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A short guide to corporate travel safety and security 

When your employees venture beyond the borders of their familiar workspace, their health and safety take center stage. Even though business trips often go without a hitch, the unexpected can still creep up. 

How can your organization account for this? With robust corporate travel safety and security measures that extend beyond standard Duty of Care (DOC) efforts expected from most travel risk management teams. 

In this guide, we’ve got you covered with essential business travel safety tips to keep your travelers safe – and happy – while on the road. 

First things first: 

What are the risks associated with corporate travel? 

Generally, risks associated with business travel can be classified into two primary groups: individual risks and environmental risks

 

Individual risks 

These are factors directly related to travelers themselves, such as behavior, health, and identity. 

  • Female traveler safetyWomen traveling for work are more likely to face certain risks than their male counterparts, such as assault and harassment, or theft of personal belongings.
  • LGBTQ+ traveler safety – Travelers belonging to the LGBTQ+ community may also encounter unique challenges in different areas across the globe. In at least 60 countries worldwide (primarily in Asia and the Middle East), same-sex relationships are criminalized. 
  • Cultural misunderstandings –If you aren’t familiar with local customs, you might risk accidentally making a faux pas. Simple gestures like a thumbs-up, considered friendly in the US, may have negative connotations elsewhere, like in Italy or Greece. 
  • Food & water safety – Trying out local cuisine is a highlight of any journey, but travelers should exercise caution in regions with different hygiene standards. Street food and salads, which may not undergo proper treatment, washing, or preparation, should be avoided. 

Environmental risks 

These are external threats like natural disasters, diseases, and terrorism. Environmental risks are beyond the travelers' control but can have major consequences.  

  • Political and civil unrest – Political instability can affect travel plans and put travelers in jeopardy. When sending employees to areas that are politically unstable, careful and considerate planning based on up-to-date advice and information is essential. 
  • Natural disasters and adverse weather – Natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes are more common in certain parts of the world than you might think. But even a minor storm is enough to unexpectedly cancel a flight – leaving travelers stranded and alone in an unfamiliar area. 
  • Crime & law – Some destinations may have a higher prevalence of certain crimes, such as pickpocketing. Check out the most common crimes in the area and you can bring in corporate travel security measures to protect against them, whether your travelers need a guard or just a secure place to put their valuables. 
  • Illness and medical accessibility

    Stomach upsets, altitude sickness and heat exposure are some of the most common medical problems when traveling abroad, but travelers should still know where they can get medical support before they need it. International SOS provides medical, clinical and security assistance worldwide and can advise on the best course of action for any health problems, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

    Now that we know the risks, we are one step closer towards efficient corporate travel security. 

What is corporate travel security? 

Corporate security typically refers to the steps and precaution a company takes to protect its physical, financial, and intellectual assets from various. 

But corporate travel security isn't just about safeguarding assets. It's about prioritizing the safety of your most valuable resource: your people. 

It encompasses a spectrum of measures designed to protect employees, both physically and otherwise, during business travel. This can range from making sure they’re up-to-date on certain vaccinations or simply giving them a rundown on local cultures and customs. 

At its core, effective corporate travel security hinges on a robust travel risk management policy that identifies potential risks, outlines preventive measures, and establishes protocols to respond to unforeseen situations, ensuring that employees feel secure and supported throughout their journeys. 

What does corporate travel security include? 

 

Travel risk assessment 

Before sending your team off on business travel, you should perform a travel risk assessment to make your team aware of any potential threats travellers may encounter on their trip. Start out by doing this for your biggest travel markets. 

By nature, travel risks are ever-changing. In any one country, they vary by the time of year, the current political climate, and more. 

What does this mean for business travel security? You’ll need to carry out some extra research every and any time you send your employees on a business trip. You don’t want to roll the die and miss any risks that weren’t there the last time you checked. 

Employee itinerary tracking 

Without a doubt, tech and innovative softwares have broken the glass ceiling on the corporate travel industry. One such breakthrough? Travel itinerary tracking. 

Identifying the whereabouts of travelers at any moment can be challenging but crucial. If an incident takes place, not knowing exactly where your people are can lead to increased risk, stress, and work. That’s where GPS tracking comes in. 

While most location tracking apps focus on personal sharing, like with friends and family, some of them were designed specifically to allow employers to track their workforce. 

Employee training 

Once you’ve evaluated the risks, it’s time to pass some of that knowledge on to your employees. While it’s not yet possible to predict incidents before they happen, you can train your staff to spot what is and isn't an unacceptable risk to take while on a business trip. 

Discuss the major risks and common threats your staff may encounter. Emphasize preventive measures as it’s often easier to avoid a dangerous situation than to handle it. However, educating your team on how to respond is equally important to ensure their safety. 

Remember, in critical moments, there might not be enough time to think, so make sure your travelers take on board your advice—even if it’s something as simple as looking out for pickpockets. 

Speaking of which, we’ve compiled a list of corporate travel safety tips for employees to help you get the ball rolling: 

How do YOU stay safe when traveling for work? 

  • Understanding business travel safety policies: Before embarking on any trip, familiarize yourself with your company's duty of care policies. These encompass pre-travel training, travel insurance, emergency contact information, and rules for various aspects of travel. 
  • Know who to call: Keep a list of emergency contacts handy, including local authorities and company representatives. Understand the procedures to report incidents and seek assistance. 
  • Hotel security: Conduct a safety check in your hotel, know emergency procedures, and avoid sharing room numbers openly. Verify identities of anyone claiming to be hotel staff before allowing access to your room. 
  • Food safety:Be cautious about local food and water standards. Stick to safe eating and drinking habits, avoiding street food and opting for bottled water over tap water. 
  • Preventing theft and cybercrime: Take precautions against theft and safeguard against cyber threats by using secure networks and protecting sensitive information. 

    After all that, you may be asking yourself… 

Are Business Trips Safe? 

Absolutely! Most incidents that occur on business trips are not a matter of life-or-death…but they’re still pretty inconvenient. From having a phone stolen, to getting food poisoning from a hot dog cart, these small incidents add up to lost workdays, wasted business trips, and unhappy employees. 

But despite these risks existing, a well-thought-out approach can effectively manage them.

Traveler Safety on your mind? We’re here for you anytime, anywhere. 

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