In the second of a two-part analysis Jonathan Gahagan, Business Development & Travel Risk Consultant at Securewest International, shares his top tips for PAs when arranging travel…
In Part 1 of this piece we looked at the challenges faced by organisations in supporting PA’s and EA’s in the travel approval process. With Global Business travel increasing year on year by 7% there is a renewed emphasis on understanding the threat levels and how to ensure travellers are safe.
On my recent visit to General Santos in the Philippines (FCO rated High Risk) I was reminded that there were some very real threats to my safety on the ground. Often during the pre-trip planning process we become disconnected from the advice given and become complacent about the measures needed to keep us safe.
I sometimes find myself saying “is it really that bad?” Upon arrival at General Santos Airport I was met by our local ground service provider who provided a security team and driver for my two day visit. The reality of the security situation kicked in when all the team were carrying firearms and the frequency of armed police checkpoints entering the city.
The business trip went well and passed without incident, there were appropriate measures (Safeguard) however it has made me appreciate that my company, Securewest International, duty of care policy is comprehensive and not just a box ticking exercise.
Although the example above was for a high-risk location the need to provide continued support to travellers isn’t just restricted to these types of regions. A medical emergency, lost passport or major travel disruption due to a weather event can also cause issues to travellers during lower risk “business as usual” trips.
FIVE practical steps your business can take to improve your traveller’s safety:
STEP ONE– Make safety a priority
Regularly review and evaluate your policies and procedures to ensure they are up to date, relevant and meet the requirements of legislation and best practice.
STEP TWO– Read the small print
Many businesses believe they are covered by their insurance company however this is often inaccurate. Look your insurance cover in line with your other policies to identify any gaps in provision. And don’t forget check that your destination is included!
STEP THREE– Do your research
It is essential to research the areas to which you are travelling to gain an accurate real-time picture. Regional risk assessments help to identify threats, highlight the level of risk and make mitigation recommendations.
STEP FOUR– Assess the individuals you have travelling
Safety requirements vary according to the individual, with some groups being at greater risk than others in certain places. By providing pre-travel training and briefings the level of risks can be reduced.
STEP FIVE– Provide support
When things do wrong you need to be able to respond quickly and effectively. Measures need to be put in place so you know exactly where your travellers are, you can communicate with them and provide fast assistance.