With increased security alerts and extreme weather regularly disrupting travel, the issue of duty of care is top of mind for travel managers.
Technology can play a significant role and there some interesting developments beginning to address the issue from the traveller disruption point of view - think Travelport's Resolve tool and Switchfly's Travel Hero - as well as from the duty of care perspective.
A year ago Sabre introduced SafePoint - a mobile duty of care tool that monitors trips and enables travellers to check in and provide location details via GPS.
The company has partnered with travel risk management specialist iJet International to provide travel and security intelligence for the tool.
Further developments include Uber's partnership with International SOS and Concur to improve duty of care and fill in some of the gaps as to traveller location.
More of these sorts of tie-ups to share data and provide a fuller picture are likely in the offing.
Attacks last year across Europe highlighted the need at the very least for communication tools.
Recent research released by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, and supported by Amex Global Business Travel, shows more than a third of travel managers are getting more enquiries related to traveller safety.
But, 27% say they don't have emergency plans in place.
The 'Take the Lead of Duty of Care' study also reveals almost a year ago 54% of travel managers had tightened up policy because of traveller concerns, now 58% of managers have not changed policy in the past six months in response to concerns.
That said, it seems the majority of travel managers, 83%, are using technology to locate travellers and 79% provide travellers with safety communication.
Travel managers also say they'd like to be doing more with emergency check-in technology highlighted as one of three areas for improvement by 38%.
Anecdotally, most travel managers now say the privacy concerns have at least died down in light of recent events and most travellers are happy to opt into GPS tracking tools.
But many also say cost is holding them back from implementing these travel risk technologies as is not knowing what services are available on the market.
It shouldn't be expensive or complicated to communicate with travellers given the wide penetration of mobile devices but the simplest thing is to start with a plan.
Amex GBT vice president Digital Traveler Evan Konwiser says:
"Proactivity is the key to success in duty of care, and there are some turnkey ways to make security a priority with travellers and stakeholders."
“It may be as simple as putting a quarterly meeting on the calendar for HR, IT, compliance and senior leadership to discuss the organisation’s travel policies and emergency preparedness.”
The full ACTE/Amex GBT study can be downloaded here.
Travel risk image via Big Stock