Understanding and Managing Business Travel Risks

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The rise of globalisation has opened the door for more people to work abroad but it doesn’t come without risk. Many employers may not fully comprehend the impact global safety could have on their business but here, at TravelManor, we keep our eye on latest industry trends and news to provide you with the best possible advice on business travel risks. According to the article from BusinessWire, global perception of business travel risks remain high and there are still opportunities for improvement.

With rising concern comes an increased focus on employer’s responsibility to its domestic and international employees. It’s not enough just knowing laws and regulations of your own country, employers need to familiarise themselves with issues their employees could face while travelling and working abroad. Employers may find themselves litigating negligence-type claims in a foreign country, which is often unpredictable and costly.

Business Travel Safety Risks Remain High Priority

A recent survey by International SOS revealed that business travel plans were mostly changed due to security threats, followed by natural disasters. In the Americas though, in light of the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean, it’s no surprise that natural disasters jumped to the top of the list. On a global scale, these are followed by country risk factors and civil unrest. Other factors affecting business travel safety include terrorism, disease outbreaks like Ebola and H1N1 influenza among others.

63% of business decision makers believe that travel risks have increased over the last year which is lower than 2015 but 78% and 72% of businesses in the Americas and Australasia respectively, reported a greater risk increase in 2017. The latest edition of the Travel Risk Map provides a great overview of medical and travel security risks by location. In fact, risk ratings were the reason why 42% of companies changed their travel plans in 2017.

While there is some improvement this year in preventative risk mitigation techniques, the survey suggests that organisations need to do more from a strategic standpoint. Only 9% have updated their sustainability program to include a travel risk policy and just 10% introduced a wellbeing policy. Prevention is always better than cure and providing the right information at the right time could ultimately be lifesaving. A good example is the unfortunate situation in Madagascar as such an outbreak could result in disastrous consequences for both employees and employers.

The tables below indicate the best risk mitigating techniques and the most common challenges organisations face when securing the safety and security of their global workforce.

6 Techniques for responding to medical and travel security risks

1. Introduced advisory emails pre-trip and during trip 39%
2. Included travel risk assessment in travel approval process 37%
3. Implemented travel safety and security training 33%
4. Provided annual health check-ups 32%
5. Travel risk policy updated (excludes diversity related issues) 31%
6. Implemented programs to locate travelers 28%

Challenges in securing the safety and security of the global workforce

1. Educating employees about travel risks 53%
2. Confirming employees have read pre-travel information 44%
3. Communicating with employees during a crisis 44%
4. Tracking employee travel 39%
5. Having adequate resources to manage health and security efforts 35%

Organisations should strive to understand their legal obligations and mitigate its liability risk through a travel risk management plan. Such a plan should include assessing company-specific risks, developing policies and procedures, effectively communicating to employees, training of said employees and carefully documenting and analysing incidents. Truly understanding business travel risks and how to respond can be challenging but it is a non-negotiable. Not only does it affect employees’ wellbeing, your business reputation is also at stake.

If you’re looking for an industry-leading, experienced corporate travel agency, get in touch with TravelManor today. We provide total travel solutions; financially efficient and stress-free.

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