Travel Risk Management Tips to Get Business Travelers Started

travel risk management

As businesses grow, travel tends to become more of a fixture. However, with business travel, risks are involved, and managing travel risks as best as possible is essential. Many companies have developed a travel risk management plan as the business grows. If you’re looking to keep traveling employees safe while also protecting your business – that’s why travel risk management is crucial.

What is Risk Management in Business Travel?

Risk management in business travel can encompass many different elements. Risk management aims to minimize the impact of unforeseen events as much as possible and keep business travelers safe through a well-designed communication plan honoring the duty of care.

For an international organization where traveling abroad is necessary, these measures ensure that potential travel risks are planned for, and there is a structured approach toward employee safety, security, and organizational resilience.

Examples of dangers while traveling could include:

  • Civil unrest
  • Political instability
  • Severe weather
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Disease outbreaks
  • Major incidents regarding safety
  • Sudden travel warnings
  • Employee health incident
  • Crime incidents
  • Any other potential threats and risks
Aspect of Risk ManagementDescription
DefinitionRisk management in business travel encompasses various elements aimed at minimizing the impact of unforeseen events and ensuring the safety of travelers through a well-structured communication plan that upholds the duty of care.
ScopeParticularly vital for international organizations necessitating travel abroad, these measures help in proactive planning for potential travel risks, offering a structured approach to enhance employee safety, security, and organizational resilience.
Examples of Travel Risks- Civil unrest
- Political instability
- Severe weather conditions
- Terrorist attacks
- Disease outbreaks
- Major safety incidents
- Sudden travel warnings
- Employee health inci

Travel Risk Management Tips to Get Business Travelers Started

Extra Factors to Consider with Travel Risks

When it comes to managing risk and performing risk assessments, identifying the type of risk is just one aspect of business continuity and employee safety. If there is a frequent travel-related risk, such as business trips to high-risk countries, companies must dedicate internal resources to ensuring employee safety.

As a starting point, businesses should consider additional safety measures such as medical evacuation, political risk, and travel insurance. However, you may also need to consider training employees on how to deal with a medical emergency and emergency response training. In addition, you may need to include other travel safety measures, such as an emergency communications process and emergency contact information based on travelers’ locations.

Travel Risk Management Tips to Get Business Travelers Started

What Should a Travel Risk Management Program Contain?

A comprehensive travel risk management program has two goals: Protecting employees from high risks where possible and ensuring business continuity. There are many resources to help design a travel risk assessment and program. We’ll look at some of the core features a corporate travel risk assessment and the program should have:

  1. Create clear business travel policies for employees: The first step is to create clear guidelines for international travel that employees must follow. This includes outlining potential risks, critical security information, and how to protect themselves in their travel destination based on the situation.
  2. Real-time information sources: Emergency situations are never cut and dry, and travel plans can change in the blink of an eye. Ensure that processes for controlling travel and approving travel take into account threat intelligence and other real-time information sources for up-to-date travel advice.
  3. Clear communication: As situations change, employees must be armed with as much information as possible pre-trip to protect themselves and the company. Outline the company’s duty of care, security measures in place, and how to contact other members of the organization in case travelers face emergencies during the trip.
  4. Official advice: Include any government advice, such as travel advisories and resources that travelers can consult. You can also use resources such as the Global Business Travel Association to develop a holistic policy.
Clear Business Travel Policies- Create clear and comprehensive guidelines for international travel that employees must adhere to. - Outline potential risks associated with specific destinations. - Provide critical security information. - Instruct employees on how to protect themselves based on the situation at their travel destination.
Real-time Information Sources- Recognize that emergency situations can be fluid and rapidly evolving. - Establish processes for controlling and approving travel that consider real-time threat intelligence and other information sources. - Ensure access to up-to-date travel advice to make informed decisions in response to changing circumstances.
Clear Communication- Equip employees with essential information before their trips. - Outline the company's duty of care towards employees. - Detail security measures in place to ensure their safety during travel. - Provide instructions on how to contact other members of the organization in case of emergencies during the trip.
Official Advice- Incorporate government advice and travel advisories into the program. - Offer access to resources that travelers can consult for guidance and assistance. - Utilize industry resources such as the Global Business Travel Association to develop a comprehensive travel policy. - Stay updated with official recommendations and integrate them into the risk management strategy.
Goals of the Program- The program should have two primary objectives: protecting employees from high risks to the extent possible and ensuring business continuity. - Balancing employee safety and organizational resilience is essential to the program's success.
Resource Utilization- Utilize available resources to design a thorough travel risk assessment and program. - Leverage industry-standard practices and guidelines to enhance the program's effectiveness.
Proactive Risk Mitigation- Implement proactive measures to identify, assess, and mitigate potential travel risks. - Ensure that employees are well-prepared to handle various situations, enhancing their ability to protect themselves and the organization.
Continuous Monitoring and Adaptation- Establish a system for continuous monitoring of travel-related risks. - Be prepared to adapt the program in response to changing circumstances and emerging threats. - Regularly review and update travel policies and procedures to align with evolving needs and global conditions.
Employee Training and Awareness- Provide training to employees on risk awareness, personal safety, and emergency response protocols. - Foster a culture of preparedness and vigilance among traveling staff.
Collaboration and Coordination- Promote collaboration between relevant departments and teams within the organization to ensure a cohesive approach to travel risk management. - Foster communication and coordination among various stakeholders involved in the program.
Crisis Management and Response Plans- Develop crisis management and response plans that outline actions to be taken in case of emergencies, including communication strategies and evacuation procedures. - Ensure employees are aware of these plans and know how to execute them when necessary.

