While employees may be eager to get back on the road and return to their road warrior lifestyles, leaving the impact of 2020 and 2021 behind, there’s one facet of travel the past year brought to the forefront: Attention to Risk.
If your company doesn’t have a travel risk management solution in place, now is the time. Risk management solutions are essential as international travel begins to reopen. A traveler with a two-stop international flight may face multiple country rules that are still rapidly changing, tests or vaccination proof at borders, and, potentially, enforced quarantine should a test come back positive amid the ongoing pandemic.
Travel risk management companies have been providing vaccine requirements and key information about destination countries to travelers throughout more stable years for corporate travel, but while risk’s pivot to handle COVID-19 has been more intuitive than for travel at large, risk management companies, too, have innovated and adjusted over the last two years.
Even if you do have a travel risk management solution in place, now is an excellent time to review what protections travel risk management can offer your corporate travelers.
Duty of Care for Travelers
The primary reason to use a travel risk management company comes back to the same reason to use a travel management company (TMC) overall: duty of care. Legally and ethically, companies need to track and help their travelers in the event of an emergency, and the stranding of some travelers amid early-2020 travel restrictions accented this need. While common jargon in the travel industry, note that TMCs, your travel agency providing the agent team booking for you, is not necessarily providing risk management. While some TMCs offer in-house risk solutions, these options will be at additional cost and may or may not be the partner you are looking for; TMCs frequently partner with separate travel risk management companies, contracted by their clients, to provide the full solution.
The extent of in-house Risk a corporation has should always be considered first. If an in-house Risk employee is constantly monitoring TMC data, with internal scenarios in place for emergencies, then the travel risk management sought may simply be strong traveler-tracking software to accommodate this review. If internal risk is absent and only traveler-tracking software is employed, your travel manager may be placed in the position of checking on travelers’ locations him or herself after seeing a news alert. You should also clearly establish with your TMC what actions they take in the event of the emergency: are the agents reaching out to travelers in an impacted area, or is the onus on the internal department? This scenario can vary based on the TMC relationship and contract, so make sure to include your TMC as part of your risk review.
Travel risk management can be boiled down to three critical areas:
- Traveler tracking
- Emergency response
As every travel program is unique, likely so are your needs and what a travel risk management company can bring to your program. When considering industry leaders in risk, you should be aware of the following.
Traditional Travel Management Companies (TMCs), from FCM to American Express Global Business Travel to Radius Travel members and more recent players like Egencia, have been deepening their technology footprint in recent years. Up-to-the-minute traveler tracking, global alerts, and even the ability to contact your traveler through certain TMC apps, are increasingly part of what your TMC brings to the table and should be considered in an agency review. However, at times you may be content with your agency experience from a booking perspective but look for additional risk protection, and your TMC partners can and will work with you should you involve further travel risk management, ensuring all booking information flows to that third party.
While not a security company, if primarily using your TMC for risk management, you may want to consider a software solution like CapTrav for expanded tracking for traveler protection. CapTrav, via corporate email connectivity, captures leakage, ensuring that those travelers who sidestep policy and book outside your travel program are not accidentally missing out on duty of care.
International SOS approaches risk management from a health standpoint, offering the security of a 24/7 response. Their information provision focuses not only on world events but pre-trip packages with critical health information for the region of travel, such as vaccine requirements; employees receive a contact card, and feeds with your TMC are set up with your TravelTracker. If looking for coverage from alerts to airlifts, ISOS is a field leader, particularly from a medical perspective. Notably, ISOS has been partnering with Airbnb and Uber to allow for expanded tracking.
Formerly WorldAware and iJet, this travel risk management solution focuses on world-class threat intelligence and protection, so particularly if sending travelers to unstable regions, you may want to consider Crisis24. The range of services includes not only travel tracking and alerts but addresses concerns like cyber security, executive protection, and response service to events such as corporate kidnappings.
Offering an assistance line, a risk management solution that pairs its tracking with alerts and mass communication options, Anvil offers real-time risk advice via its app, medical services, and security options, with varying packages depending on your requirements.