04 May Addressing Common Gaps in Corporate Travel Risk Management
I recently shared insights on addressing gaps in hotel security as safety rightly becomes a top priority. While hotel security presents a significant opportunity for improvement in our industry, every element of a trip presents risks that travel managers must consider, and where appropriate, mitigate to protect their employees when they’re traveling for work—and to protect their company from potential financial and reputational damage.
Today, we’ll uncover three common opportunities for improvement in corporate travel policies and offer insights to ensure you’re minding these potential gaps.
Assessing Travel and Travelers
As we emerge from the pandemic, more companies are being mindful about the need for travel. This is an important shift in mindset for our new world. Taking this one step further, corporations can build travel and traveler assessment into their travel policies, first determining if business travel is even necessary. Given that any trip involves some level of risk, any necessary travel must be authorized and the organization must be aware.
Travelers should also be assessed based on their ability to take a given trip. This could include:
- Whether they are experienced enough for a specific trip (e.g., do they have experience navigating foreign countries, particularly higher risk ones?)
- Whether they are healthy and fit to travel, which is data you can gather through voluntary traveler disclosures or possibly through your Organizational Health function if there is one.
- Where they’re going (e.g., which country, what part of a city, etc.), what they’re doing and whom they’re meeting, assessing each for risk
Traveler assessment will be part of the forthcoming ISO 31030 Travel Risk Management Standard when it is released later this year, so planning for it now is critical for your corporation, and it’s the right move to demonstrate you care about your employees.
Knowing Vendor Performance
How closely are you evaluating your vendors’ performance on safety and security? When it comes to hotels, are you assuming travelers are safe because they’re at a chain—but failing to consider that many branded hotels operate independently? If you answered no to those questions, you’re not alone. But you should know that hotels can present significant risks and, in many big cities, are magnets for criminal activity. It’s important to ensure any properties you’re using have third-party accreditation or other credible validation of standards; in fact, ISO 31030 will specify that any verification that is not conducted by a credible third party or evidence based will no longer be seen as acceptable practice. Additionally, you’ll want to consider the airlines you’re using and ensure they’re fully accredited. Unfortunately, some airlines may present risks in terms of the standards of pilot and maintenance accreditation.
Considering All Aspects of the Trip
Many corporate risk management programs consider airlines and hotels but neglect on-the-ground aspects like ground transportation. In fact, ground transportation poses one of the biggest safety and security threats during business travel, but many companies don’t think about how an employee will get from their airport to their hotel. Traveling by taxi is a known danger in some parts of the world, and the proliferation of ride-sharing apps has increased the need for careful management of this area.
If you’re looking for help getting started, GSA is here to support travel management companies with consultation, assessment and security accreditation in line with the upcoming ISO 31030 Travel Risk Management Standard. Additionally, we work with corporations to help them understand their responsibilities and enable them to choose hotels that are compliant with security standards.