How Geopolitical Threats Could Impact Your Business Travel Plans
The world can be a dangerous place. Conflict, political instability and terrorism have created a perfect storm of problems that are increasingly giving travel managers sleepless nights.
A survey by Ipsos MORI of 1,119 people who organise, influence or are responsible for their organisation’s travel and risk mitigation policies found that almost three-quarters (72%) of respondents felt that risks to business travellers have increased, and over half (57%) expected further increases in risk over the next year.
To mitigate these risks, there are a number of things a company can do when they send staff to potentially high risk areas. These include:
The US State Department issues a threat level for every county in the world, ranging from ‘Do Not Travel’ to ‘Exercise Normal Precautions’. Clicking on an individual country will also provide a breakdown of issues, ranging from crime to political information.
Establishing communication protocols
Your traveller should know who they need to contact if things go wrong. This can include the embassy, but it should also include a designated contact at the company. There should also be a clear plan of who at your company will then be informed about the situation.
Briefing the traveller
Ensure your traveller has up-to-date information, not only about any transient issues but also about cultural and religious restrictions that must be adhered to.
Keeping in touch with your staff member
Make sure they keep in regular contact at established intervals, if not by phone then via an app or social media. Also consider installing tracking apps in their mobile phone – with their permission – so you can establish their whereabouts at all times.
Having contingency plans in place
If things go wrong, what happens next? Ensure you have alternative travel plans in place, as well as lines of communication to anyone on the ground who can help (particularly embassy staff, local law enforcement or – if necessary – reliable private security contractors).
Debriefing your traveller
You will learn a lot from their experience. What went wrong and what worked well? They will be your eyes and ears on the ground and their experiences will prove invaluable should you need to organise future trips.