Ticket to safety: Tools at forefront of travel risk management

Not many firms implement travel risk management programs. Pic: Patrick Foto/Shutterstock

THERE is no shying away from it; the world is a complicated and at times dangerous place to navigate. From travel disruptions and civil unrest to terror attacks, natural disasters and disease outbreaks, travel comes with risks and for those who do it regularly, the chances of encountering a problem can be higher.

Despite this, Business Travel News reports only 40 percent of travel managers surveyed last year had implemented risk management programs at the end of 2015, and 30 percent had no plans or intentions of employing one in the future.

Duty of Care

These results are surprising, considering in many countries including the United Kingdom, United States and Australia, Duty of Care legislation requires employers to do what is “reasonably practical” to protect and care for staff when they travel domestically or internationally.

The launch in April of the Travel Risk Management Maturity Model (TRM3) Self-Assessment Tool could therefore not have come at a better time for companies that either lack a provision altogether or whose programs need an overhaul.

Developed by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation and iJET, it assesses risk management in 10 Key Process Areas (KPAs) – policies and procedures, training, risk assessment, risk disclosure, risk mitigation, risk monitoring, response and recovery, notification, data management and program communication – and provides a rating plus recommendations to reduce or eliminate weaknesses.

Popular tools

To meet Duty of Care obligations, a travel risk management program needs to include both proactive elements like safety training and communication policies and reactive elements such as risk reports and itinerary or traveler tracking.

SEE ALSO: More companies enlisting travel risk programs for employees

Many of these functions can be fulfilled by travel applications that are either self-managed or delivered by travel management companies or full-service providers.

One tool that is becoming increasingly popular is smartphone GPS tracking.

These apps have great appeal as they provide real-time monitoring of traveler movement with greater accuracy and speed than other methods like corporate credit card swipe tracing. Providers like Anvil combine it with additional features like a panic button so an immediate response can be given to a traveler in trouble.

Intelligence-driven solutions such as those offered by iJET are equally valuable. These platforms often combine several technologies such as map interfaces, itinerary tracking, country risk ratings and traveler alert systems to monitor health and security risks around the clock and send prompt notifications when incidents are detected.

Data-driven rating tools can be used by travelers themselves. Rather than rely on contact from a third party, apps like GeoSure use advanced analytics and insights – cyber security, basic freedoms and physical threat – to enable users to check safety at a city and even neighborhood level as they move around.

While there are numerous solutions to facilitate travel risk management, the precise delivery and tools used will ultimately depend on the needs of a company and its employees.

For smaller businesses with more basic requirements, travel apps may be sufficient to meet Duty of Care obligations. But larger firms and organizations with complex travel programs will likely require a comprehensive risk management offering to match.

SEE ALSO: More women blazing the train for solo travel