In today’s interconnected world, travel has become an integral part of doing business. But while corporate travel can be an exciting and rewarding perk, it’s not without risks. That means business leaders should prioritise employee safety when they head off to meet clients or colleagues.

What’s the solution? A travel risk management partner. It can play a vital role in creating a program that helps safeguard your employees and minimise threats to their well-being.

Learn how a travel risk management program can benefit your employees and your company. By becoming better prepared to reduce business travel risks, you can eliminate some of the stress your employees face when they’re traveling for work.

What are the benefits of a travel risk management program?

We’ll start by answering the question, “What is travel risk management?” and explaining why it matters.

When people are travelling on behalf of your company, you have a moral and legal obligation to prioritise their health and safety and contribute to their well-being. Travel risk management is a comprehensive, strategic approach that identifies, assesses, and mitigates any potential risks your employees may encounter when travelling — anything from political instability and health concerns to weather extremes and security threats. It’s a proactive solution that includes pre-travel training, real-time communication, emergency response plans, and the use of technology to monitor and track travellers.

An effective travel risk management plan can help with:

  • Understanding potential threats: The wide array of cultures, landscapes, and political climates around the globe make the world an exciting place, but it also presents a unique set of risks for travellers. Everything from natural disasters and civil unrest to health emergencies and cyber threats can create challenges for travellers. Recognising potential risks is the first step in an effective travel risk governance plan. By conducting thorough pre-trip travel risk assessments, your organisation can identify and avoid high-risk situations that put employees in danger.
  • Protecting human capital: Keeping your employees safe is vitally important. A comprehensive travel risk management plan gives them access to emergency assistance if a crisis arises. But the advantages of a risk management plan go far beyond simply fulfilling your legal and moral duty of care obligation. An effective plan also provides peace of mind that can make employees feel protected and supported. It can boost morale and productivity and lead to higher job satisfaction and employee retention.
  • Saving money: It’s true that there are increased costs associated with travel risk management. But an unforeseen travel-related disruption or crisis, such as a medical emergency or evacuation, can exceed the added expense of an effective travel risk management plan.
  • Safeguarding your reputation: In the age of social media, news of travel-related incidents can spread around the globe at the speed of light. If not managed effectively, employee travel mishaps and disasters can damage your brand and erode trust in your company. In the event of an emergency, travel risk management can protect your organisation’s reputation and maintain the confidence of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Staying legally compliant: Regulatory travel safety frameworks have become increasingly stringent. Organisations that violate regulations may face legal consequences. A travel risk management program keeps your company in compliance with local and international laws governing traveller safety and can help you implement policies that are aligned with travel risk management ISO 31030. It’s an international standard that encourages companies to create policies and procedures for corporate travel, conduct thorough risk assessments, and implement risk mitigation assessments to help keep employees safe.
  • Guiding strategic decision-making: A well-established travel risk management solution provides your company with valuable data and insights that you can use to make informed, risk-based assessments about the safety of specific travel destinations, modes of transportation, accommodations, and more.

How to implement a travel risk management solution

Travel risk management has always been an essential component of corporate travel programs, but health and safety challenges in recent years have underscored the need for a corporate policy to protect travelling employees. Be proactive and follow these steps to make sure you’re covered:

Create a business travel policy: Every organisation should have clearly defined policies and procedures in place that outline all the details of your corporate travel policy – from how to plan a business trip, to rules for on-site spending, to what to do in an emergency. Once your policy is in place, make sure it’s clearly communicated and available to your employees at all times.

Use real-time data to guide travel plans and conduct risk assessments: A partner that specialises in international risk management will provide access to up-to-date travel data for all the countries and regions your employees visit. That will give you real-time alerts about potential disruptions before, during, and after a trip that can leave travellers stranded. It can help you stay on top of issues that vary from hotel cancellations and transit strikes to a spike in viruses, civil unrest, or crime rates.

Put pre-trip planning in place: Make sure employees know what they need to do before they set off on their trip. That includes:

  • Applying for visas and other international travel
  • Confirming that recommended vaccinations are up to date.
  • Providing phone numbers, alternate contacts, and other important information so you can reach them immediately if an emergency arises.

Do you know if any employees are traveling to a high-risk region? Does anyone have specialised needs, like a medical condition that might require care abroad? Those are the types of questions to ask. Also aim to find out if anyone might face unique travel challenges due to their gender identity, sexual orientation, or religion. Do a thorough risk assessment to evaluate traveller safety before their departure.

Have a crisis management plan in place: Employees need to know who to contact for support when the unexpected happens. Your crisis response plan should include real-time travel alerts that notify you immediately about potential threats and identify a traveller’s location. You should know where and how to reach employees at any time and have a 24/7 emergency number that employees can call for immediate travel assistance.

Plan for post-travel debriefings: Post-travel debriefings can be just as important as pre-trip briefings. They let you gather feedback from employees about their trip. That way you can identify areas for improvement, refine your risk management strategies, and continually evolve your travel solution.

We’ve answered the question, “What is travel risk management?” Now it’s time to make travel security a priority for your company.

Ready to create a travel policy that supports the safety and success of your employees? Take the first step towards travel risk management with American Express Global Business Travel.