The business travel landscape has changed significantly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent survey, 85% of senior travel risk decision makers agreed that the world had become more dangerous over the past 12 months 1 Employees travelling abroad are much more aware of the potential risks, and they expect their employers to have an adequate travel risk management strategy in place to prepare them for any and all challenges they might face.
But what are these risks? We’ve created a checklist of the most pressing business travel hazards your employees might face so you can plan for them effectively.
Industrial action is a common issue affecting travel businesses across the world. With high rates of inflation, many workers in the industry are striking due to low pay and poor working conditions. Staff shortages have also become common. These risks often lead to cancellations and delays, which can significantly disrupt your employees’ travel plans.
Political tensions are running high between a number of different global powers. The war in Ukraine and political instability in many developing nations means that the global travel landscape can be complex and volatile. This can impact your employees’ safety if they travel to an unstable area.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, business travellers are more aware of the potential health risks they might encounter while travelling abroad. They are keen to understand exactly what to do should they be taken ill while travelling, so they are prepared in advance. Concerns about future global pandemics are also top of mind for many travellers and employers.
High rates of inflation are impacting the cost of living and travel alike. Business travellers may be worried that their spending while abroad on transport, food and sundries may be tricky to square with their employers’ expenses policies, which may not be adjusted for inflation. This may lead them to cut corners to save money. Additionally, companies may become less willing to approve business trips given the higher costs, or they may opt for cheaper alternatives that are riskier. For example, an employer may be inclined to book cheaper accommodation which is in a less desirable area with higher crime rates.
The threat of cyber attacks is a pressing concern for both businesses and their employees. While travelling, there is an increased risk that your employees could use their work devices on unsecured or unencrypted networks and be vulnerable to data theft. There is also an increased possibility that company-owned technology, for example laptops and smartphones, might be stolen.
Similarly to cyber, security threats are a growing risk. There is an increased frequency of protests, violence and civil disorder, both in the developed and developing world. This can present a physical risk to your employees and could disrupt their travel plans. While employees are travelling abroad, they are also at risk of harm if they do not stay vigilant, such as being hit by a car when crossing the road or being mugged.
As climate change advances, we have seen higher numbers of natural disasters occurring across the globe. Though you may be prepared for the impact of these unforeseen events on your business premises and operations, you should also plan for the effect these events may have on your travelling colleagues, such as travel disruption, delay or physical harm.
To conclude, there are many pressing business travel risks that you can and should plan for. It’s now more important than ever before to adopt a holistic travel risk management approach, and the newly released ISO 31030 standard can help businesses to develop this. ISO 31030 provides organisations with a benchmark for assessing, building and implementing an effective travel risk management framework, to benefit companies and their employees.
All content in this material is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute personal advice or a recommendation to any individual or business of any product or service. Please refer to the policy documentation issued for full terms and conditions of coverage.
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