12 Dec How secure is my Accommodation Programme?
Duty of care remains a top priority for travel managers – with 73 per cent of travel management professionals ranking it as the most important challenge facing the industry. Accommodation choices have the highest potential to be a ‘weak link’ in meeting these duty of care responsibilities in corporate travel programming. To ensure best practice, extreme care should be taken to ensure the risks and concerns of travellers regarding their security are addressed by travel managers.
Travel managers have a responsibility to mitigate risk and unfortunately the current accommodation security landscape is proving to be an area of concern requiring greater management. Hotels are seen as a soft target for criminals due to their high footfall and open-access nature; often becoming data rich playgrounds for cyber criminals. Yet all other services in an hotel environment are regulated except security.
Understanding security standards in RFPs
Security and safety questions are included in requests for proposal (RFPs). However, it is difficult for travellers and travel managers to measure if these standards are being implemented, enforced and maintained.
Standards and security capabilities in hotels vary enormously and can largely be self-regulating when it comes to the protection of guests. Travel risk managers are in the firing line when security issues arise, so it is essential to work with accommodation providers that operate with high security standards. A requirement for accreditation can be incorporated into RFP processes. Hotels are then required to meet the standards to enter the procurement process, which would be at a cost to the hotel rather than the travel management company (TMC) or corporate.
Demonstrating a duty of care
64 per cent of travel security professionals believe the risks facing business travellers have increased. Due to a rise in incidents, travel insurance companies are taking a greater interest in the activities undertaken by corporates to help reduce claims. By demonstrating a desire to mitigate risk, travel managers can benefit from a saving on travel insurance premiums.
The requirement for accommodation providers to meet security standards is currently not regulated, meaning travellers must rely on trust to ensure their duty of care standards are met. The more complex the structure of property ownership, the harder it is to ensure all standards are consistently being met equally across their network. This is where the opportunity for risk significantly increases.
Independent security assurance
Asking the right questions and obtaining confirmation from every property on your programme, which is evidenced via audit, assures your approach to risk mitigation is considered best practice. With the launch of the ISO 31030 standard expected in the next year – which requires organisations to seek independent confirmation of the security standards of hotels – now is the time to encourage accommodation providers to consider external accreditation.
Global Secure Accreditation carries out a risk-based audit to determine the levels and type of security that must be evidenced by the hotel based on physical, geopolitical, socio-economic and other assessment criteria. In a crowded market, a GSA accreditation provides corporate clients with reassurance that a TMC and its accommodation programme delivers an enhanced duty of care.