Travel Management

How to create a travel risk management program

Discover how to develop a thorough travel risk management program for your business. From risk assessment to effective communication strategies, ensure your employees stay safe and well-prepared on their journeys.

Technology is fundamentally changing how businesses manage their travel programs, offering more ways to monitor travel booking behavior, analyze trends and keep track of emissions. But technology is also improving how businesses keep their employees safe when they’re traveling for work, with integrated travel risk management programs offering live tracking, site wide alerts, policy restrictions and much more. In this article we’ll cover what travel risk management is, the different tools available to keep your employees safe, and how to foster a culture that places safety as a top priority.

What is "risk management" in business travel?

When your employees travel for work, there will inevitably be risks associated with that travel. These include physical risks, such as health (sickness or injury) as well as safety and security risks. Here is a list of some of the potential risks that your employees may face when they travel:

Potential travel risks:

  • Political unrest and civil instability
  • Travel disruptions
  • Public health emergencies and disease outbreaks
  • Human rights violations 
  • Natural disasters or extreme weather conditions
  • Petty or organized crime, violence, and terrorist activities

The role of a good travel risk management program is to assess the potential risks to employees when they travel, introduce practical measures that alert them to potential dangers before they book, and provide clear procedures to follow in the event of an emergency. By anticipating and mapping potential risks beforehand, you can make dealing with unpredictable events much smoother, and make sure you always have a Plan B to hand. 

How to develop a travel risk management program:

1. Map out the potential travel risks

Before you start, you’ll need to assess the scope of your travel as a company, and the types of destinations your employees travel to regularly. This will help you immediately identify whether there are any high risk countries, or potential threats. To help you do this, you can consult government resources which provide recommendations as to which countries are safe to travel to, and any important information to be aware of before you travel. As part of the risk assessment, you should also identify safety or wellbeing risks that could apply to specific groups, such as women, disabled employees, LGBT+ travelers or those who frequently travel alone. 

2. Collect the necessary contact information

Being prepared for any eventuality starts with having the correct contact information to hand. This includes insurance and procedure details for employees who may get sick or injured when they’re traveling, as well as consular or embassy details in case of civil unrest. Finally, you should collect out of hours contact details for your travel management company. By having all this information available and updated in a central place, it will make life easier if and when you need to use it.

Here's a list of information you should be collecting:


Up to date contact details for all your employees
Details for the designated person / people responsible in the event of an emergency
Travel insurance provider 
Medical and emergency contacts
24/7 travel management or travel agent contact details 
Local office contacts for your organization 
A contact list of embassies and consulates, especially for frequently visited destinations

3. Create your "duty of care" policy

Once you have the relevant information from your risk assessment, and the contact information for emergencies, it's time to put it into a written "duty of care" policy. The duty of care section in your broader travel policy should detail what employees do in case of an emergency - everything from who to call if their flight is cancelled, to what to do if they've experienced a robbery or broken their arm. The important thing to remember about the policy is that it shouldn't just be a static document that gets shelved as soon as it's written - it needs to evolve over time, and in line with the changes to your travel program. To make sure this happens, you'll need to integrate the information into a central system that everyone can access and amend as necessary.

4. Integrate policy information into your Travel Management System

Once you’ve got your duty of care policy in place, it’s time to integrate all the information into your travel management system. Having a dynamic tool that centralizes the information will make it more likely for people to follow the guidance and ensure a more streamlined process in an emergency situation.

Here are some of the Goodwings features that help with policy compliance: 


Site Wide Messaging: 

To alert employees about disruptions they may experience when they travel (such as strikes or severe weather conditions), you can set up site-wide messages with key information and links so they're prepared before they book.


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Goodwings site-wide messaging feature



Booking restrictions:

To prevent employees from booking trips to high-risk countries, you can set up restrictions so that specific employees (or the whole company) are not able to book trips to those countries. 


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Goodwings booking restriction page



 Geo-Location Tracking

To ensure that you know where your employees are at all times, Goodwings gives you an overview of where everyone is in the world, with a live geo-tracking feature. 


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Goodwings Geo-location feature 


5. Communicate the procedures to your employees:

One of the most effective things you can do as an employer is to properly communicate the importance of safety and security, and provide the right training. This could include regular, personalised training sessions for groups that may be most vulnerable when traveling, such as women or employees that identify as LGBTQ+, but having all the policy information saved in one central place is important too, so that employees know where to look in the event of an emergency. 

When does it make sense to outsource your travel risk management program?


While this may feel like overkill for small businesses, outsourcing your travel risk management program to a third party may be the right choice if you’re traveling regularly, and to far flung or risky destinations. With a Goodwings plan you'll get access to companies like International SOS that provide businesses with an extra layer of safeguarding with services like pre-trip risk assessments based on employees’ passport types and their vaccination status as well as real-time tracking and incident support. 


Implementing a robust travel risk management program is not just a safety measure, but a strategic approach to ensure the well-being and productivity of your employees when they're traveling for work. By assessing potential risks and developing a thorought duty of care policy, you'll be able to build a resilient framework that can handle any travel disruptions. Remember, the ultimate goal is to provide peace of mind for both the travelers and the company, and to ensure that every trip is as safe and smooth as possible. 

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