Travel risk management tips to help business travelers get started

As businesses grow, travel tends to become more and more essential. However, business travel comes with risks and it is essential to manage travel risks as well as possible. Many companies have developed a travel risk management plan as the business grows. If you’re looking to keep traveling employees safe while protecting your business, that’s why travel risk management is crucial.

What is risk management in business travel?

Risk management in business travel can encompass many different elements. Risk management aims to minimize the impact of unforeseen events as much as possible and to ensure the safety of business travelers through a well-designed communication plan respecting the duty of care.

For an international organization where overseas travel is necessary, these measures ensure that potential travel risks are planned for and that there is a structured approach to employee safety, security and organizational resilience.

Here are some examples of dangers while traveling:

  • Civil unrest
  • political instability
  • Severe weather
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Disease outbreaks
  • Major Security Incidents
  • Sudden Travel Warnings
  • Employee health incident
  • Criminal incidents
  • Any other potential threats and risks

Additional Factors to Consider with Travel Risks

When it comes to managing risk and performing risk assessments, identifying the type of risk is only one aspect of business continuity and employee safety. If there is a risk associated with frequent travel, such as business trips to high-risk countries, companies should dedicate internal resources to ensure employee safety.

As a starting point, companies should consider additional security measures such as medical evacuation, political risk and travel insurance. However, you may also need to consider training employees on how to deal with a medical emergency and emergency response training. Additionally, you may need to include other travel security measures, such as an emergency communication process and emergency contact information based on travelers’ location.

What should a travel risk management program contain?

A comprehensive travel risk management program has two goals: to protect employees from high risk wherever possible and to ensure business continuity. There are many resources to help design a travel risk assessment and program. We will look at some of the essential features of a business travel risk assessment and the program should have:

  1. Create clear business travel policies for employees: The first step is to create clear guidelines for international travel for employees to follow. This includes describing potential risks, critical safety information, and how to protect themselves at their travel destination depending on the situation.
  2. Sources of real-time information: Emergencies are never settled and travel plans can change in the blink of an eye. Ensure travel vetting and approval processes consider threat intelligence and other real-time information sources for up-to-date travel advice.
  3. Clear communications: As situations evolve, employees should have as much information as possible before travel to protect themselves and the business. Outline the company’s duty of care, safety measures in place, and how to contact other members of the organization in case travelers encounter emergencies while travelling.
  4. Official Notice: Include any government advice, such as travel advice and resources travelers can consult. You can also use resources such as the Global Business Travel Association to develop a global policy.

3 Travel Risk Management Tips That Mitigate Risk

Risk management is about protecting the business and the employee, and it can be difficult to fully balance the two. We’ll go over some key tips to consider when designing a program for business travel to keep in mind.

1. Create or reconfigure your travel management program

Consider your organizational structure and how it relates to risk management. Make it as easy and simple as possible for employees to understand when going on a business trip. Your travel management program should consider travel planning and destination risks until company employees are back on their home soil. A comprehensive policy ensures that the business is protected against unforeseen events, including employee safety, data preservation and security measures.

You can appoint designated travel managers who are responsible for the safety, well-being and management of travel-related risks when they arise during employee travel. Also, make sure employees have access to comprehensive health coverage while on the go and resources to help them monitor ever-changing situations during an emergency. You can also provide additional information on how to travel with company devices and equipment and any data issues to keep in mind.

2. Develop your travel risk management strategy

Your strategy will largely depend on which destinations employees are traveling to and whether you factor in any changes in the near future. But key considerations include information security, operational resilience, and employee protection. In addition, the protection of employees and the operation of the company in the event of significant threats and risks must be taken into account.

A pre-traveller risk assessment framework makes it easier for companies to apply travel risk management policies. Consider using broader business travel industry standards such as ISO 31030:2021 – Travel risk management – Guidance for organizations to design your strategy.

3. Use digital technology to make your risk management plan more effective

Fortunately, with so much technology in place, there are more resources than ever when it comes to risk mitigation. As part of the travel manager role, there should definitely be processes in place where employees check in regularly with larger teams and provide access to GPS data on work devices to ensure they are can be found easily in an emergency. Depending on the number of employees traveling, measures may also be put in place for incident reporting and real-time updates.

Places where employees can get help in an emergency

As part of travel risk management, employees should be aware of emergency resources they can contact as part of the company’s duty of care strategy and manage travel risk.

If employees need medical attention or if there are natural disasters, they should contact embassies and/or local authorities as a first step for assistance. They should also be informed of local and state organizations that can help them, as well as company resources that the company may be able to provide in an emergency.

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