No such thing as a 'no risk' destination for travel managers

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
5 February 2014

5 February 2014 | Will Green

Travel buyers were told there is no such thing as a ‘no risk’ destination.

Will Hasler, business travel manager at PwC, told a conference the most important ways to ensure traveller safety were channelling all bookings through a management company and having a policy.

“Every destination is at least low-risk. There is no 'no risk',” he said.

Hasler, speaking during a debate at the Business Travel Show about the duty of care buyers have for travellers, said PwC had a 24-hour security centre in London.

“It’s very important we are seen to be doing the right thing, so we recruit the right people and maintain relationships with customers and our supply base,” he said.

Emma Lamb, global travel safety coordinator at Bank of America, said they provided information on countries to travellers and for high risk destinations there were briefings and security, but people did not always heed their advice.

“We had a traveller held at gunpoint in Brazil. We had sent him the dos and don’ts and he had not read them and was still wearing his Rolex watch,” she said. 

She added: “It’s not just terrorism or natural disasters. It’s looking after travellers, like getting them medication if their trip is interrupted.”

Buyers were told there was often a conflict between travellers wanting autonomy and firms needing to track them.

Bernard Harrup, head of sustainability at Project ICARUS at the Global Business Travel Association, said: “Frequent travellers want autonomy and freedom, not to be told what to do.”

Lamb said: “All bookings go through the travel management company. They get fed into the travel tracking tool, so if something happens we are able to track them.”

She said the potential to track people through their mobile phones was problematic. “It’s getting people to accept being tracked every single point of the way. They don’t want you to know where they are every single moment of the day,” she said.

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