I joined the discussion on the future of travel risk management during the Institute of Travel Management’s (ITM’s) webinar, Enabling the Return to Travel. This virtual event brought together experts from across travel, risk, technology and more, providing great insights that I’m sure will be helpful to many as we plan for the future of travel in 2021 and beyond.
As the moderator and a presenter for the first session, Giving Travel Risk its Own Place in Risk Management Standards, I was fortunate to chat with Bex Deadman from Blue Cube Travel LTD and Sony’s Simon Harris and Tom Stone about risk management in travel and ISO 31030, which will become the new global standard when released this summer. Any conversation about the return to travel hinges on the travelers, who need to know they’ll be safe and able to get back home after their journeys. In line with this, we discussed the critical importance of getting it right when it comes to communication, particularly when developments are changing rapidly. And we agreed that, while many organizations, including Blue Cube Travel and Sony, already boast robust travel risk management programs, ISO 31030 will help even the most mature programs increase traveler confidence (and so much more), as we’ll be able to identify and bridge any potential gaps against this standard, including better supplier benchmarking for safety and security.
In the 2020’s Legacy for Travel Risk Management session, Deutsche Bank’s Nick Hymans and AstraZeneca’s Kerrie Henshaw-Cox shared the lessons they learned from the year that changed the world. For AstraZeneca, it was never an option to shut down travel, particularly considering that travel was required to conduct vaccine research and development. This required much closer coordination across global security, travel and other teams and resulted in the formation of advisory boards to keep executives informed on any developments. This type of close collaboration across teams is something AstraZeneca will carry forward. Additionally, both panelists reiterated the importance of timely, accurate communication up, down and sideways during the past year, something they say they’ll continue in the future—and even look to drive further by promoting adoption for communication apps.
Riskline’s Emanuele Scansani then presented on Navigating the Infodemic with Human-Verified COVID-19 Travel Risk Intelligence. With misinformation more abundant than ever, Emanuele shared the importance of ensuring information is accurate and gave tips to help identify trusted information sources. He also shared that the pandemic has validated the importance of human verification; despite artificial intelligence serving as a valuable enabler, AI can’t determine the accuracy of information on its own.
TripActions’ Colin Doyle presented in the fourth session, sharing his company’s vision of The TMC’s Future Role in Risk Management, arguing that travel will become the most strategic initiative to come out of this year from a cost, HR, and environmental perspective. Additionally, Colin shared that the pandemic has revealed a number of lessons, including the need to ensure a resilient and scalable user experience, enabled by technology but backed by a resilient agent model for better service 24/7/365.
Jason Dunderdale of FREE NOW for Business shared his thoughts on Balancing a Predicted Increase in Ground Transport with Sustainability. In addition to helpful insights on the growing focus on sustainability, he shared insights on how ground transportation is changing as traveler safety and Duty of Care become top priorities in 2021. In light of COVID-19, Jason explained that transportation options have obviously shifted significantly, with private car and taxi replacing public transportation in many instances as companies attempt to create physical distance and bolster traveler confidence. During his presentation, Jason highlighted the importance of sustainability as a differentiator in today’s business world and also touched on a new option that’s coming if you haven’t already seen it: Micro-mobility options like electric scooters or bikes.
In the final session of the day, Collinson’s Dr. Simon Worrel addressed an important question: Will Testing be Commonplace in 2021, and is it the Enabler to a Return to Travel? Well, if you’re looking for the short answer, it’s yes, particularly before a large portion of the population is vaccinated. But Dr. Worrel also shared a number of interesting insights about the types of testing available, vaccine rollout in the UK and a prediction that life may be largely back to “normal” sometime this year.
While we may be on the precipice of a return to normalcy, we all know the ripples of the pandemic will be felt for years to come… and it’s not all bad, either. In fact, if there is any good to come from all of this, it is a focus on people—from an increased emphasis on traveler confidence and keeping travelers safe, to ensuring technology is enabled by experts, to bringing together cross-functional teams to enable better decisions.
- Bob Quick | GSA Accreditation
About Global Secure Accreditation
Global Secure Accreditation (GSA) are experts in Travel Risk Management, they deliver the most comprehensive and effective, independent standard for hotel security in the world. The standard has been established by experienced senior police officers, counter terrorism experts, military and international security experts. GSA offers training, audit and assessment services to corporate customers who are keen to build and strengthen their Travel Risk Management programmes. Find out more https://www.gsaccreditation.com/