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Blog 18 March, 2022 Back

Post-pandemic travel risk management - a new era

Anne-Marie Fast

Airport terminal

The past few years have propelled a need for intelligence and scalable travel risk management programs to protect organisations and their people.

With terrorist attacks, natural disasters and more recently COVID-19, companies have become all too aware of the growing risks faced by their travelling personnel. In a way, the pandemic has helped open the eyes of many corporates and travellers to the broader implications of travel and of risk in general. For organisations, the understandable necessity for greater levels of due diligence before a trip is driving the need for enhanced levels of information, and for tools to enable travel risk management programs to be more scalable.

What we’ve seen recently is that business travellers themselves are also now looking for more information and understanding around the more obvious things such as the potential risks and the impact of COVID-19 in destination locations. They want to know about the restrictions and any new limitations that may be in place. They also want to know how to keep themselves safe whilst travelling and whilst in-country, and what to do should they require help. They want to feel confident that their organisation can, and will, fully prepare and support them with both their physical and mental wellbeing.

With travellers becoming more acutely aware of potential risks relating to travel, their understanding of the need for risk assessments and duty of care compliance is also greater, and that’s driving a more positive attitude towards travel risk management in general.

As we navigate a return to travel, what can organisations do to protect their personnel?

Pandemic aside, a sound travel risk management program goes far beyond considering how to deal with an incident should it happen. To be truly effective, it needs to fully encompass proactive and reactive measures and needs to be part of a company-wide approach to risk. It needs to involve numerous internal and external stakeholders who need to be working to the same end.

To assess whether their travel risk management program is truly fit for purpose, organisations should start by asking themselves a few basic questions:

  1. Do we have clearly defined policies and procedures relating to travel (from a health, safety and security perspective) that are not just documented but are communicated and adhered to by all concerned?
  2. Do we have access to reliable real-time health, safety and security information that can be used to support travel decisions and can be easily communicated to travellers before they embark on any trip?
  3. Are all our travellers provided with the necessary pre-travel training and relevant briefings to empower them as individuals?
  4. Do we have a process for controlling travel to higher-risk regions?
  5. In the event of a safety, security or health incident, are we able to locate and communicate with travellers and advise/support them accordingly?
  6. Do we have a robust incident/crisis management plan for dealing with emergencies? Is this regularly tested?
  7. Do we have total confidence in all parties in our chain (internal and external)?

There’s obviously a lot for organisations to think about and to mitigate but that’s where travel risk management experts such as Anvil can help. We can steer organisations through all these critical stages and can automate many of the processes to ensure that even organisations without internal resources can confidently and effectively navigate a safe return to travel.

Setting the standard for travel risk management

There’s also a new standard which provides a great framework for organisations to follow. ISO 31030 Travel Risk Management offers guidance on how to manage the risks to organisations and their travellers. The standard sets out a structured approach to the development, implementation, evaluation and review of travel risk management policies and programs, and the assessment and treatment of travel risks. ISO 31030 establishes clear guidelines for assessing risks related to travel, and how to manage and benchmark those risks. It removes the guesswork and provides clarity in an area that’s never been more critical.

If you have a travel risk management program in place, you can benchmark it against ISO 31030 here - 

Complete the ISO 31030 Scorecard

Looking to the future

When we look ahead, we need to consider both the long-term and the short-term view. Long-term, travel will return to normal and eventually rebuild itself. However, in the short and medium term, organisations may need to think about travel very differently.

In the short-term, they’ll need to put far greater emphasis on the pre-trip due diligence process before travel starts, to understand the various elements of the trip and how they’re going to mitigate risk at each of the key stages. They’ll also need to look far more closely at the destination countries their travellers are visiting. Regions previously deemed ‘safe’ travel zones may now present a potential health risk in a way that they didn’t before, and organisations need to allow the time to understand the situation fully and undertake additional measures prior to any trip commencing.

With much attention understandably being focused on the impact and implications of COVID-19, it would be easy to overlook the pre-existing risks that business travel can, and still does, pose. Organisations and travellers will still find themselves facing the same travel risks as before – from minor disruptions like travel delays; to major threats such as conflict, terror attacks, weather events, natural disasters, and violent protests and disorder. These haven’t gone away and it’s important for organisations not to overlook these as they take those tentative next steps.

For further information on setting up or reviewing your travel risk management program, or to learn more about the ISO 31030 standard, speak to one of our experienced team directly on +44(0)20 7938 4221 (UK) or +1 (813) 514-6276 (US) or email