5 Ways to Mitigate Risk In Travel Policies

Of the many challenges the corporate travel world has faced during the pandemic, travel policy management has been one of the biggest. After all, keeping employees safe while moving business goals forward requires making some big policy-related changes.

In fact, travel policies for many companies have become something of a moving target. According to BTN, 56% of more than 460 corporate travel professionals polled in a survey said that they had changed their travel policies since 2020. Dynamic policy and the tools to easily manage changes have become essential.

However companies handle the logistics, one factor within the travel policy has become an essential focus: mitigating risk. “Travel Policy Revisions for the Pandemic and Beyond,” a new report from the BTN Group, provides an essential deep dive into what managing and mitigating risk means in this era.

Who Manages Travel Risk?

Company stakeholders who influence travel policies vary depending on the size and culture of the team. This group may include end users—such as frequent travelers in sales and other business units—as well as leaders in security, finance, procurement, and human resources. Some businesses will even loop in the most frequent policy violators to find out what’s not working.

What are some of the unique approaches companies have taken when revising their travel policies? Download the report and find out.

Companies with a large global footprint may opt to add an outside security company to advise on the safety of a particular destination, says the BTN Group report, while other companies rely on information from a centralized source, like Sherpa.

But the COVID-19 era has upended some traditional roles when it comes to policy decisions. Today, leaders from risk, HR, and legal have become more involved. And as the pandemic has changed how companies think about employee well-being, some companies also now involve their communications departments.

Regardless of who is handling the details, mitigating risk has been at the top of the list.

What is the travel manager’s new role in this era of fast-changing travel policies? Download the full report and find out.

5 Tips to Mitigate Travel Risk

Here’s what the BTN Group report suggests considering when it comes to keeping traveling employees safe.

1. Lock in layers of review for every trip. Have procedures that require more than one level of approval, to ensure any trip has been carefully thought out and is consistent with company policies and safeguards.

2. Make travel optional. Employees should feel that they can opt out of a trip that makes them uncomfortable, without facing consequences. Otherwise, an organization runs the risk of creating a sense of mistrust, harming morale, and even possibly facing legal consequences.

3. Keep current on health guidelines and orders. Especially during and after COVID-19, staying up to date with CDC guidance and applicable state and local public health orders is a challenge. But it’s also vitally important, especially when supporting employees who travel.

4. Carefully consider employee and vendor safeguards. A travel policy should include practical protections for every step of the travel process, including appropriate self-isolation before and after the trip; providing PPE; and evaluating vendor safeguards.

5. Put it in writing. Organizations should put their requirements and processes in writing, even if the policy is just meant to be an interim one. Then share that document with employees and make it as accessible as possible.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to travel policy and risk, remember, “One size doesn’t fit all, and each culture is different,” says Carol Fergus, Global Travel Manager, Fidelity International, in the BTN Group report. “Look at your landscape and your culture and make your decisions as to the best ways of managing your travel around that. The key things are safety, security, and accountability. It’s about your people, providing a service, and giving your people clarity on the rules of the game so they can travel seamlessly, with ease, and feeling that they are safe and secure.”

What are the biggest travel policy challenges moving into 2022? Download the report from the BTN Group: Travel Policy Revisions for the Pandemic and Beyond.