The need for corporate travel has grown exponentially in our modern, interconnected world. As businesses cross borders, so do their employees, who often face potential risks such as health and safety concerns, geopolitical instability, logistical issues, and natural disasters. In this complex environment, robust corporate travel programs help keep everyone safe. The repercussions of unmanaged travel risk can be significant, leading to operational disruptions, financial losses, and even reputational damage.
The solution is effective travel risk management (TRM): A comprehensive approach to corporate travel that encompasses detailed travel planning, risk assessment, and crisis management protocols.
Here are some trends recognized as travel risks over the past few years that a corporate travel manager might consider:
Duty of care refers to corporations’ legal and moral obligation to prioritize the safety and well-being of their employees. Corporations can mitigate potential risks by developing a comprehensive corporate travel policy that guides employees’ actions while traveling and the corporation’s response to travel safety incidents.
Travel risk management has taken on increased significance in recent years, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a vital aspect of the duty of care businesses owe to their employees, ensuring their safety whether working in the office or on the road.
Travel risk intelligence is the process of gathering, analyzing, and disseminating information about potential risks and threats related to travel. It requires evolving to keep pace with travel destination rules and restrictions. Today’s organizations prioritize proactive rather than reactive risk management; as a result, they equip travelers with the necessary information and tools and set up systems to tackle potential issues. This proactive approach also involves understanding and addressing travelers’ concerns and providing technological tools and preparations to manage risks and alleviate anxieties.
Because travel risk management is essential to business travel success, it will remain crucial in ensuring that employees feel comfortable and confident about traveling.
As a core business function, travel management moves beyond simply organizing itineraries and making travel arrangements. It is a systematic approach for managing an organization’s strategic travel process, including negotiations with all vendors and the day-to-day operation of the corporate travel program, as well as traveler safety and security, credit-card management, and travel and expenses data management.
But what exactly does travel management mean in the context of risk mitigation?
In essence, travel management is like the ship’s captain; it steers corporate travel programs through a sea of potential security risks. In addition, it’s crucial for aiding stakeholders who want to prevent and mitigate risks because it oversees the details contributing to safe and secure travel.
The first step in this process is a comprehensive risk assessment, which involves understanding the nature of the destinations, the specific health and safety risks they may present, and any logistical challenges that might arise. For instance, a travel manager might need to consider geopolitical stability, disease prevalence, cultural differences, or weather patterns when planning business travel.
But a travel risk management program goes beyond risk identification. Once a travel manager outlines the potential risks, the next step is to devise strategies to avoid or manage those risks, such as:
Risk management policies create a protective layer around traveling employees by thoroughly evaluating potential risks and implementing strategies. The scope is broad, and managing risk can mean anything from ensuring that employees have the proper vaccinations for a particular destination to setting up real-time SMS and mobile app notifications about changes to threat intelligence in the geopolitical landscape. It also includes processes like managing cybersecurity, ensuring a destination is safe for LGBTQ travelers, and providing pre-trip know-how before employees’ business trips.
Effective travel management underpins business continuity. In an era where global events can rapidly alter the travel landscape, having a robust travel management system helps businesses adapt and respond effectively.
For example, in the face of a sudden lockdown or changes in international travel regulations, a well-managed travel program can help repatriate employees quickly and safely, minimizing disruptions to business operations.
The right technology can empower businesses to manage risk, providing real-time information and automated responses to swiftly changing circumstances.
Critical technological features for a robust travel management solution include:
Deciding on the most suitable travel management solution for your company can seem overwhelming, given the many options available. Yet, the key to a successful partnership is finding a solution that aligns well with your organization’s unique needs and risk profile.
Here are some steps to take when selecting a travel management solution:
An accurate risk profile will help you identify the features you need in a travel management solution. Ask yourself:
An accurate risk profile will help you identify the features you need in a travel management solution.
A small to mid-size company might have different needs than a large multinational corporation. Your travel management solution should be able to scale with you as your company grows.
The travel industry is highly dynamic; changes occur frequently and rapidly. The ideal travel management solution should be able to adapt to changes quickly, whether it’s a shift in travel restrictions due to global events or evolving company policies.
Is the platform user-friendly? Can your team easily understand and navigate the software? A seamless user experience will increase your employees’ adoption rates, making travel planning and risk management more effective.
Check their track record, read reviews, and consider contacting current clients for feedback. Trustworthiness and reliability are crucial in a travel management partner.
Customer support and training are integral in effectively utilizing a travel management solution. A company with a dedicated travel assistance team can swiftly assist when issues arise and mitigate potential disruptions. Training, on the other hand, ensures your team is well-equipped to use the platform optimally. Check that your prospective partner offers thorough onboarding and continuous training to keep your team up-to-date with the latest features and improvements.
The best solution is the one that addresses your unique needs most effectively.
In the ever-evolving domain of travel risk management, questions abound. This section seeks to clarify some of the most frequently asked questions and offer insights into the process of travel risk assessment, the development of travel risk mitigation plans, the categorization of travel risks, and more.
Understanding and mitigating travel risks is paramount in the ever-evolving corporate travel landscape. If left unmanaged, risks can result in financial losses, disrupt business operations, tarnish reputations, and jeopardize employee safety. Therefore, taking a proactive stance toward travel risk management is a business imperative — not just a good business practice.
Travel risk management tools go beyond simple logistical coordination. They offer comprehensive risk assessment, real-time alerts, traveler tracking, and other crucial functions. With travel management solutions, businesses can anticipate and mitigate risks and navigate them successfully, which allows for seamless corporate travel experiences, ensures business continuity, and reinforces the duty of care to employees.
The world of corporate travel is full of uncertainties, but with a proactive, strategic approach, you can turn these uncertainties into opportunities for growth and improvement.
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