Travel Tech @ FROSCH: Risk Management
In a globally connected business world with corporate staff jetting off in all directions, companies are exploring new technologies and travel tools to reduce the risks to their employees and their business transactions. According to a recent AirPlus International survey, for example, 61 percent of corporate travel buyers in North America and Europe said their organizations issue pre-trip advisories for high-risk areas. That was up from 41 percent in a similar 2011 survey. At the same time, those indicating that no safety and security components are included in corporate travel policies declined to 16 percent from 19 percent last year.
The US State department has always issued travel warnings to hot spots around the globe. These were sufficient for a different era where all one was interested in was to avoid traveling to the hotspots if possible. Today, business happens in all these locations where travel warnings are a routine. How can a company manage risks to match business goals? Apart from the ability to know proactively about the problem locations, there are a number of tools, technologies, and services available now to help ensure their employees’ safety and well-being.
A basic tenet of risk management is to “reduce exposure to loss” and determine what steps can be put in place to manage travel risk. Risk management plans also need to consider prescriptive guidance that can be offered to business travelers such as what to pack (or not to take) to certain countries, how to handle specific situations etc. Awareness and training of their traveling staff should be considered part of risk management. In this context, businesses should take a planned methodical process in their travel risk management. Travel Managers will need to prepare for any eventuality that may affect their employees that travel.
First and foremost is to ensure they get a real-time view of the travelers in their locations (local or international). Correlating this information with the real-time travel alerts they receive will enable them to focus and get a full understanding of what mitigating circumstances they will need to consider. Several tools are available that TMC’s like FROSCH can provide, that will enable travel managers to receive these real-time alerts on only specific locations that may be of interest to them.
The next item in risk management process involves traveler tracking. This will allow travel managers to track those specific travelers and the hotspots. With the ubiquitous presence of mobile devices, GPS tracking has enabled several travel tools to “view” the affected travelers on a Google Map for example. From the number of affected travelers and the type of emergency, travel managers will be able to assess the level of impact to their company.
Last but not least, travel managers need to formulate a response plan that will enable them to deal with contingencies. A planned timely response should have a tiered approach depending on the type and level of the alert. Each response approach takes into consideration scenarios such medical emergency, a whole scale evacuation, or legal trouble such as imprisonment to make sure the traveler can be quickly taken out of harm’s way and ensure their well-being. Apart from this the response plan should also provide local contacts for the traveler that can provide the necessary help to affected employees.
By Sridhar Balaji, VP, Engineering