Managing travel risk more effectively

Travel Risk

Organisations with a travel risk management plan that is communicated and reviewed regularly are in a better position to meet their duty of care obligations. 

Business travel, whether international or domestic, exposes employees to higher levels of risk. Away from the familiarity of home, travellers can be put into situations that expose them to a range of health, safety and security hazards. This increased level of risk for travelling employees, heightens the corporate liability of employers that have a legal and moral duty of care to their staff.

Many countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, UK and the USA have some form of employer duty of care legislation in place. Complying with duty of care obligations at a basic level means that employers must protect the health, safety and security of an employee wherever they work be it onsite or offsite, so far as practically possible.

Here are eight ways your business can take a company-wide and strategic approach to travel risk management (TRM).

Work with a single travel management company

One of the first steps a company can take to managing a mobile workforce as safely as practically possible, is by working with a single travel management company (TMC). By having one point of contact for all your travel needs, companies can streamline their processes and create more visibility over bookings and traveller whereabouts. A TMC also adds an extra layer of support with 24/7 global travel support from Australian-based teams that know your business and program requirements.

Ensure travellers have the correct details and know your emergency processes

Training is an essential part of employee professional development and ensures staff can perform their roles efficiently and as safely as possible. Generally, there are three specific areas of training including traveller training, travel booker or travel arranger training and crisis management training. Ensuring everyone who sits within these three categories knows what to do when there is an emergency, will help to give your risk management plan structure.

Communication of your TRM program - including aspects such as the key contacts to call in an emergency, processes, policies, roles and responsibilities, must be regularly communicated to all levels of staff. Effective communication of your program ensures everyone understands what is expected of them, at all times.

Prepare your travellers heading to high risk destinations

Do you have people travelling to regional or remote locations? How about destinations designated as medium to high risk by the Australian Government ( It doesn’t matter how regularly your people travel to the same destination, safety and security should always be a priority and communicated in some form prior to travel.

Prepare your travellers before they travel whether that’s through an email from your travel booker, advice from your TMC or asking staff to log onto your organisation’s travel HUB to see what the latest news and updates are for different destinations. Make sure they have the latest advice on vaccination requirements and where to get them. Educate staff on potential health risks, how to prevent them and what to do if they do fall ill while they’re travelling for work.

Assessing risk is the foundation of any TRM program. Every assignment, trip or event should be assessed for the potential threat of risk. When reviewing risk, companies need to think about what technology or processes are required to assess risk and incorporate these elements into their overall decision-making process for developing a TRM program.

Centralise travel bookings and requests

Ensuring everyone is booking through the same channel and following the same processes for online and offline bookings is essential. An online booking tool supported by a preferred TMC who can help with complex international travel requests, will ensure you have complete visibility of all bookings from flights to accommodation and car hire bookings.

Develop a clear concise travel policy

A travel policy should support your TRM plan. Your travel policy needs stipulate all your key processes so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to overall travel and booking behaviour. Make sure your travel policy is easy to understand and access, and if any part of the policy is updated, those updates are communicated immediately to staff.

Have a travel risk management plan in place

There are five key components of travel risk management. Your company ideally would have strategies or a process in place for each of these phases -:

  • Identifying the risk
  • Preparing the traveller
  • Tracking the traveller
  • Communicating with the traveller and the broader business
  • Response.

Do you have plans in place for each of the above?

Tap into real time data and reporting

Ensuring you have data and reporting capabilities so that your business can immediately tap into critical data about your travelling employees is also an important component of managing and mitigating travel risks. If your travellers are not booking through an approved channel – this is where your visibility and access to real time data is compromised.

Mitigating and responding to risk

By working with global risk intelligence partners such as iJET or iSOS, your business will stay at the forefront of what’s happening around the world. Proactive monitoring of incidents, weather, industry disruptions or terrorism activity impacting travel schedules, when you have a mobile workforce is essential.

Your TMC or your risk intelligence agency will also provide support and direction in the case of emergency evacuations and repatriations.

Having a TRM plan is great, but response processes, communication channels and traveller perceptions of the available support need to be checked and reviewed regularly.

For advice on how to develop TRM plans incorporating the very latest in traveller tracking and reporting technology, talk to FCM today.

Find out how FCM has worked with Fortescue Metals Group to strengthen their travel risk management plan.

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