Recent trends have been a combination of changes in the market/business focus and that of response to incidents and events.
Market and business changes have seen a more personal approach to travel and the subsequent travel risk management systems. Businesses have lost a lot of employees to mobile applications and self-help travel systems due to the explosion in leisure travel applications, services and solutions. We all know that businesses are more followers than leaders in this area but the result has been that individual business travellers have been able to get more support, information and resources direct from the source or service provider without the businesses knowledge or awareness. This has been a major correction objective for businesses that understand the risk and the requirement to have a more involved process for their travel health, safety, security and risk management agenda, rather than “crowd sourcing” or outsourcing the demand.
Businesses are also motivated to move away from the generic advice and information they were initially limited to as they realise that the group solution may have very little relevance to their business, destination and traveller. We have seen businesses outright ignore government warnings, news forecasts and other group advisory systems as it didn’t pertain to their business or travellers. This means they were able to evaluation the situation, qualify the theat, determine how it affected their business/traveller and make modifications to manage or mitigate the risk. Something they were unable to do with the more generic or public advisory process. Unfortunately there have also been those that have ignored the public advice, without an adequate or personalised risk evaluation system and suffered delay, disruption, loss or elevated expenditure to correct an error. The recent events in Bangkok, Thailand have been a good example. Most travel and risk manager (Source: US Embassy survey) increased their monitoring and understanding of the situation there at a ratio of 3:1 over suspension/cancellation of travel. Insurance companies and policies are moving in this direction also.
An increasing number of travel risk management programs are moving away from the tradition of managing incidents and negative outcomes they thought were a plausible possibility affecting their travellers to a more measured, targeted and preventative process that is correctly aligned with their health, safety, security and risk management principles. This serves to both address the significant gap in their health and safety compliance (still commonly misunderstood as duty f care) and harmonise the travel risk management process with that of the long standing logistics and administration models of personal solutions and cost management at point of sale. This compliance and financial trend is likely to gain greater momentum once procurement, travel and risk managers understand the opportunity and cost efficiencies.