The corporate travel sector has felt the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic at its core, as business travel ground to a halt for many organisations.
So where does that leave travel managers?
The difference between duty of care and risk management
The terms duty of care and travel risk management are often used interchangeably, but both have their own definition that remains distinct from the other.
Duty of care is an organisation’s moral and legal obligation to keep its employees safe. It compels companies to take responsibility for the health, safety, and security of their employees, whether they’re in the office or away on a business trip.
Travel risk management, on the other hand, is the strategy that ensures that obligation is fulfilled. It’s what brings duty of care policies and goals to life.
Although the volume of business travel has been greatly reduced, travel managers are under more pressure than ever before, wanting to prove their worth and develop strategies and programmes fit for a future that feels wildly unpredictable - all at a time when resources are limited, teams are leaner and economies unstable.
As a result, an increasing number of travel managers are finding themselves spending more time on travel risk management than they have done in previous years.
From travel management to travel risk management
Although risks have always been part of corporate travel, and duty of care has long been part of the conversation around developing a cohesive travel programme, the last year has heightened everyone’s sensitivity and understanding of what it means to travel safely.
Routes, processes and routines that all of us took for granted prior to the pandemic can no longer be relied on in order to ensure the health and safety of travellers, and the ever-evolving nature of the Covid-19 virus means that it’s challenging to understand where to start when it comes to travel risk management.
How often do you deal with travel risk management as part of your role?
- From time to time
Here are three key considerations for travel managers trying to navigate a new world and an amended role:
Although anything that begins with ISO can often summon up visions of long and stressful audits, ISO 31030 is likely to be welcomed by those responsible for the management of corporate travel within their organisation.
A global standard that intends to provide guidance to corporate organisations on managing the risk associated with travel, ISO 31030 has been developed to address increased levels of anxiety about travel risk.
ISO 31030 will provide organisations with the chance to boost internal assurance about the safety of travel, as well as improving employees’ confidence in travel. Meeting ISO 31030’s standards will show travellers that your organisation is taking all necessary steps to mitigate travel risk.
The guidelines are expected to be published in full between June-August 2021. We have put together a short FAQ document sharing what we know so far about ISO 31030 in order to help travel managers be best prepared.
2. Review sources of Covid-19 information
Staying up-to-date with the latest travel advice regarding Covid-19 and avoiding information overwhelm seems like a Catch-22, but it’s a challenge that many travel managers are having to undertake.
Although it’s important to have access to all necessary information that pertains to travel restrictions, governmental advice and test and vaccination developments,
it’s even more important that the information travel managers are exposed to is relevant and accurate. An uncertain and emotive situation, such as the pandemic, is ripe for misunderstanding and inaccuracies to flourish and so working based on accredited and reliable information is essential.
We would recommend streamlining your information sources and prioritising those that are verified and can be tailored down to only share information that is relevant to your organisation's location, your travellers’ most frequent destinations and the way that your company travels for business.
Talk to your TMC about accessing apps and widgets that search for the travel restrictions, governmental guidelines and
testing policies for an upcoming trip or relevant location and present you with only the most relevant information. It is also a good idea to ensure that you and your travel stakeholders are signed up to a real-time travel alerts service such as ATPI Alerts.
Constant reviewing of and amendments to your travel processes and policies in order to keep up with changing travel guidelines can feel overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in having to do this. Travel managers around the world are staging similar projects and likely feel the same - as a result, their TMCs are undergoing the same projects too.
Although a lot of corporate travel has been grounded for the past year, TMCs have stayed busy becoming experts in all things travel restrictions and travel risk management. They will have spent a lot of
time advising organisations how they can best prepare for a return to travel safely, as well receiving regular updates from travel suppliers on what they are doing to best support corporate customers.
Don’t be hesitant to rely on the expertise and guidance of your TMC and seek reassurance from them when things feel challenging.