American business travel is booming

458,900,000. That’s how many domestic business trips that US travelers took during 2016. By 2020, the figure is forecast to rise to more than 478 million trips. That’s a staggering amount of travel, and it doesn’t even include international trips made by American workers for their organization.

With so many companies sending their employees overseas for business, one would hope that there is clarity about what responsibilities an employer has for their employees’ well-being while abroad on their behalf. If a company has a travel risk management program, are they fulfilling their duty of care? Unfortunately, the answer is not always yes.

Duty of Care or Travel Risk Management?

The confusion originates from two terms that get mentioned somewhat interchangeably: duty of care and travel risk management. The two are related, but different terms.

The best way to grasp the concept of Duty of Care? Consult a dictionary. The Collins English Dictionary indicates that Duty of Care is “the legal obligation to safeguard others from harm while they are in your care, using your services, or exposed to your activities.” Just as parents maintain duty of care obligations to their children and schools have a duty of care toward their students, so too do companies hold duty of care responsibilities for their employees.

The scope of duty of care becomes much more complicated as the world and its economy becomes more globalized. For large corporations conducting business in new markets, or NGOs performing humanitarian services in developing communities, the task of duty of care requires a more significant investment in travel planning, precaution, and protection.

Travel risk management is the means by which organizations set out to fulfill their duty of care responsibilities.

Skyline of Shanghai in China

Duty of Care is fulfilled through Travel Risk Management plans

For clarification, consider this analogy: a plane contains emergency lighting and exits, inflatable rafts, and flotation aids – all items designed to safeguard you from harm should an emergency arise during a flight. They represent a plane’s duty of care. But, they are useless if passengers don’t know where they are or how to use them. Therefore, a flight goes through a safety briefing program before every takeoff – passengers are educated about the safety features on board and how to operate them. The briefing represents the travel risk management plan.

Merely having duty of care is useless without travel risk management plans. For airlines, both are required to fully safeguard the well-being of passengers.

Travel Risk Management: managing the risks inherent to travel abroad

The management of risk inherent in both domestic and international travel has produced a variety of solutions from which an organization can fulfill duty of care. After all, each business trip is unique, presenting a different set of risks according to the region of travel, length of trip, etc, etc. It is true that most risk facing employees on business is the same that anyone would be exposed to at home: failing to wear a seat belt in a car, crossing the street while looking at your phone, or walking home alone after dark.

Nonetheless, companies are obligated to prepare against every risk scenario. Especially in more dangerous countries, the totality of risk needs to be examined: political, security, military/police activity, levels of public corruption, and even weather-related risk, need to be examined. While there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for mitigating travel risk, there are programs designed to provide “80% solutions” that can apply to all trips.

GuardianAngel for the modern, global needs of travel risk management

GuardianAngel is a travel risk management solution built for the modern world. While every domestic or international trip is different, fulfilling duty of care for a traveling workforce should include several features.

Pre-Travel Planning and Risk Assessments

First, travelers need information about their destination. Pre-travel assessments of the destination’s risk profile will equip the traveler with awareness of potential threats while abroad. A briefing on the local political, cultural, medical, meteorological, and terror situation is vital information for an organization’s employees, especially when travelling internationally. As places once deemed completely safe for travel see increased attacks on soft targets, travel preparedness requires establishing protocols for protecting against every potential threat.

A train terminal in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Our GSOC provides pre-travel threat assessments for every trip, compiled using your travel itinerary, knowledge of global threat landscapes, and expertise in risk detection, mitigation, and response. Security is priority number one – pre-travel assessments provide the necessary information to a travelling workforce so that they may may know pre-established protocols in the event of an emergency or uneasy situation.

24/7 Communication and Emergency Assistance

Secondly, individuals traveling abroad on behalf of an organization need access to around-the-clock security and medical assistance. Every trip should maintain a Communication Plan in place. No matter how near or far the destination, a traveler should feel reassured that they have a 24/7 point of contact in the event of a medical or security emergency.

The GuardianAngel Platform will be your unblinking eye for every trip. Security Operators are ready to provide assistance at all hours, will monitor travelers to ensure that they are making their itinerary’s pre-defined checkpoints, and initiate communication when an anomaly is detected. Our response and extraction capabilities across the globe ensure that your organization’s personnel are never far from safety.

Maintaining a Common Operating Picture

Third, an organization with dozens or hundreds of personnel traveling on any given day need to maintain a common operating picture at all time. With continuous monitoring of personnel, GuardianAngel’s platform provides a real-time view of your globally dispersed workforce. Employee monitoring not only ensures that your personnel are meeting the checkpoints of their itinerary, but it also allows for targeted alerts. Mass notifications can deliver important messages about ongoing developments in a specific region, from hazardous weather that could disrupt travel to incidents of terror or political violence that endanger your personnel’s security.

GuardianAngel logoWhen an incident does occur in a given location, companies need the ability to immediately know: 1) Who is at risk?; 2) Are they ok?; 3) Do they require immediate assistance and/or extraction? Failure to account for an employee’s whereabouts, and in turn their safety, in an emergency situation would be a grave failure of a duty of care policy. GuardianAngel provides operations management that is the ideal solution for organizations that seek risk management, mitigation, and response capabilities for meeting the needs of their modern, mobile workforce.

Through our travel risk management solutions, GuardianAngel delivers on the promise of providing Peace of Mind to travelers abroad, travel managers, and company leadership. Fulfilling duty of care is an obligation for any organization that maintains a globally dispersed workforce. A travel risk management program by GuardianAngel will help ensure that your personnel returns home safely, no matter what.


Interested in learning more about how GuardianAngel as a travel risk management solution for your organization? Contact us.