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A VISUAL GUIDE TO
TAKING ON TRAVEL RISK MANAGEMENT

A VISUAL GUIDE TO
TAKING ON TRAVEL RISK MANAGEMENT

Travel managers are taking on more responsibility when it comes to travel risk management. BTN research showed that especially for midmarket enterprises, travel managers are spearheading TRM efforts, whereas larger companies are putting primary responsibility in corporate security departments or with a health, safety or risk management team. Even so, travel managers are integral to TRM and often serve as a first-line corporate contact for traveler medical emergencies or trip disruption response. They are often the ones putting the wheels in motion with TMC partners, liaising with full-service travel risk management firms and escalating travel-related crisis situations to their internal security or risk management counterparts. Emergency response can't happen without having TRM infrastructure in place. That includes a coordinated team, well-defined roles and responsibilities, a risk assessment and mitigation strategy, risk monitoring tools and communication strategy, effective data management and an overarching TRM program communication plan that keeps all TRM program stakeholders engaged and prepared to act. It's past time to make a plan. BTN offers this visual guide and checklist to get you started.

Gauge Your TRM Maturity
Where does your company fit on the travel risk management spectrum. Here's one easy way to diagnose.

Source: International SOS; Duty of Care & Travel Risk Management Global Benchmarking Study; 2011

REACTIONARY
  • Inconsistent TRM policy and procedure
  • Rudimentary traveler training, if any
  • Inconsistent risk monitoring
  • Minimum data management

LEGALISTIC

  • Consistent TRM policy and procedure
  • General travel safety training 
  • Consistent pre-trip risk monitoring and notification 
  • Data management for traveler tracking
  • Legal and executive management buy-in
DUTY OF CARE/SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
  • Risk management policy includes all employees, not just travelers
  • Proactive manager and traveler safety training
  • Consistent pre-trip and on-trip risk monitoring and communication
  • Clear data management for traveler tracking and response coordination
  • Executive management and legal engagement
  • Incident response reported and measured for improvement
REACTIONARY

LEGALISTIC

DUTY OF CARE/SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
  • Inconsistent TRM policy and procedure
  • Rudimentary traveler training, if any
  • Inconsistent risk monitoring
  • Minimum data management

 

  • Consistent TRM policy and procedure
  • General travel safety training 
  • Consistent pre-trip risk monitoring and notification 
  • Data management for traveler tracking
  • Legal and executive management buy-in
  • Risk management policy includes all employees, not just travelers
  • Proactive manager and traveler safety training
  • Consistent pre-trip and on-trip risk monitoring and communication
  • Clear data management for traveler tracking and response coordination
  • Executive management and legal engagement
  • Incident response reported and measured for improvement

PHASE ONE
TRM Stakeholders

TAKING THE LEAD
  • Travel Management
  • Corporate Security
  • Health, Safety, Risk Management
EXECUTIVE SUPPORT
High-profile political unrest and terror attacks since 2015 have increased awareness of TRM in corner offices.
IN THE TRM LOOP
% of companies that consider the following groups TRM stakeholders
Organizations that fail to include executive management and legal departments as stakeholders in travel risk management show a weak understanding of TRM. Should an incident occur, organizations can be held legally and financially liable for harm to their employees. In the U.K. senior corporate executives have been prosecuted under the country's Corporate Manslaughter laws for employee deaths. This law can apply to companies outside the U.K. that send employees into the country for work, including transient travelers. Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany and Norway also have laws that treat corporate negligence as a crime. 
REALITY CHECK:
High-profile incidents build TRM awareness, but remember that medical issues, road traffic accidents and petty crime are much more common.
Source: BTN Taking On Travel Risk Management Survey, February 2017

