Why Corporate Travel is a Risk Well Worth Taking


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Why Corporate Travel is a Risk Well Worth Taking

Global business travel spend topped $1.2 trillion USD in 2015, growing 5 percent over 2014, and is forecast to reach 1.3 trillion in 2016 according tothe GBTA. And a portion of that spending will be allocated to sending workers outside of their home countries, where global travel can be risky business. The potential dangers of traveling to unstable or highrisk destinations are obvious: everything from terrorism, to political upheaval, to the unlikely event of your plane falling out of the sky.

But the key to safe travel is not to focus so much on the cataclysmic events which are highly unlikely to occur, but to focusmore on the risks most likely to happen in the course of a business trip. Some as simple, and seemingly innocuous, such as travel fatigue. Because anyone who tells you they just flew 18 hours from New York City to India and walked off the plane feeling fresh and relaxed is lying.

This all leads to a major risk which is driving, without a clear head, in foreign countries where the rules are already stacked against you because very often you are on the wrong side of the road, the traffic signs are in foreign languages, and driver safety is not a high priority.

This is critically important information because legislation exists in some countries that if an employee kills someone in an accident, the employer is held responsible, especially if corporate responsibility acts have not been followed. It’s also important that business travelers have a clear understanding of the sometimes volatile locations they are traveling to. 

Risks are different for different typesof industries. There are certain industries that need to send its employees to work in the world’s “hot zones,” such as the oil & gas industry. And as the world goes more
and more mobile, cell phone towers are sprouting up like redwoods, and many of them are popping up in deserts, under-developed nations and war-zones, making the telecommunications industry extremely
vulnerable. In today’s mobile world, even Somalian pirates need cell service.

Corporate travelers also need to realize that the flight on a major airline to get into a somewhat unstable country isn’t the problem; it’s traveling within the country, when they have two options to get 350 miles inland. The quickest option is to take a local small airline which could reach their destination in about 20 minutes. However, these smaller airlines may not comply with the strict safety and service precautions applicable to western airlines. The alternative is a seven-hour car ride, which will likely take you through a number of security checkpoints manned by people with automatic weapons. Not easy decisions to make.

Fortunately, the recent boom in technology has helped executives travel more safely, as they can now receive electronic alerts regarding risks such as natural catastrophes, labor strikes, and changes in flight schedules. And we have not even discussed the one hardcore disruption guaranteed to happen every year in many parts of the world - severe winter weather.

The cost of finding solutions to these situations can often be crippling and costly to a business, both in terms of valuable staff time wasted as well as the difficulty in finding the time or the resources to source viable, inexpensive travel alternatives. A large number of companies will enlist a Travel Management Company (TMC) so it can respond quickly when major disruptions to travel occur, ensuring their employees make it to their destination or can be evacuated as quickly and safely as possible.

With all this being said, executives should not be afraid to undertake worldwide trips to benefit their business. The key is in the steps you take to minimise any potential risk.