The Business of Travel


The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association

Amanda Johnson
Amanda Johnson
Amanda Johnson's Blog

Tools for Identifying Risk Amongst the Noise

Amidst the current global risks, business travel remains vital to the economy. In spite of its importance, it can be challenging to sift through all available data to make responsible company decisions. So how can travel managers successfully navigate this process?

At the GBTA Canada Conference in April, COO Mike McCormick spoke with Peter Martin, the Vice Chairman of FocusPoint International, about best practices for risk management.

Martin highlighted the importance of being aware of potential risks and determining what the real threats are in a timely fashion. “Education is the cornerstone of all duty-of-care programs” and informing all employees of the latest policies is vital to a smooth work flow.

Another strategy for risk management is remaining alert for issues like car accidents, street crime and health issues, all things that can get lost in the media when a tragedy strikes. While it is extremely important to be aware of terror threats, travel managers must also pay careful attention to other risks that happen more frequently. By having plans for these issues in place and researching travel locations ahead of time, it allows travel programs to better inform their travelers.

To learn more tips for risk management, view the full video here:

Visit GBTA’s YouTube Channel for even more insight and Broadcast Studio interviews from this year’s GBTA Canada Conference in Toronto.

The Importance of Technology in the SME Market

Having the right resources makes all the difference. And in the business world, resources can set apart competitors, strengthen a struggling organization and allow employees to do their jobs more efficiently.

For SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) these resources are extremely important, as their travel managers typically have other roles and responsibilities they are attempting to balance as well. Having access to tools that provide quick updates on information are key in allowing these travel managers to focus on duty of care and fulfill their roles.

At the GBTA Canada Conference in April, GBTA Executive Director and COO Mike McCormick spoke with Kathy Bedell, senior vice president of BCD Travel, about the SME market. Bedell discussed how developing technology will give travel managers the ability to better serve their employees saying, “the access that we have now to real-time data allows them to make changes to their programs immediately.” She added that it will increase compliance and ease the travel process.

View the full video here:

Visit GBTA’s YouTube Channel for even more insight and Broadcast Studio interviews from GBTA Canada Conference 2017.

Near, Far, Wherever You Are- Learn How to Stay Safe Around the World with GBTA’s Risk Radar Webinar

Business travel gives employees the opportunity to visit new and exciting countries, but the changing world climate makes it important to stay updated on shifting risk levels. While it’s impossible to predict every dangerous situation abroad, there are proactive measures that can be taken to send your team out with their best foot forward.

GBTA’s Risk Committee recently hosted a Risk Radar webinar that offered a “continent-by-continent” breakdown of information to aid in navigating business travel to potentially dangerous areas. Hosted by Senior VP of BCD Travel, Kathy Bedell, this presentation included valuable information for planning any sort of global business trip.

The webinar featured an overview of some of the world’s most intriguing travel destinations, including places like Russia and Turkey. The panel gave insight into the risk level of each location and included tips on how to best navigate the environment. Matthew Bradley of International SOS emphasized the fact that it’s important to give attention to areas such as the Northern Triangle, as the level of petty and violent crime is considerably higher there.  

Next, focus was placed on preparing to send employees overseas. Specific attention must be given to groups who may be at a higher risk level abroad, including the LGBTQ community, women and certain racial groups. Preparing employees for their travels ahead of time is an important practice, as it sets the stage for a successful trip abroad.

So, what are some practical strategies for improving travel risk education?

  • Implement a Travel Risk Mitigation Plan. Being proactive is vital in preventing a small issue from quickly escalating when abroad. Utilize resources such as GBTA’s Travel Risk Management Maturity Model (TRM3) tool to aid you in constructing your own.
  • Know what groups hold extra risk in certain locations. Be aware of individuals who may be at a higher risk when traveling. Be strategic about where you send your employees and equip them with necessary resources.
  • Be aware of changing political climates. Stay up-to-date on global news and research the destination before you send a team there.
  • Know what countries will be bordering you. “You don’t lie in bed next to someone with the flu without catching a cold”, and this principle certainly demonstrates how vital it is to be aware of geopolitical tumult in the areas surrounding your destination.
  • Stay up-to-date on travel rules and regulations. Always pay attention to policy shifts, such as the recent laptop and travel bans.

Matthew Westley, the Director of Risk Consulting at Drum Cussac, concluded the presentation by encouraging executives to build confidence amongst their employees in regards to their travel locations. He said the most important practice is to “encourage people to take reasonable, practical measures” to increase their safety, without creating a culture of fear. Empowering employees to be educated and aware of their surroundings is key to a successful and safe trip.

GBTA members may view the webinar in full through the Hub. These sessions are just around the corner:

First Responder to Boston Marathon Bombings, Dr. Natalie Stavas, to Keynote First-Timer Luncheon at GBTA Convention 2017

Although she may be a doctor, Natalie Stavas began her morning on April 15, 2013 by putting on a pair of running shoes, not a white coat. And yet, that day would end up being one of the biggest medical challenges of her life, as she neared the end of her fifth Boston Marathon and ran towards the sound of explosions.

This year, first-time GBTA Convention attendees will have the privilege of hearing from Dr. Stavas, a first-responder to the Boston Marathon Bombings. A physician at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Stavas has dedicated her career to preventing childhood violence & improving the health of urban communities.

In response to the question of what compelled her to head into the commotion that morning she replied, “You run towards that which you fear, that which challenges you, that which is oppositional.” Running towards chaos actually makes chaos more manageable.

The First-Time Attendee Orientation & Luncheon will also give guests the opportunity to talk with industry veterans who can guide them through the ins & outs of navigating the conference and share helpful pointers. Additionally, GBTA Board Members will speak on the unique benefits of membership, including the outstanding network of professionals, world-class resources, and career advancement opportunities.

First-timers are sure to enjoy the insights from Dr. Stavas and our board members. This year’s luncheon will be on Sunday, July 16 from 11:30 am-1 pm in Room 216. See you there!