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10 Duty of Care Tips from GBTA’s Risk Committee

The mission of the GBTA Risk Committee is to educate and inform GBTA and its members as to the necessity of integrating risk management into their global travel and meetings programs. In the most recent issue of Global Business Travel Magazine, the committee shared their best practices on duty-of-care.

*This article originally appeared in Global Business Travel Magazine Volume Two, Issue Five.*

Best Practices

Plan. Plan. Plan.

The Global Business Travel Association’s Risk Committee offers duty-of-care advice based on decades of combined experience.

1. Make sure your third-party risk management organization (iJet, iSOS, company TMC, etcetera) can provide services to all types of travelers (staff, volunteers, and other non-employees) and sort by group for reporting needs and accurate tracking of various groups. Be sure all costs are provided up front and prior to contracting.

2. Institute an Emergency Response Plan for international travel, covering all contingencies, including military action, political unrest, and natural disasters. It is our responsibility—and smart business—to safely bring home every employee and contractor when we ask them to go abroad to further the corporate mission. Don’t forget to include your key suppliers in the design of your company’s plan.

3. Have a good communication plan set up for your travelers. Keep it simple and clear, so should a trip go awry, they know who to call for what.

4. Educate your travelers, through policies, smart travel communications, web pages, special alerts, etcetera.

5. Ensure travelers understand their ownership, particularly if a trip is rescheduled or the airlines take over their flight reservations (underscore that they are responsible for communicating the changes to the appropriate parties). The booked data you have for your traveler-tracking program is only as good as the integrity of your data. Changes to itineraries when not communicated to the travel manager can handicap the ability to be effective.

6. Think outside the box. Be ready for the unexpected. International travel isn’t business as usual. Researching what resources are available in the event of an emergency is important, as is advising travelers to review their insurance coverage and other services that they may need so as to ensure they are available. Pre-trip planning is key.

7. Ensure you have the form of payment and financial means to pay for large volumes of tickets, hotel rooms, and charter flights at a moment’s notice in case of evacuations.

8. Have a team approach. When it comes to risk management and duty of care, it’s best to have all stakeholders involved—including travel, security, HR, senior management, and risk staff. You also want to seek an integrated solution that encompasses all your travelers’ needs, while emphasizing that everyone, from senior management to employees who travel, have duty-of-loyalty responsibilities for traveler safety and well-being.

Photo Credit: Corbis
Photo Credit: Corbis

9. Seek feedback from your travelers on what’s working and what’s not working, from managing open booking to being able to track their travel. While the team works internally, make sure to use a proven provider that can meet your needs for medical and security preparation, tracking, threat information and analysis, advice, and response to your travelers.

10. Don’t give up! It might take some time to convince executive leadership that a comprehensive Travel Risk Management Program is absolutely essential by providing information on real cases and cost to other organizations that did not provide duty of care. Use the GBTA Risk Management resources (found on the Hub). And remember: One incident could destroy a family or an organization.

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