Navigating Emerging Markets

For Canadian travellers doing business in emerging markets, a typical trip may hardly be routine.

By Julie Charles

Getting into Russia was no problem for Tom Osovitzki, visiting his company’s newly opened Moscow office last year. Leaving was another story.

“Customs officials, on the way out, can be very intimidating. They held me back for some time looking at my passport with a magnifying glass,” says Toronto-based Osovitzki. As an industry professional — he is CEO of Toronto-based travel management firm ctms Travel — Osovitzki knew his documents were impeccable, so took the delay in stride.

“It sounds like such a stereotype, but business travellers have to be prepared for things like that when travelling to emerging markets,” says Osovitzki. Flight and hotel bookings are just the start: they’ve got to know what to expect culturally, how to stay calm, and what to do in case of the unexpected.

Going Where the Growth Is
According to a 2011 report by Ernst & Young, 70 per cent of global economic growth will come from emerging markets in the years ahead. As Canadian businesses chase opportunities in booming economies such as China, Russia, India and Brazil, travel managers face a new set of challenges and risks.

Whether staff are voyaging for gold exploration in Africa, manufacturing in China or a sales mission to India, the rules of corporate travel management may require fine-tuning, for comfort and security.

Paper chase. Travel restrictions or missed entry requirements can derail business trips and strand travellers. Having a travel management company (TMC) that knows the finer print of getting visas smoothly and efficiently is extremely important. Ask your TMC if they have an in-house visa desk that works with consulates and arranges letters of introduction.

Spending for safety. Travel managers used to negotiating a deal may get sticker-shock. Osovitzki says his team has to educate travellers and their bookers and sometimes restrain expectations. “Although some of these economies are way behind our own with few facilities, what is available [and deemed secure] is likely to be expensive.”

Planning ground transport. In many places, you may need to advise your business travellers never to grab a random cab at the hotel, instead ground transportation should be arranged in advance with the help of a corporate travel agency. Private drivers, translators or even bodyguards may be recommended.

Data security. In developing economies, business travellers may be viewed as targets for the corporate intelligence they hold. Review (or create) protocols for what type of data is allowable on laptops or flash drives and if it needs to be encrypted, plus the use of Wi-Fi networks (which may not be secure).

A Travel Pro’s Required Reading
Vicky Laflamme, director operations, program management and business development, Carlson Wagonlit Travel in Toronto

What: Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands by Terri Morrison and Wayne A. Conaway

Why: To prepare travellers for far-flung business trips, this book can help your HR team or travel management department explain how to avoid a cultural faux pas

Look for the book at leading booksellers, or try the new digital course at

other articles in this section

The Waiting Game

Q&A with Suzanne Neufang, Executive Director, GBTA

By the Numbers

Keeping Corporate Data Safe

Are Your Female Business Travellers Safe on the Road?

Flight Turbulence

What’s your Data Plan?

Get it in Writing

Follow the money

In Harm’s Way

It’s all in the timing

Covering Trouble in Paradise

Flight Plan

For Safe Keeping

Smooth Moves

On the Safe Side

At Your Bleisure

Cover me!

Uber. Airbnb. Lyft…

Q&A with Anthony Pollard

Data Dilemma

Getting on track

So Long, Swipecards

Take your Best Shot

Benefits of Integrating Mobile Payment Platforms

Trend Setter, Dorothy Dowling

Newest Cloud Technology

Is it Time to Dust Off your Corporate Travel Policy?

The Future Travel Credit Management Solution

Planes, trains and data plans

When employees fall ill on the road

Burnout Busters

The Rules of Compliance

Communal Spaces Boost Hotels' Comfort Factor

Making the most of travel and expense management systems

May the Best Vendor Win

Evaluating disaster recovery plans

On the Road Again

Hotels Taking Wellness to a Whole New Level

Corporate Travel Tracker

Controlling Corporate Travel Costs

The Anti-stress List

The Blurred Line Between Corporate Travel Manager and Planner

Big Flight Discounts for Small Businesses

Are Business Travellers Putting Corporate Data at Risk?

Timesaving Mobile App for Superior Car Service

Company Car or Driver-owned?

10 Healthy Travel Tips

Navigating Emerging Markets

Business Travel Etiquette

Rogue Travellers on Spending Sprees!

Business Travel and Health

Social Media and Travel Programs

Baggage Handler Confidential

Travel Expense Reporting

Buses Mean Business

Travel Budgets Analyzed

Q+A with Ron DiLeo

Progressive Extended-Stay Programs

Dynamic Hotel Pricing

The Perfect Travel Management Company

The Kindest Cuts

Green Businesses

Travel Policy Compliance

Car Sharing: The leaner, greener choice!

Expense Accountability

Hotel Program Success

Costly Corporate Credit Card Programs

Travel Less, Save More?

Dynamic Pricing

Travel Program Success

Meetings Abroad: Are you Prepared?

Maneuvering Through the RFP Process

Cross-Border Air Travel

Time for a Travel Policy

10 Ways to Avoid Business Travel Pitfalls

Bargaining Table Car Rental Tips for Corporate Planners

Creating Travel Policy Compliance

Sustainable Travel Tips

Crucial Travel Policy Changes to Save Time and Money

Tipping Guide for Business Travellers

Corporate Travel Policy

Passport Essentials and Other Requirements

Managing your Company's Travel Risks

Duty of care to travellers goes beyond borders