Majority of Organizations Fail to Conduct Formal Risk Assessment for Every Meeting

New Research Reveals Room for Improvement in Meetings & Events Risk Management

Alexandria, VA (February 20, 2019) – A majority of travel buyers (62 percent) say risk management of meetings and events is a growing priority for their organization, according to new research out today from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in partnership with WorldAware. Current efforts are lacking, however, as companies only sometimes conduct formal risk assessments when planning a meeting.

“Organizations are certainly making strides in the meetings risk management field, but current efforts leave something to be desired,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO. “Proper risk management can be the difference between a successful event and a catastrophic disaster. Although it’s encouraging to see more organizations do assess the risk of meeting locations, the research shows that many companies have some catching up to do.”

“Successful risk management for meetings and events requires organizations to clearly assign risk management responsibilities to an individual or team of individuals, and that responsibility must be comprehensive, ” said Theresa Thomas, WorldAware senior vice president of strategic partnerships. “In other words, those responsible for risk management must be empowered to assess risks related to location at a city and neighborhood level, the venue itself, and ground transportation including public transit as well as private transportation.”

The research examines how companies approach the safety of meeting attendees and meetings, events, and incentive (MICE) travelers. When planning a meeting, one-fourth of organizations never or rarely conduct a formal risk assessment of specific venues. Similarly, 24 percent of respondents say their organization never or rarely assesses the risk of meeting locations, such as a particular city or neighborhood.

While most travel programs have a risk management solution in place, less than half (49 percent) have one that includes MICE data. This missing itinerary data can make it difficult for companies to track their travelers, and in turn, ensure their safety. One-third of travel buyers say it is more difficult to track employees when they travel for meetings than for transient travel, such as a sales trip.

It can also be a challenge for travel programs to aggregate MICE data from multiple sources, since bookings are made through a variety of channels. These include a travel management company, a meetings platform or a meetings management company. This can limit visibility, making it difficult to perform key safety-related responsibilities like pre-trip approval or traveler tracking.

In the event of an emergency, meeting hosts would likely need a way to communicate with attendees. A large majority (80 percent) of respondents say they sometimes have a crisis communication plan for meetings, but only 36 percent say they always have these plans in place.

These shortcomings may not persist for long, since most travel buyers agree that meetings and events risk management is of growing importance. Although some travel buyers do not currently have a risk solution that includes MICE data, a decent share (28 percent) plan to adopt one in the next year.


An online survey of 126 U.S. and Canada-based travel buyers was conducted. Fielding took place between November 8, 2018 and November 29, 2018. Respondents qualified if they were a travel manager, travel buyer, or procurement and/or sourcing professional.

More Information

The report, Risk Management of Meetings and MICE Travel, is available exclusively to GBTA members here.

A webinar featuring the results and tips to launch an effective risk program will take place tomorrow, February 21, 2019 at 2:00pm ET. Register now.


About the Global Business Travel Association
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA’s 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA delivers world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts. To learn how business travel drives lasting business growth, visit

About WorldAware

WorldAware provides intelligence-driven, integrated risk management solutions that enable multinational organizations to operate globally with confidence. WorldAware’s end-to-end, tailored solutions integrate world-class threat intelligence, innovative technology, and response services to help organizations avoid threats, mitigate risk, and protect their people, assets, and reputation. WorldAware has locations around the globe, including Annapolis, London, Cape Town, and Singapore. For more information, visit