a corner store, your property insurance can cover your shop, the windows and all the equipment and wares inside the shop from loss or damage. Different levels of cover can also be chosen to include fire, theft flood and even acts of terrorism.Liability insurance coverLiability cover will insure the business against any law suits that may arise due to negligence by yourself or your staff. For instance, keeping with the example above, a store employee mops the floor in an aisle in your store, but forgets to put up a caution sign. A customer walks in and slips on the wet floor. If that person gets injured, they are entitled to sue your business for loss of income due to being unable to attend work, medical bills and punitive damages. These claims can be very high and usually a small business does not have funds to pay out such claims. If you have liability cover, your insurance policy will cover the claim up to the insured amount.Worker’s compensationWorker’s compensation is similar to liability insurance, but it covers your employees against injuries sustained on the job. This kind of cover may be mandatory in some cases. If you are in a dangerous field, such as a road works contractor or even in landscaping, where your employees are in close contact with dangerous equipment, you may need worker’s compensation insurance. Investing in proper safety training can mitigate your risk, directly lowering your premium for this type of cover.Choosing the correct amount of cover can be daunting, but the important things to consider are the type of business you own, the replacement cost in the event of a complete loss of assets and the amount of funds available for a monthly premium. When you call your broker, make sure you have a complete inventory with replacement costs so that you can choose the correct level of cover.
Today, wherever you are online, you will somehow, somewhere come across a banner advertisement about web hosting services. If companies are advertising a product, this means that there is a market ready for it. Hosting services are directly related to websites. All websites, whether big or small, beautiful or ugly, interesting or bored, need web hosting services to be viewable on the internet. So, what are the services provided by a web hoster and why do we need them.Hosting providers don’t only offer web hosting services
Services offered by a web hosting company include technical as well as nontechnical aspects. As all businesses, they will have to provide some kind of support and assistance to their customers whether be it sales, financial or technical. But, in order for your websites to be online, you will need some of the main features offered by the company as far as web serving is concerned. A website is viewable online when it is hosted and served by a web server which is always connected online. A web server is a computer, normally a very powerful system that will serve your websites’ pages to people surfing the internet. Since it involves high costs to run these servers, web hosting services were quite expensive. However, with technology advancement, the price of web host has become very competitive and very affordable.What services are included in your hosting plan?
The services offered by hosting companies may be divers. It sometimes depends on the hosting plan or hosting package you choose. Basically, you will need a domain name before getting web hosting. Domain name refers to the internet address that people will use to access your website online. These addresses will look to something like “http://domainname.com” where the “http://” refers to the protocol used and the extension “.com”, to the nature of the website. Unfortunately, these extensions are no more being respected by many. After you have purchases and acquired a domain name which you will have to transfer or point to your web hosting server, you are ready to start publishing your website’s pages on the internet. Now, website hosting packages also come with databases, traffic statistics, ftp, file manager and more which are all manageable from a control panel. Other items like email addresses, auto-responders, software installers etc… are offered within the packages. Due to the fact that the web hosting market is quite an important niche, competition is very high and the companies offer a range of features with their hosting plan.How then do we proceed in choosing where to host our sites?
From my personal experience, the first thing I will look at when choosing a web hosting company is not “features”. You don’t really want all the features offered unless you need them. Many will offer unlimited number of email addresses, databases, web spaces etc… but do we really need to have all of these? What in the world will I need 1000 emails for???The reason why I’ve mentioned that the most important thing I will look at is not “features” is because many hosting companies will offer so many features only to come up with a lot of down-times. Server downtime refers to the amount of time when, because of server issues, your website is online no more. In my several years of experience working with websites and web hosting companies, I’ve noticed the server up-time to be an important aspect while choosing your hosting firm. It is a good idea to try the server before upgrading to paid plan if free trials are available.Another important area of web hosting is good technical support. You will at times face issues with server configurations and a reliable support services will be crucial. Just think of it this way: your website is showing error messages and you are stuck as you do not have the option to activate the required module to fix the error. During such time, people are coming to your site only to see some error messages! That’s why I will definitely recommend to go for a hosting company offering a reliable 24/7 support service. Don’t just trust what they say, try them!And don’t just be amazed at the many features or the low prices of a hosting company, but rather carefully test both the reliability of the servers and the support team before hosting a production website, blog or forum!These little tips are important ones if you don’t want to suffer business in the long-term!