PHASE TWO
Travel Risk Assessment

Source: International SOS and Control Risks www.travelriskmap.com
MARKET THREATS
  • Geopolitical: Ongoing or recent civil unrest, war, recent terror incidents, raised threat levels.
  • Criminal: Rates of violent crimes, kidnappings, petty crime, illegal drug trafficking, etc.
  • Regulatory: Border restrictions, tax codes, workers rights, drug laws, sex trade, etc.
  • Cultural: For example, does the government criminalize homosexuality or curb women's rights to a degree that increases risk to corporate travelers?
  • Infectious Disease: Avian flu, Ebola, Zika, etc.
  • Weather/Environmental Hazards: Worksite conditions or issues like air quality or dynamics like earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes, etc.
TRAVELER PROFILE
  • Traveler Health: Is the traveler fit for travel?
  • Travel Patterns & Compliance: For example, the traveler’s percent of overnight flights, international car rentals or car rentals directly following long-haul flights, booking compliance through the agency, hotel attachment rates and other gaps that prevent proper data collection.
TRAVEL PARTNER VETTING
  • Sourcing Protocol:  Are suppliers sourced and vetted for safety standards and emergency management, particularly in new, emerging or unfamiliar markets?
  • In-Market Transportation:  Pay close attention to ground transportation safety.
* This list is not comprehensive but meant to provide consideration points.
REALITY CHECK:
When was the last time your company conducted a risk assessment of its major travel markets?
7% IN THE LAST 3 YEARS
7% IN THE LAST 2 YEARS
25% IN THE LAST YEAR
6% PLANNED THIS YEAR
54% NEVER / I DON’T KNOW
Source: BTN Taking On Travel Risk Management Survey, February 2017
REALITY CHECK:
When was the last time your company conducted a risk assessment of its major travel markets?
7% IN THE LAST 3 YEARS
7% IN THE LAST 2 YEARS
25% IN THE LAST YEAR
6% PLANNED THIS YEAR
54% NEVER / I DON’T KNOW
BTN Taking On Travel Risk Management Survey, February 2017

PHASE THREE
Trip Risk Assessment

ESTABLISH A SYSTEM
Using your established threat list, evaluate your top 20 city pairs for risk. BCD Travel recommended one way to evaluate trip risk level by answering the following questions:
  • Likelihood: What is the probability that the event will happen?
  • Impact: how much damage could it cause?
Source: BCD Travel; Travel Risk Management: Keeping business travelers safe and secure; 2014
An exercise like this can help establish and then refine a system for evaluating trip risk and establishing a tolerance threshold. Ideally trip risk assessment should be automated and a risk level assigned to every trip using up-to-date market data.
IDENTIFY HIGH-RISK TRAVEL
Search travel data for known high-risk markets. Find out which business units frequent them. Baseline risk levels for these trips and create specific policies and procedures to govern high-risk travel. Prohibit travel to certain markets, if appropriate.
WHO’S TRAVELING?
Business continuity risk for the company increases with traveler seniority level.

PHASE FOUR
Trip Risk Mitigation

ACCORDING TO INTERNATIONAL SOS, TRM SHOULD DO 1 OF 3 THINGS WITH THREATS, IN THIS PRIORITY:
TRAVEL RISK POLICY & PROCEDURE
  • Even at companies where travel and risk management policies are separate, risk mitigation should be “baked into” travel policy, including data opt-ins and risk training.
  • Brief TMCs and configure online booking tools to block prohibited markets. TMCs and OBTs should manage travel parameters that, for example, allow upgrades for overnight or long-haul flights, control ground transportation options after long-haul flights or limit the number of employees on a single flight. Use these tools to manage additional approval requirements for high-risk markets.
  • Traditional travel management policy dictates that travelers book through their TMC channels, as this provides the richest data for locating travelers in emergencies. Other methods, such as requiring travelers to forward itineraries to their managers, should serve as a backstop.
  • Require employees to read travel and risk management policies, take TRM training and provide mobile phone numbers before they are permitted to travel.
GENERAL PREPAREDNESS
  • Traveler DataEnsure traveler profiles include mobile phone numbers and emergency contacts.
  • Training: General TRM training for travelers can improve situational awareness and encourage best practices. Require additional training before high-risk trips. Extend TRM training to travel arrangers and department managers.
  • Health & Medical: Order general health checks, trip-specific vaccinations, business travel insurance and supplemental insurance as appropriate.
  • On-the-Ground Assistance: Midmarket programs, in particular, tend to fall short in partnerships with on-the-ground medical assistance and/or evacuation services.
TRIP-SPECIFIC RISK MITIGATION
Automatically flag travel bookings that exceed a certain risk threshold so you can institute a trip-specific mitigation plan, from upgrading a hotel reservation, enabling chauffeured transportation with a vetted supplier, market-specific cultural training, GPS traveler tracking to a personal security detail.

