The Critical Need for Duty of Care

Once again, last week, the world watched in horror as scenes from another terrorist attack unfolded. Three attacks, coming just days after one another, were all in popular, busy sections of cities, where commuters, tourists and business professionals carried on with their day-to-day lives.

Of course, as the world watches and mourns, life for bystanders must get back to normal. For business travel professionals, the uncertainty and randomness of such incidents only reinforces the need to improve pre-approval processes for business travellers and extend duty of care to ensure all measures are taken to protect those traveling on behalf of an organization.

A new survey sponsored by Concur focused on the business travel behavior of travellers in the United Kingdom, Germany and France. The study, sponsored by Concur and called Booking Behaviour: The Business Traveller’s Perspective, found that more and more companies are incorporating a pre-approval processes into the travel booking experience. While these can range from a quick verbal approval to a more stringent process, the rationale behind such approvals are twofold. One, it helps managers stay looped in with regards to travel expenses, dates and plans. Two, it further establishes duty of care for business travellers who are traveling on behalf of their companies. Knowing that employees are safe and accessible is more important now than it has ever been.

According to the new study, “pre-trip approval can be an important component of a managed travel programme. Having in place a pre-trip approval process can enable companies to fulfill their duty of care responsibilities, ensure travel policy compliance, and limit costs. About half of business travellers in each country say their company requires them to get pre-trip approval for domestic business travel, and two-thirds say it requires them to get pre-trip approval for international business travel.”


As the recent terror attacks remind us, there are few corners of the world that are truly safe anymore – even for generally cautious business travellers. Having an approval process in place that lets an organization know where its resources are – and can react, respond and regroup after such an event occurs – gives everyone added piece of mind. Compliance rates for a company’s pre-approval process were found to be high. Business travellers in all three countries admitted to adhering to their company policy most of the time or always.

There is no guaranteed way to ensure that business travel remains completely safe in today’s world – regardless of if they are traveling domestically or internationally. What the recent study from Concur found, however, is that there is recognition on both the part of the organization and the traveller that measures should be taken and adhered to so that the whereabouts of those traveling can be known quickly should anything happen. This is one aspect of a larger duty of care plan travel buyers can have in place to ensure the safety of their travellers to the best of their ability.

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