It seems barely a day has gone by in recent weeks without some kind of terrorism-related incident dominating the headlines.
As unpalatable as it may be, risk management is an essential element of corporate travel management. And it’s becoming increasingly challenging as global security risks diversify.
Any business not proactively safeguarding the health and safety of its travellers, by incorporating comprehensive and strategic risk management procedures into its corporate travel policy, is exposing itself to myriad financial and legal risks.
As a starting point, here’s three risk management strategies that every business should consider as part of a corporate travel management policy.
Identify Threats to Travelling Staff
It’s difficult to guard against a threat if you are not clear what that threat is. Before businesses can bolster risk management procedures and strengthen corporate travel policies, it is integral to understand the diversifying threats facing business travellers.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Executive Director delivered a stirring call to arms at the 2016 GBTA Convention, highlighting the threat of global terrorism to corporate travellers around the world.
“For all of us in the travel industry, we feel a deep sense of ownership when lives are violently taken in our airports, our skies and places we have all travelled to, both for business and for leisure,” Mike McCormick said.
Collinson Group advised employers to review corporate travel policies, and consider what mechanisms they had in place to respond to a growing array of emergency scenarios, after it found an increase in the volume of business travellers visiting high-risk destinations.
A Collinson study highlighted the unpredictability of global threats: “In an indication of the fast-changing nature of global events, a number of countries perceived as being traditionally less risky received level three alerts in the first half of 2015.”
Educated Employees Are Proactive Employees
Despite the devastation it causes, terrorism is not the only threat facing the modern business traveller. Information security has rapidly emerged on the risk management radar, especially with travellers being up to four times more likely to suffer identity crime while in transit.
“Businesses need to arm travelling employees with the tools and strategies to protect their personal identities while in transit,” says Paige Schaffer, COO of the Identity and Digital Protection Unit at Generali Global Assistance.
Corporate travellers, armed with information, play a critical role in protecting their own data. Proactive information security controls like avoiding unsecured networks, removing smartphone apps that contain potentially sensitive data, and two-step verification on email accounts should be the responsibility of travellers in a strategic risk management program.
Businesses are increasingly responsible for educating business travellers on how to protect themselves overseas, and risk education programs should not only teach travelling employees correct emergency procedures but also proactive risk mitigation strategies.
Use Emergency Communication Tools
Once businesses have a complete understanding of the threats facing their travellers, they should consider the systems and processes they have in place to deal with a worst-case scenario. While dealing with threats after they’ve occurred may seem reactionary, effective emergency communication tools also reduce risk for staff travellers.
A corporate travel management platform like Travelport Locomote includes powerful risk management features like passport and visa control, comprehensive emergency communication tools, and automated workflows that alert travel managers to high-risk destinations.
Travel managers can add approval steps for staff travelling to high-risk destinations, and provide a proactive and personalised risk management strategy for these travellers.
To see how Travelport Locomote’s seamless end-to-end corporate travel platform can keep travelling staff safe, drive instant communication and help business meet duty of care obligations, chat to one of our team or book in a product demo today.