Travel Risk Mitigation


Global Business travelers may enjoy the fact that the hotel provides a complimentary breakfast and reliable Wi-Fi, but what they value most is a better sense of security when they travel on behalf on their organizations, according to a joint survey conducted by American Global Business Travel and the Association for Corporate Travel Executives. Security and safety concerns are growing at a significantly faster rate than worries about other topics including work-life balance issues, traveler-centric technologies and alternative suppliers.

There is also a growing awareness on the part of organizations in the United States of the legal, moral and ethical obligations they owe their employees under the complex and sometimes vague principles of Duty of Care. Corporate security, travel managers, human resources, and other key stakeholders must understand the notion of Duty of Care in the context of business travel in order to ensure that their companies are making reasonably informed, good faith, rational efforts to protect their employees as they travel.

The elements of a comprehensive traveler safety program that meets Duty of Care best practices will vary among organizations, depending on size, number of traveling employees, destination risk ratings, medical concerns and a variety of other topics. However, there are elements of a successful program that apply to every organization.

Key stakeholders within the organization must meet on a regularly-scheduled basis to examine existing travel polices to determine if any improvements need to be made. A thorough examination of the plans may reveal vulnerabilities, including resource gaps. In some cases, plans may need to be expanded. Other companies may lack any substantial travel safety procedures, and entirely new plans must be developed. Plans and policies should cover both routine travel and emergency incidents, including accidents, medical emergencies, natural disasters, emergency evacuations, and violent incidents.

The ability to track personnel as they travel is another vital component of the traveler safety program. Many travel management programs rely on multiple third-party Company Managed Travel Providers (CMTP) to book travel and provide situational awareness of employees. A common problem with this system is that it only tells the company where the employee is supposed to be, not where they are. Travelers are often forced to make last-minute changes to their itinerary, and will often book their own travel, without notifying the CMTPs of the changes. Providing the traveler with a GPS-based personnel tracking system may be an option for those companies looking for a more effective way to maintain accountability of their travelers.

A risk assessment should be conducted prior to every trip, regardless of destination. The assessment should not focus solely on the country’s Risk Rating. As attacks in the UK, Belgium, France, Canada and the United States have shown, all countries are susceptible to acts of violence, not just those with a High or Elevated Risk Rating. Additionally, definitively assigning a Risk Rating can be difficult, as risk is largely based on individual perspective and context. Employees should be encouraged to take an active role in the risk assessment and travel planning process so that they fully understand any known or suspected risks associated with their destination. Providing education and training to employees is another critical component of the system.

The purpose of the training program is to develop the employee’s skills and knowledge, so they can perform their duties with minimal or no interruptions because of risk, security or medical-related issues. Providing training to employees empowers them to make informed decisions regarding their personal security and safety, helping keep them safe while adding another layer of liability reduction for the company. Elements of a successful training program include general traveler safety and security information, conflict avoidance and response, emergency planning, and worst-case scenario procedures.

Should all mitigation efforts prove unsuccessful, and a traveler is involved in a critical incident, a comprehensive safety system helps ensure that they are provided with timely support and realistic options that work to minimize harm and distress, provide critical support, and brings the employee home safely. The ability of the organization’s Crisis Management Team to move quickly to provide support such as personnel accountability, crisis notifications, and the activation of emergency response systems such as medical support and evacuation cannot be overstated.

Global Guardian utilizes a subscription-based pricing model. Clients pay an annual membership fee to have Global Guardian as their designated travel security and duty-of-care provider and to access its 24-hour Operations Center, team of security advisors and intelligence analysts, global tracking and monitoring platform, network of highly-vetted security providers, and comprehensive suite of security, medical, and aviation services. This subscription also includes all of Global Guardian’s non-custom and basic travel intelligence products and emergency incident notifications.

Global Guardian tracks and precisely locates clients anywhere in the world. The company uses special purpose cellular and satellite tracking beacons and smartphone applications that provide real-time GPS position information for clients, allowing them to call for immediate assistance in the event of an emergency. Linked to an extensive network of highly skilled in-country security teams, Global Guardian’s 24-hour Operations Center monitors clients as they travel and can direct security assets to respond as needed in real-time. Global Guardian also monitors local and regional current events and provides clients with information about their security and safety situation while they travel.

