by Matt Alderton | May 19, 2015
An overwhelming majority of companies (83 percent) have risk management protocols in place to keep their business travelers safe, finds a new study by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Published today, the study found that 60 percent of companies without travel risk management (TRM) protocols are planning to adopt them within the next two years.

Titled "Keeping Travelers Safe Through Travel Risk Management," the GBTA Foundation study was sponsored by Concur Technologies and is based on a survey of more than 250 travel managers, security officers, and human resource personnel. Typical features of TRM protocols, it found, are:
 
1. Traveler tracking
2. Pre-travel info and preparation
3. TMC engagement in support of risk protocols
4. Pre-travel approval
5. Automated communication about real time risks
6. Local providers for medical and security assistance
7. Locally available assistance services
8. Travel concierge

During an emergency, organizations that have TRM protocols in place can generally locate all impacted employees and verify their safety much faster than companies without protocols in place, according to the study, which found that one-third of respondents can locate all impacted employees in real-time; 20 percent can locate travelers in 15-30 minutes; and for 31 percent it takes longer than a half an hour to locate all impacted employees. Twenty percent don't know how long it would take to track their employees down.
 
When an incident occurs, it takes an estimated median of 1.5 hours to confirm every employee's safety, according to the study: 28 percent of respondents said it would take less than an hour, 43 percent that it would take one or more hours, and 24 percent that it would take two or more hours. One third of respondents (29 percent) said they did not know how long it would take to confirm everyone's safety.

Finally, the study revealed greater adoption of mobile tracking and messaging technologies: Half of respondents ranked automated SMS among their top three most important channels for emergency communication and 39 percent ranked manual SMS in their top three. Thirty-six percent included mobile apps on their top-three list.

"The high adoption rate of TRM protocols demonstrates that businesses are committed to keeping their road warriors out of harm's way," GBTA Foundation Vice President of Research Joseph Bates said in a statement. "We're also excited to see that technological advances, such as apps and text messaging, are changing the face of TRM programs by enabling organizations to better track and communicate with their employees. Travelers can focus on doing business, rather than worrying about potential risks."


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