Data Is Key To Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset: Your People

Tina Gunn

In Part one of our four-part series, we discussed how many organizations today still have gaps in their duty-of-care programs. In Part two, we explored what those common gaps are for travelers and employees and the actions you can take to better support all your employees.

Next, we turn our attention to the role data plays in implementing a successful travel risk management (TRM) program. Managing a TRM program is a huge task, and having the right stakeholders in place is essential to understanding the data requirements for effectively monitoring and managing it.

A team approach to travel risk management

Historically, the burden of managing travel risk might’ve fallen strictly on an organization’s travel manager. However, according to a 2017 Business Travel News (BTN) report, “Taking on Travel Risk Management,” companies are trending towards a ‘team approach’ in bringing multiple internal and external stakeholders for TRM initiatives.

Of the 229 travel managers and corporate safety and security managers surveyed by the BTN, internal travel risk management stakeholders include:

  • Travel management (76%)
  • Traveler (65%)
  • HR or benefits (62%)
  • Executive management (54%)
  • Health, safety, and/or risk (50%)
  • Legal (42%)
  • Corporate security (40%)
  • Travelers’ families (23%)
  • Compliance (21%)
  • Corporate communications (21%)
  • Other (1%)

Additionally, approximately a third of respondents said travel management companies (TMCs) are their primary external partners for TRM, while 29% said they mostly rely on travel risk providers, and 19% rely on traveler tracking or risk management platforms.

“A lot of businesses that are getting into travel risk are just touching the tip of the iceberg,” said Stephen Barth, a University of Houston law professor and founder of the Hospitality Lawyer. “It’s really unfair to put that burden on a travel manager. You have to think about your entire ecosystem of travel risk management.”

Once you’ve gotten the right stakeholders involved, you can then start to better understand the data requirements needed for an effective TRM program.

Integrated data is the heart of a TRM program’s success

With the different internal and external stakeholders involved, integrating data collected from various sources for an effective TRM program can be difficult, especially with the increase in travel bookings made outside of the TMC or directly with suppliers.

The BTN research demonstrates a reliance on itinerary data and employee contact data to fuel an organization’s TRM program – internally and externally by travel management companies. Data sources companies use to support TRM include:

  • Itinerary data (66%)
  • Employee contact information (66%)
  • Market-specific threat information (46%)
  • Ongoing threat information (43%)
  • HR data (30%)
  • Credit card swipe history (18%)
  • GPS-enabled traveler location data (18%)
  • Social media data (15%)
  • None (13%)

At a minimum, TMCs should be able to inform TRM stakeholders on travel booked with data around who is traveling, and where, when and how, according to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Additionally, they should be able to provide risk alerts, news around airline issues, warnings about weather conditions, and any other incidents that could impact your travelers. Some TMCs might also provide traveler tracking and communication tools, however, bookings outside the TMC makes it challenging to capture this data for risk management.

Leveraging technology for data collection and compliance

For an effective travel risk management program, organizations need to keep pace with the evolution of how employees travel and spend today – and technology will help you to collect travel and spend data from the various channels your employees are using for the purpose of keeping them safe and compliant.

“With access to tracking capabilities, a travel manager or security manager can locate travelers immediately in a crisis to reassure them that their company is monitoring every aspect of their trip and doing everything possible to maintain their safety,” GBTA reported.

1. Tracking your travelers

Traveler tracking information should be the foundation for keeping your people safe. Traveler tracking data should be kept current and accessible, and should include:

  • Complete booking itinerary
  • Expense data
  • HR information

By adopting a technological tool that centralizes and consolidates your data from various channels and sources – expenses, itineraries, supplier e-receipts, mobile check-ins, and cards – you can alert, accurately locate, and have two-way communication with your people should they find themselves in harm’s way.

2. Mobile tracking for good

There’s been a growing trend in leveraging mobile services to protect traveling employees. GPS tracking could be viewed as an invasion of privacy; however, many organizations are having success in rolling out opt-in tracking and check-ins for their people with apps that provide mobile services in the event of an emergency.

For your TRM program to be successful, you must take an integrated approach to collect and connect data from all sources and channels. By leveraging quality tools and solutions, you can gain collect quality, meaningful data to keep travelers compliant and safe.

Download the full BTN report, Data Support: What’s Needed for Successful Travel Risk Management. Then, learn more about how to fulfill your duty of care with SAP Concur solutions.


Tina Gunn

About Tina Gunn

Tina Gunn is the content marketing manager for the Enterprise Americas team at SAP Concur. Tina earned her degree in Journalism from the University of Washington and brings her experience in content strategy and digital marketing to SAP Concur. When she’s not creating thought leadership and sales enablement content, Tina writes fiction and screenplays of the horror and sci-fi genres.