REALITY CHECK:

51%
51%

51%

of companies provide no traveler safety or travel risk training to their employees.
Source: BTN Taking On Travel Risk Management Survey, February 2017

REALITY CHECK:

51%
51%

51%

of companies provide no traveler safety or travel risk training to their employees.
BTN Taking On Travel Risk Management Survey, February 2017

PHASE FIVE
Travel Risk Monitoring

PRE-TRIP
  • Trip Risk Evaluation & Disclosure:  Communicate trip risks to the traveler. If risk exceeds the acceptable threshold, implement a trip-specific risk mitigation plan.
  • Pre-Trip Risk Updates:  Threat levels change all the time; TMCs often offer 24/7 risk monitoring and can automate alerts to travelers who booked through the TMC or approved booking tool.
ON-TRIP
  • Mobile Alerts & Messaging: 24/7 risk monitoring tools with SMS alerts to update travelers; mobile messaging tools can include “help” or “I'm OK” buttons so organizations can assist affected travelers.
  • GPS TrackingFor high-risk markets, GPS tracking can be installed on mobile phones with opt-in permission from the traveler.
  • Predictive Risk Monitoring: Artificial intelligence tools digest historical and current data on crime, geopolitics and other factors to predict emerging market-specific threat levels.
POST-TRIP
  • Report Incidents: If a medical or other emergency occurred, report through proper channels.
  • Analyze Travel Patterns: Are travelers driving home after long trips, for example? Implement preventative policies.
  • Trip Stress Analysis & Notification: New tools can track individual traveler patterns to advise companies and alert employees that their choices may affect their health and productivity.
REALITY CHECK:
62%
62%
51%
of companies have 24/7 threat monitoring in place, often through their TMC partners.
Source: BTN Taking On Travel Risk Management Survey, February 2017

REALITY CHECK:

62%
62%
62%
of companies have 24/7 threat monitoring in place, often through their TMC partners.
BTN Taking On Travel Risk Management Survey, February 2017

PHASE SIX
Traveler & Data Management

Ongoing travel data aggregation forms the backbone of TRM. Knowing travelers' whereabouts is the only way to get assistance to them.
  • TMC Data: Richest data set, but subject to change as trip progresses or is disrupted
  • Off-Channel Booking Data: Itinerary aggregators like TripIt or Traxo
  • Credit Card Swipe Data: For programs with highly compliant corporate card users
  • GPS Tracking: Specific use cases; can drain phone battery, get turned off or left behind
  • Social Media: Emerging providers scan Facebook, Twitter and other social sites for data associated with corporate travelers
Quality data on traveler whereabouts comes from a confluence of quality tools and compliance management. Both are required to arrive at clean, meaningful data.
REALITY CHECK:
31%
31%
of companies do not manage data for the purpose of travel risk management.
Source: BTN Taking On Travel Risk Management Survey, February 2017
REALITY CHECK:
31%
of companies do not manage data for the purpose of travel risk management.
BTN Taking On Travel Risk Management Survey, February 2017

PHASE SEVEN
Practice, Track, Improve

  • TRM Program Training Communication: Do all stakeholders understand the TRM program and know their roles and responsibilities?
  • Incident Management Exercises: Practice TRM procedures and process periodically before emergencies become crises.
  • Record Incidents & Track Performance: Is there a pattern in the type of emergency? Did internal stakeholders and external partners follow response procedure; was response time and method effective; did any affected travelers go unassisted?
  • GPS Tracking: Specific use cases; can drain phone battery, get turned off or left behind
  • Implement an Improvement Plan: Report incidents and performance to executive management; identify where the process broke down; how could the emergency have been prevented?
MEASURE TRM KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
Potential KPIs Include:
  • Up-to-date traveler profiles, including phone numbers (% complete)
  • Travelers tracked in high-risk destinations
  • Number of reported incidents
RESOURCES:
BCD Travel; Travel Risk Management: Keeping business travelers safe and secure; 2014
iJET; Travel Risk Management & Maturity Model™ (TRM3™); 2015
International SOS; Duty of Care & Travel Risk Management Global Benchmarking Study; 2011
International SOS Foundation; Legal Perspective on the Health, Safety & Security Responsibilities for US Mobile Workforce: Employer best practices and travel risk management checklist; February 2017
Special thanks to Will Herter, director in the crisis and resilience practice of Control Risks, for his insights

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