Catastrophic natural disasters, horrific terrorist attacks, and worrying medical crises took home all the news last year, underscoring travel risk management strategy as a major point of emphasis for businesses in 2018.
Given current circumstances, how can risk professionals zero in on the issues that really matter to their corporate travelers and their respective businesses?
We’re going to share seven travel industry trends and predictions that your company should account for when assessing travel risk management this year, and how to best respond to an increasingly complex travel climate.
- Travel Sector Growth
As fear-inducing as some of the latest tragic world events have been, nothing shows they will have an enduringly detrimental economic impact on travel and tourism for the time being.
The world has effectively become more accessible than in prior generations, allowing scholars and researchers, for example, to better explore their areas of focus. Moreover, the baby boomer generation created a wide pool of consumers, many of who possess considerable amounts of leisure money to spend on travel. The millennial generation, which has surpassed the baby boomers in size, has been observed to delay job searching in favor of travel, appearing more inclined to support global adventure trips and social justice causes than past generations.
International companies recognize the potential for economic growth in developing markets. As a result, they have identified these regions as targets of extensive business travel investment.
- Cyber Security
As mobile devices become more prevalent and influential than ever before, modern business travelers must adopt good tech habits or risk putting their safety in jeopardy. Avoid open Wi-Fi networks and public charging stations in airports, as they may be rigged to steal personal information. Better stick to password protected networks and even investing in a portable charger or battery pack. If you an even more reliable and secure medium of communication, buy a local SIM card or purchase a phone upon arriving, preferably after researching the destination’s most reputable and cost-effective providers.
- Notable Security Presence
International security issues and political unrest travel across borders swiftly and unapologetically, and as a result, most countries are adjusting their security measures accordingly. Last year, airports around the globe began enacting enhanced security procedures, and predictably so, such efforts are expected to further impact the travel sector in 2018. Business travelers should not only expect to witness an amplified security presence in airports, but also in ‘soft target’ venues like hotels, concert venues, restaurants, transportation hubs, and malls.
- Solo Female Travel
As general risk statistics can corroborate, female travelers suffer increased travel risks than their male counterparts, especially in specific geographic regions. Female travelers should consider everything from comprehensive destination research, established routine check-in plans, and personal safety devices capable of sounding an alarm or being monitored, all incorporated into an attentive risk management plan.
While solo female travel should not be discouraged in any way, the associated risks must be acknowledged and prepped for.
- Shared Economy Services
Recent advances in travel technology, coupled with the rise of the sharing economy, make it simpler and more affordable to travel than ever before. As such, home and ride-sharing services will continue to increase in popularity, resulting in amplified usage in the travel sector. Nevertheless, these services possess inherent risks pertaining to safety and security, all of which depend considerably on the market.
Travelers must research providers diligently within the local context and educate their decisions with referrals from credible sources. In some countries, for example, it may prove wiser to lodge in reputable hotels with legitimate security assurances than to rent from unknown local owners. Solo travelers must be on high alert at all times, conscious of their surroundings, and ensuring that someone else is aware of their travel arrangements.
- Political Uncertainty
In 2017, a collection of political protests disrupted business travelers plans in various regions, including violent turmoil in Venezuela, massive military demonstrations in Turkey, volatile political rallies in Barcelona, and precarious civil unrest in Jerusalem. Further controversies in the form of regime changes, contested elections, and political uncertainty in countries like Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Honduras, respectively, caused increased interruptions to planned travel itineraries.
Moving into 2018, the world’s political landscape may remain in a state of doubt and instability as world leaders confront daunting new challenges, ranging from the frightening rise in nationalistic attitude to the environmental effects of global warming. The situation unfolding on the Korean Peninsula is sure to generate some concern for travelers. Nevertheless, the geopolitical landscape of North Korea’s nuclear dominance-powered aspirations will influence both foreign policy around the world, and emergency travel planning in the Korean Peninsula.
- Emergency Preparation
In recent years, travelers have not demonstrated the necessary diligence to deal effectively with an emergency situation. Whether it’s a terrorist attack in a prominent city, like Paris, a devastating hurricane like the one that swept through Puerto Rico last fall, or the recent power outage that incapacitated the Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson airport, many travelers find themselves unable to react properly in times of crisis.
Training plays a crucial role in ensuring safety in the midst of these tumultuous situations, moving toward purposeful action to build situational awareness, a commonly overlooked, yet ultimately fundamental concept.
Situational awareness is the middle ground between obliviousness and overwhelming paranoia. It encompasses paying attention, knowing what to look out for, and trusting one’s own instincts. Business traveler education is thus key, because when it is all said and done, those who have been educated properly travel more safely, as they have replaced fear with understanding, and equipped understanding with knowledge.
For more information on effective travel risk management planning, speak to one of our specialized corporate travel agents and learn how to craft a reliable travel risk management strategy that takes all business risks into considerations.