Having reliable risk management solutions is crucial for a well-rounded travel program. This is especially true if you are an international company or have travelers flying internationally. Last month, I attended a travel risk seminar presented by International SOS. As leaders in the travel risk field, it focused on latest stats and 2019 travel risks.
Top risks for business travelers in 2019
For good or bad, not a lot is expected to change in 2019 when in comes to travel risks. The risk of dangerous or extreme events is predicted to be about the same as compared to 2018. In fact, perceived risk from business travelers has been on the decline over the past couple of years. This of course, does not mean that hazards have disappeared. Instead, business travelers may be more accustomed to the risks that they face.
- Natural disasters and extreme weather – In 2018, the U.S. faced devastating hurricanes and wildfires. We also saw earthquakes and typhoons shake countries across the globe. While many areas are still recovering, tumultuous weather and extreme storms are expected to continue in 2019 at the same rate.
- Epidemic and re-emerging diseases – With our fast news cycles, it’s easy to forget about growing diseases like Zika, Ebola and other infectious diseases found in other countries. Before traveling, be sure to research the diseases found in your destination area and prepare accordingly.
- Terrorism and attacks in low risk destinations – Places we once considered low-threat are seeing increased rates of terrorist attacks, for example the UK and areas in Europe. This is anticipated to continue in 2019.
- Increasing traveler volumes and the rise of global mobility – With lower airline fares and a better economy in the U.S., more people are traveling locally, as well as abroad. This rise in masses has its hand in increasing other risks, like illness, traffic and overcrowding.
- Political unrest – Did you know that six countries in South America will have a change in power this year? Shifts in power, like a new political party in office can sometimes lead to political unrest and even protests. It is important to be aware of the cultural and political energy in any area you plan a trip.
Top ways for companies to stay ahead in 2019
- Review and update current travel policies – As technology and communication continues to advance, it’s important that your travel policies and protocols are reflected for the benefit of your travelers.
- Improve preparation and training – This goes hand-in-hand with the first bullet point. Understand where your policies may be lacking, but also update your team and provide additional training if needed. As with other security protocols, it’s essential your team knows what to do in case of an emergency.
- Expand with enterprise-wide solutions – Depending on the size of your company and the number of travelers, relying on a third-party travel risk management company may be your best option for handling travel emergencies.
- Understand the protocol, should an emergency occur – Just a friendly reminder, some international travelers call their TMCs looking for assistance in the time of crisis. While TMCs provide essential information, it’s important to use it in conjunction with travel risk management companies, like International SOS. They are the emergency procedure experts, and who you want in charge in a dangerous situation. Ensuring your internal staff knows who to call, and under which circumstances, can eliminate hiccups when an emergency occurs.