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Jan 17, 2018Back to Veoci Blog
Anyone who travels knows how enriching the experience is. Ibn Battuta, a 14th century Moroccan scholar, learned this quickly. When he set out on hajj in 1325, he probably didn’t plan on staying out for 24 straight years. Students today often do what Ibn Battuta did: they strike out to parts unknown to learn more—but they're usually home within 6 months, not a quarter-century. According to the 2017 Open Doors report by the International Institute of Education (IIE), just over 325,000 American students went overseas for their educations during the 2015-2016 school year. With so many students following Battuta's footsteps today, how do universities keep tabs on all of them? How do they know they’re safe? They use a tool called a travel registry. Allow us to explain....
A travel registry helps organizations contact members abroad in the event of an emergency. They're simple, but very effective, tools. They ask for basic information from soon-to-be travelers, including:
Administrators can include other bits of important information, like embassy locations and emergency hotlines, within the registry. A travel registry is more than just a database—it’s a tool organizations use to keep their people abroad out of harm’s way.
Our traveler, Ibn Battuta, faced dangers just as any other traveler would. Battuta was almost caught in the middle of a uprising in Aydhab in 1326, he was attacked and robbed just outside of Delhi by bandits in 1341, and he was caught in local political disputes a few times. Word-of-mouth and wit usually kept Battuta safe, but his system wasn’t flawless (he really didn’t have many other options, though). The threats Battuta faced are still very real risks for travelers six and a half centuries later.
Thieves, instability, and natural disasters are just a portion of what travelers must prepare for today. A tool like a travel registry can keep them aware of these risks and give them resources they would need to get to safety.
Large organizations use these tools the most. The larger an organization is, the more members they’ll have on the move. This tool not only simplifies tracking all of this travel, it helps keep people safe, and that’s the ultimate goal.
By using a travel registry, an organization puts itself in a strong position. If an emergency happens in an area, travel registries help deliver potentially life-saving information. These are worst case scenarios, but it can’t hurt to be prepared for them. In the best case scenarios, it keeps an organization in the loop about where people are going and when they’re going. This is why colleges and universities use travel registries. Tracking and messaging at this scale isn’t efficient any other way. Hundreds—sometimes thousands—of students and staff could be abroad at any given time. And with more and more features coming to travel registries every year, it becomes easier—and safer for those overseas—for universities to use a travel registry.
Early on in 2017, Yale University came to Veoci looking for help in building a new and improved travel registry, one on a single integrated platform. Something like this seemed right up our alley, so we happily obliged. [caption id="attachment_2731" align="alignright" width="169"]
Mobile availability was a priority for this new build, and it’s easy to see why. Veoci’s app lets administrators send notifications quickly; since each traveler has the app downloaded on their phone, notifications and alerts have much more reach. The app also lets travelers use the travel registry on the go—they could make and update details from anywhere and access any vital information in the event of an emergency. Mapping makes the notifications even more effective.
Through geofencing, administrators can send tailored messages to areas. It helps avoid confusion and gives the right information to the right people. What’s even more exciting how Veoci enables administrators. Different forms can be made for all types of travelers; students, faculty, and staff can have different data to fill in about their plans. And all of this information is available on a single dashboard. Veoci helps make sense of all the data for quick referencing whenever it’s needed. Our Solutions team went into much more detail in a webinar. Check it out to see exactly how Veoci’s travel registry works!
Despite some hiccups, Ibn Battuta safely made it back to Marrakech, Morocco in 1350 (and again in 1354). If Battuta hadn’t practiced situational awareness the way he had, it’s hard to say if he would’ve made it home. Battuta set an important standard for travel, a tradition travel registries help adventurers carry out today. Maybe some globetrotters will catch the bug Battuta did and just keep going. And if they do so, good—a travel registry will continue to help them stay safe.
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