Organizations may be overlooking key guide for managing travel risk

A crucial part of duty of care is a guide you may have missed. According to BCD Travel research, three-quarters of travel buyers have little to no knowledge of ISO 31030:2021, the international guidance specific to travel risk management (TRM). Only 14% of buyers have actually read ISO 31030, and 11% are somewhat familiar, we found.

New 2023 BCD Travel research finds most organizations don't know about ISO 31030 for travel risk management.

What is ISO 31030?

ISO 31030 is a guidance for organizations on how to manage risk associated with travel. The goal is to promote a culture where travel-related risk is taken seriously. ISO 31030 is referred to as guidance because the standards are applicable globally but cannot be certified against. It provides a structured approach for the development, implementation, evaluation and review of policy, program development, threat and hazard identification, opportunities and strengths, risk assessment, and prevention and mitigation strategies.

How companies handle travel risk management

The survey results revealed how companies handle the main areas of a travel risk management program through trip planning, enroute support and the review process. Organizations encourage compliance to TRM initiatives by communicating the importance of employees following security measures (63%). They also promote employee responsibility to manage their personal safety while traveling (56%). When organizations assess travel risks, the most considered factors are the travel destination, mode of transportation, availability of medical services and potential impact to the company.

Traveler Security Program Assessment

BCD’s Global Crisis Management team helps organizations overcome gaps in their travel risk management programs through the Traveler Security Program Assessment. The assessment is aligned with ISO 31030. It provides personalized insights into where your program stands today. It is fully customized, taking into consideration your organizational flow and structure, risks specific to your organization and industry, and your organization’s corporate culture.

The comprehensive assessment explores 11 core aspects of duty of care and covers disease outbreaks, extreme weather, terrorist attacks, theft and accident scenarios. Completing the Traveler Security Program Assessment and improving your program will reassure employees that their health, safety, and security are organizational priorities. It will also help you determine ways to protect your company’s assets, reputation, business continuity, and, most importantly, your employees – helping you keep and attract the best talent in your industry.

In case of emergency

A key step in preparing employees for travel is to provide emergency contact information. Most buyers (80%) do this through their intranet. Half of the respondents said emergency contact information is listed in travel itineraries, travel policies and their mobile app. Our award-winning TripSource® is one such platform used to support duty of care. It simplifies business travel and keeps travelers organized, informed and within company guidelines. It puts users in control with instant access to trip details, risk alerts, emergency contacts, booking options, check-in reminders, real-time flight notifications, itinerary sharing, and more.

The survey also found that as many as 45% of companies provide no post-trip support. Why does this matter? Duty of care, wellbeing, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) best practices highlight a need to care for your people before, during and after a trip. If your business traveler encounters risk, hazard or disruption on a trip, do they have a way to report the report the incident? And how will your organization respond once report has been made? Almost 30% of respondents said their organization would follow up with an employee if a security or medical incident occurred during the trip.

7 pieces of great advice using ISO 31030

Based on the results of the survey, BCD’s Global Crisis Management team has the following advice in line with the ISO 31030:

Jorge Mesa Director Global Crisis Management BCD Travel
  1. The risks of a trip are not only related to the destination and mode of transportation but also to available infrastructure and personal factors. For example, organizations need to consider that a destination with high air pollution could be considered high-risk for an asthmatic traveler, but lower risk otherwise.
  2. Because online access isn’t always available during large-scale incidents or in rural areas, provide emergency contact details to employees both digitally and in print for easy access in a crisis.
  3. To ensure that efforts at engaging employees with important information aren’t ignored, require acknowledgement from employees when communicating the TRM program and updates.
  4. While insurance is widely used to reduce the impact of risks, insurance is not a substitute for an all-encompassing TRM program.
  5. Companies need to consider how travel may affect the health of their employees and allow proper rest and recuperation after a trip. Crossing multiple time zones, loss of sleep, change in eating habits, involvement in a security incident, personal health emergencies, service disruption, poor vendor experiences etc. can have a long-lasting impact on a traveler’s physical and mental health.
  6. Organizations should assess, audit and analyze the various procedures in their TRM program regularly, especially when there are changes to providers or the organization.
  7. The risk profile of a destination can change quickly. Consider this when determining how often to review the high-risk destination list in proportion to operational needs.

“A good travel risk management program has a complex structure. The survey results show that many organizations have room for improvement,” said Jorge Mesa, director of Global Crisis Management. “ISO 31030 provides excellent advice to organizations’ travel managers, security managers, buyers and HR departments to mitigate risks and fulfill their duty of care. It contains practical guidelines and can be applied globally.”

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