Global Guardian maintains emergency security response teams in over 91 countries. These teams are notified to the presence of client travelers in their area and stand by to respond immediately to address client emergencies. All support is coordinated and closely directed by Global Guardian’s 24-hour Operations team to ensure rapid and high-quality response to a wide range of potential situations.

Global Guardian provides its clients with detailed travel intelligence products, real-time security alerts, and highly customized intelligence and due diligence products in support of any unique information requirement. Non-customized support and security incident alerts are included in the proposed package.

Global Guardian Air Ambulance, a division of Global Guardian, provides its clients with best-in-class air medical transportation
membership programs. These programs provide true no-cost air medical transportation to members who are injured or become ill while traveling. Unlike insurance, members have no deductibles or no claims forms, are not subject to complex restrictions for use and choose their US or Canadian destination hospital.

Global Guardian also provides emergency medical support through board certified, US-based emergency physicians that are available around-the-clock to travelers through the Global Guardian Operations Center. These physicians conduct remote diagnosis and ongoing treatment management of travelers’ injuries or illnesses, and direct patients to vetted local medical facilities as needed.

Global Guardian offers a full range of personnel-based security support to its clients. Such support includes secure transportation, security agents, full-scale executive protection details, and event and facility security management. All services are fully customizable to meet client need and are closely coordinated by Global Guardian’s 24-hour Operations Center at-all-times.

Global Guardian supports its clients with comprehensive customized aviation capabilities. Be it for emergencies or customized specialty aviation needs, Global Guardian’s aviation team can access a wide range of aircraft operating around the globe to ensure the right assets are available when needed.

Global Guardian provides detailed physical and cyber security and vulnerability assessments, security and travel safety policy
development, and highly customized training programs for its clients.

Facility assessments are conducted domestically and abroad and are aimed at helping clients identify threats to their employees and operations. Such assessments are often paired with cyber evaluations of client site network security. Following an on-site assessment, Global Guardian prepares comprehensive deliverables detailing its findings and makes recommendations for how best to strengthen the security culture and physical and cyber infrastructure on site. Global Guardian can then assist in implementation of those recommendations.

One of the most common recommendations is the improvement or whole-cloth development of security and travel safety policies in support of a client’s workforce. If requested, Global Guardian’s team will work closely with to determine its objectives in policy work, and craft highly customized products that exactly mirror its requirements and corporate culture.

Lastly, no facility security plan nor safety policy is complete without some measure of training on how that plan and policy are implemented. As with its policy development work, Global Guardian prepares and executes highly customized training programs closely tailored to client objective and culture. Such courses include general travel safety, active shooter preparedness, and policy specific training.

Global Guardian Sentry, a division of Global Guardian provides video monitoring and Virtual Guard services in support of client facilities, operations and residences. Global Guardian’s 24-hour Operations Center is staffed with highly trained surveillance analysts who can assess potential threats and respond in real-time to minimize unauthorized activity at client sites. Specific services include event driven, interactive video monitoring, active threat emergency response monitoring, and virtual guard tours. On request, Global Guardian will conduct no-cost testing of any existing camera systems to ensure compatibility and then provide facility specific service options and pricing.

This article is part of our Conference Materials Library and has a PowerPoint counterpart that can be accessed in the Resource Libary.® provides numerous resources to all sponsors and attendees of The Hospitality Law Conference: Series 2.0 (Houston and Washington D.C.). If you have attended one of our conferences in the last 12 months you can access our Travel Risk Library, Conference Materials Library, ADA Risk Library, Electronic Journal, Rooms Chronicle and more, by creating an account. Our libraries are filled with white papers and presentations by industry leaders, hotel and restaurant experts, and hotel and restaurant lawyers. Click here to create an account or, if you already have an account, click here to login.

Dale Buckner

Dale Buckner is the Chief Executive Officer of Global Guardian. • 24 year US Army Veteran, Colonel (Retired) • Extensive Intelligence, Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations experience • Commanded 5 organizations including an Infantry Reconnaissance Platoon, Special Forces Scuba Team, Special Force Counter-Terrorism Team, a Special Forces Counter-Terrorism Task Force, and a Special Troops Battalion • Numerous combat and classified deployments including Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Chile, Panama and Haiti • BS, Mansfield University; MPA, Central Michigan; MBA, TUI University; Masters Certificate, Cornell; Senior Fellow, Tufts University (Fletcher School)

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