Expert insight

5 ways to minimise risk in business travel

4 October 2018 by Trevor Elswood

From education to technology and more, meet your duty of care and keep your travellers safe with Trevor Elswood’s top tips.

1. Don’t treat your travellers as a homogeneous group

Travel managers have understandably tended to focus on and plan around ‘high-impact, high-probability’ risks, yet they should also consider the profile of their travellers. “I think there can be oversights in relation to risk and certain persona groups,” explains Capita Travel and Events’ chief commercial officer, Trevor Elswood. “We have many retail customers, for example, which have a high proportion of young and novice travellers who may be visiting stores in big cities for training. Travel managers might not think of this as a high-risk scenario, but they need to consider the support that this type of inexperienced traveller might need.”

2. Think about how often your people are travelling

Depending on when, where and how often they are travelling, certain groups of employees may be more at risk – even in the UK. So, try not to make assumptions about travel and the level of risk. “Many business travellers in the UK will get flights very early in the morning, arrive back late at night, and then drive home,” says Elswood. “This can be just as exhausting as coming off a transatlantic flight, yet those travellers will always be advised to take a taxi home. Travel managers can forget about these simple kinds of risk.”

3. Evaluate your policy, processes and traveller education

Elswood suggests that travel managers should carefully think through their policy and the processes required to meet its guidelines. “If your policy says that travellers can’t go to a high-risk area without authorisation, the process for booking and getting trips authorised must be clear – whether it’s ensuring you have the right vaccinations or you need extra insurance,” he says. Education is likewise crucial and this should be geared towards your frequent travellers, as well as your novice travellers. “The tone of communication would differ to achieve desired impact; that’s where behavioural science plays its part,” Elswood adds.

4. Utilise technology before, during and after a trip

There are a number of ways that technology can be used to help mitigate risk. “Before travel, certain triggers can be built into the booking process, so if a traveller is booking a trip which is outside of the policy guidelines, the HR department can be notified by a message and intervene,” says Elswood. During a trip, a mobile app can provide travellers with access to essential information, while also allowing travel managers to send push notifications to their travellers. “How many people travel abroad without knowing what the emergency number is?” asks Elswood. “You can send a simple message with this number on the day of travel and, again, this helps to create a safe environment.” And lastly, Capita Travel and Events has an online education centre with e-learning modules on risk and wellbeing, so travellers can learn about the steps they can take to keep safe.

5. Support your travellers 24/7

Capita Travel and Events’ dedicated support team can help with all aspects of travel, and is available 24/7, 365 days a year for that added peace of mind. “We take an incredible amount of calls that are related to wellbeing,” Elswood explains. “People might be lost or they may be feeling nervous and need reassurance. During security incidents or disruption caused by bad weather, we speak to people on the telephone as incidents are unfolding, giving them advice on what to do.” Traveller tracking tools can also help to locate your travellers, so you can quickly identify if they are at risk or need extra support in the event of a security incident, he adds.

For more on the benefits of 24/7 support, read the first in our series of articles on what a travel management specialist can do for you.

Interested? Let’s have a chat about your company’s travel, meetings and events objectives - from the stuff that keeps you awake at night, to the everyday experiences of your employees! Call us on 0330 390 0340, or submit the details below, with an idea of the times that suit you for a call.