5 steps to build the perfect travel risk management program
While travel risk management has always been a critical part of corporate travel, the pandemic has emphasized the importance of having a watertight travel risk management program in place.
Every time your employees travel for business, they are exposed to a spectrum of health, safety, and security risks that your travel risk management program should effectively protect them from.
Let’s take a look at the steps involved in building a travel risk management program that effectively handles risk mitigation and reduces the frequency and severity of business travel-related incidents.
1. Clearly define policies and procedures -- and communicate them to employees
As an employer, you have duty of care obligations to your employees to facilitate safe business trips and travel plans. The success of your program depends largely on how well you craft your travel security policies and procedures and communicate them to employees.
From details on regional restrictions to what to do in case of an emergency, your travel policy should cover every detail and should be clearly explained, leaving no room for misunderstandings.
You’ll also need to outline the steps business travelers should take in the event of an emergency and who’s involved in communicating with and supporting travelers. Your travel risk management policy should also clearly lay out the steps for business travel approval, including workflows and who exactly is involved in the approval process.
Once you’ve defined your policies and procedures, communicate them to employees. This can be done via email, an employee portal, or a business messaging tool -- however, make sure your policies are available and visible wherever your employees make business travel bookings.
2. Access real-time data to inform travel decisions
Decisions about traveler safety and well-being should not be made based on guesswork. Ensuring that you have access to real-time information that informs travel decisions is an integral part of building a travel management program.
Some travel management companies, like TravelPerk, offer the data and information you need to make safe, reliable, and effective global travel decisions. Our TravelCare solution provides organizations with the latest travel data for any countries their employees will visit, and provides real-time updates before, after, and during the trip.
Plus, the solution, which is built into every trip search, alerts both you and employees about:
- Current or near-future travel restrictions
- Any issues with transportation methods (air traffic control strikes, for example)
- COVID rates in the area
3. Enforce relevant pre-travel training for business travelers
As well as your travel managers, traveling employees should also complete pre-trip training to help them stay as safe as possible during trips.
From material that covers emergencies and crises to basic on-the-road skills and health and safety training, making sure your employees are trained and up to date is a key part of any travel risk management program.
When employees travel to high-risk destinations, make sure that they’re trained and equipped with everything they need to know about the country and regions. However, you also need to make sure that you have procedures in place -- such as automatic alerts via your travel management platform -- to prevent employees from booking travel within countries that fall outside your risk parameters.
4. Develop a travel risk assessment framework for business travel in higher-risk regions
For higher-risk regions, you’ll need a solid assessment framework for evaluating traveler safety.
As well as general, non-regional security concerns, your travel risk management program and its assessment process should cover the following potential threats in any regions your employees may travel to:
- Any political instabilities
- The potential for natural disasters
- Any regional endemic diseases
- Crime rates in the region
- Country-level entry requirements
- Limited/non-existent rights for the LGBTQIA+ community
On top of this, you’ll also need to consider each traveler’s personal profile. For example, does the employee have any medical conditions that they might require care for during the trip? Does their gender and/or religion place them at a higher risk in the travel destination country?
To support this framework, consider using a travel management platform to track employees while they travel in higher-risk regions as well as low-risk ones. TravelPerk’s traveler tracking functionality enables travel managers to gain immediate visibility of their employees when they’re traveling, and of any potential risks or disruptions they’re exposed to.
5. Build out a communication and support plan for employees involved in incidents while traveling
Your employees need to know who to contact and how to access support if they’re involved in an incident while traveling. From unexpected hotel cancellations to serious health emergencies, employee support must be covered in a crisis management plan.
As well as the emergency contact phone numbers, this section should outline how the employee should report any incidents and what you as an employer will do to support them.
For peace of mind, organizations should turn to professional solutions to help them manage their emergency response plans. TravelPerk’s customer care service is available to assist travelers 24/7, 365 days of the year, with a target 15-second response time. Travelers will speak to humans instead of chatbots, and receive specialized support to help them manage the incident.