Travel Risk Management Tips to Get Business Travelers Started

3 Travel Risk Management Tips that Mitigate Risks

Risk management is about protecting the company and the employee, and it can be challenging to balance the two entirely. We’ll go through some key tips to consider when designing a program for a business trip to keep in mind.



1. Create or Reconfigure Your Travel Management Program

Consider your organizational structure and how that relates to risk management. Make it as streamlined and straightforward as possible for employees to understand when embarking on a business trip. Your travel management program needs to address risk from pre-trip planning and destination until company employees are back on native soil. An all-encompassing policy ensures that the company is protected in the face of unforeseen events, including employee safety, data preservation, and security measures.

You can appoint designated travel managers who are in charge of employee security, well-being and managing travel risks as they arise during employee travel. Also, ensure that employees have access to comprehensive health coverage during travel and resources to help them monitor constantly evolving situations during an emergency. You can also provide additional information on how to travel with company devices and equipment and any data concerns that must be kept in mind.

2. Build Out Your Travel Risk Management Strategy

Your strategy will largely depend on which destinations employees are going to and accounting for changes in the near future. But key points to consider include information security, operational resilience, and employee protection. In addition, employee protection and how the company functions in case of significant threats and risks must be considered.

A risk assessment framework before travelers leave for their trip enables companies to enforce travel risk management policies more easily. Consider using broader business travel industry standards such as the ISO 31030:2021 – Travel risk management — Guidance for organizations to design your strategy.

3. Use Digital Technology to Make Your Risk Management Plan More Effective

Luckily with so much technology in place, there are more resources than ever when it comes to risk mitigation. Within the travel manager role, there should definitely be processes in place where employees do regular check-ins with wider teams and provide GPS data access on work devices to ensure they can be found easily in case of an emergency. Depending on the number of employees traveling, there can also be measures in place for incident reporting and real-time updates.

Travel Risk Management Tips to Get Business Travelers Started

Places Employees Can Get Help During Emergencies

As part of travel risk management, employees should be aware of emergency resources they can contact as part of the company’s duty of care strategy and manage travel risks.

If employees need medical care or there are natural disasters, they should get in touch with local embassies and/or authorities as their first step to get help. They should also be made aware of local and national organizations that can help them, as well as any company resources the company may be able to provide in case of an emergency.


Managing travel risks in business travel is of utmost importance for the safety and well-being of employees as well as the continuity of operations for organizations. A comprehensive travel risk management program is essential to identify, assess, and mitigate potential risks that employees may encounter while traveling for business purposes.

Risk management in business travel involves planning, preparation, and clear communication to ensure the safety and security of employees in the face of various potential dangers such as civil unrest, political instability, severe weather, terrorist attacks, disease outbreaks, safety incidents, and more. By implementing a well-designed communication plan and honoring the duty of care, businesses can minimize the impact of unforeseen events.

There are additional factors to consider when managing travel risks, especially in frequent travel to high-risk countries or regions. These factors may include providing medical evacuation plans, political risk assessment, travel insurance, emergency response training, and establishing an emergency communication process with relevant contact information based on travelers’ locations.

A comprehensive travel risk management program should encompass clear business travel policies that outline potential risks, critical security information, and self-protection measures. It should also incorporate real-time information sources to stay up-to-date on travel advisories and threat intelligence. Clear communication with employees about the company’s duty of care, security measures, and emergency protocols is crucial for their safety during travel.

Furthermore, official advice from government sources and reputable organizations such as the Global Business Travel Association should be included to provide travelers with reliable resources for guidance and support.

To mitigate risks effectively, here are three key tips to consider:

1. Design and implement a robust travel risk management program tailored to the specific needs and risks faced by employees in different locations. Continuously review and update the program to stay up-to-date with evolving risks and changing circumstances.

2. Provide thorough training for employees on how to respond to potential risks and emergencies during business travel. This may include medical emergency response training, security awareness training, and protocols for communication and reporting incidents.

3. Establish strong partnerships and engage reputable travel risk management service providers, such as travel assistance companies or security firms, to support the program and provide additional resources and assistance during travel emergencies.

By adopting these strategies and maintaining a proactive approach to travel risk management, businesses can protect their employees, ensure business continuity, and minimize the potential financial and reputational impact of travel-related incidents.

Remember, travel risk management is an ongoing process that requires continual monitoring, evaluation, and adjustment. Regularly assessing the effectiveness of the program, gathering feedback from employees, and staying informed about current risk trends will help organizations stay proactive and responsive in managing travel risks effectively.

Overall, prioritizing travel risk management demonstrates a commitment to employee safety, business resilience, and responsible corporate governance. As businesses continue to expand and engage in global operations, it is imperative to implement comprehensive travel risk management programs to protect employees and safeguard organizational interests in an ever-changing world of travel risks.


Image: Envato Elements

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Myra Nizami Myra Nizami is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 3 years. She is also a freelance writer and researcher with a Bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a Master's from Kings College London.