Delivering on duty of care – the coronavirus crisis means one of the biggest topics in business travel right now is travel risk management

There remains a state of uncertainty in the world right now. In many countries the first steps after lockdowns have been very tentative and concern is seemingly increasing that we may not yet have a hold on a global pandemic that has changed all of our lives. Every task we complete has some form of risk assessment, but right now risk management is front and foremost in our minds as we make simple decisions about leaving our home environment.

Risk management has been a key aspect of every business travel programme, but is something that will be much more evident as corporate travel rises once more. The business travel sector has had years of experience in dealing with unplanned disruptions ranging from epidemics and volcanic eruptions to inclement weather and geopolitical unrest. They may not be on scale of the current unprecedented situation, but being prepared for unpredictable situations remains a key platform for making any travel programme effectively support duty of care obligations.

In the ‘new normal’ it is now more than ever before, important – even perhaps essential – to put travellers at the heart of travel policies and know what’s important to them. Some travellers will have concerns about returning to business travel and understanding and addressing these concerns will be key to reigniting corporate travel in the post Covid-19 environment.

A new whitepaper ‘Effective Travel Risk Management – Foundations and Tools’ from travel management company FCM Travel Solutions says there are six main foundations of an effective travel risk management programme.

These range from having a clear, up to date and well-defined travel policy to ensure expectations are clear regarding the type of travel allowed and maintaining visibility of traveller whereabouts; ensuring relevant travel insurance coverage; to ensuring travellers have access to the right tools and support lines that ensure they have access to high quality safety and security services.

They also include the guidance to consolidate all bookings through one channel to ensure complete visibility of where your travellers are, and the ability to communicate quickly in the event of a crisis. Alongside this there is an increased importance “to use reputable suppliers, particularly for hotels, airlines and car hire companies,” because this will “affect a traveller’s overall travel experience and the ability to assist in emergency situations”.

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