Travel Risk Management: Are You Prepared for the Crisis?


If you know that business travel is not without risk and has the potential for crisis, you should read this article. In this article, we will talk about the management and containment of the crisis as it relates to travelers and travel managers. The purpose of this article is to share with you aggregated information on crisis management and significantly improve your ability to identify and manage a crisis while increasing your business travel efficiency.

During this article I will discuss travel risk myths, crisis management, plans and options so you can quickly compare or develop your own travel risk management system for your travelers or travel management department.

By definition, a crisis is something for which you did not plan or prepare. In addition, there may be a series of events that create a crisis in harmony. Occurring events or problems for which you have a plan and strategy is just an event.

Crisis Management/Leadership

The first thing is to clarify what the difference is between crisis management and leadership. More importantly, which is more important?

Crisis management is about the response to the event(s) that threatens your business, travels or travel activities. The event is ahead and you follow through with plans, decisions and actions.

Crisis leadership, on the other hand, is more about preventing, preventing, managing incidents and issues, and even limiting their impact on your business or business travel activities. While management is part of the demand for leadership, your actions and participation lead to results rather than a more passive wait-and-go approach with pure crisis management.

Crisis leadership is the less practiced of the two, but the most important in terms of outcomes and mitigation of risk and impact. If you take nothing else from this session, your focus should always be on Crisis Leadership, not crisis management.


There are many myths and half-truths about the crisis, disruption and threats in the travel management industry. Much of this misinformation comes from travelers themselves, the media, travel managers, friends and family, or “experts”.

For example, many travelers and planners focused on terror. The reality is that the probability of you being directly affected or exposed to an act of terrorism is very, very small. This doesn’t mean you should completely dismiss it as a threat, but if it’s not a proportionate threat to you and your travelers, it shouldn’t dominate your plans or processes. Conversely, nearly everyone overlooks motor vehicle accidents. Still, they occur much more frequently, can have devastating effects on travelers, and are the least common scheme involved in the company’s travel management departments.

Travelers and travel managers should be prepared, trained and have supportive plans for any event that has the potential to delay, disrupt or harm the passenger or business.

The most common events include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Airline delays or cancellations
  • Airport closures or outages
  • Transport delays
  • bad weather
  • Illness and sickness
  • petty crimes
  • hotel fires
  • political disagreements
  • Shows and meetings

Motor vehicle accidents It can be stressful and dangerous in your home country, but it can be 100 times more challenging and dangerous on a business trip overseas. Consider language, local authorities, first responders, health standards, families and support in your plans and first responders.

Airline delays and cancellations. They happen all the time, but they’re not just an administrative reaction. To tackle the problem and ensure the safety of your passengers, you may need to consider security, transportation, quarantines, security threats, government intervention, and widespread suspension of services.

Airport closures or outages. Faulty systems, electrical problems, threats, weather, construction, etc. Consider the impact this will have on your plans and how the traveler will likely need to extend their stay, move to an alternative airport or find accommodation.

all other transportation delays and interruptions It can create a crisis when everyone no longer has access to trains, buses, main roads or even water transport. Have a plan and add it to your decision-making process right away.

The beginning of 2010 and 2011 saw all types of travel affected by the following. natural disasters and weather. Air and natural forces always affect and will influence passengers. It is and will continue to be. It’s about how unprepared travelers and companies are for volcanic eruptions, typhoons, floods, earthquakes and general bad weather.

people are getting sick or you don’t feel well all the time. This is compounded significantly when traveling. Standard of care, language, access, cost, complications, selection, and other location-based concerns will determine how much risk the traveler will be at. A single “one size fits all” plan or solution will fail and you should be aware of these issues as soon as an affected passenger starts.

Crimes the reality of any city in the world. However, travelers rarely know the risks and may be hunted by thieves and criminals. Loss of phones, money, and other items may seem less likely to trigger a crisis, but when you’re overseas, injured, or unable to speak the local language, all these simple incidents can be a major concern for business travelers. This can be further strengthened if you have a senior manager or an affected group of managers.

hotel fires and emergencies are more common than most people realize. The immediate threat to an individual is quite clear, but the impact that a lack of accommodation options can have from the temporary or permanent closure of a hotel is of far greater concern. This was graphically illustrated during the Mumbai terror attacks (which was as unusual as the event), when many of the top/preferred hotels were no longer in a significant part of the city. This has removed thousands of rooms for business travelers, forcing many to cancel or significantly change their travel plans due to the lack of suitable accommodation options, whether affected or not.

any event that changes political stability Business travel that results in a place or region or thousands of people taking to the streets poses a risk to your traveler and your plans. It can happen spontaneously or take time to develop. Sudden hazards and ongoing disruption can have a major impact on your business or traveller.

Again, planning, preparation, and thinking about these issues will greatly reduce the impact and improve your business as well.

Now that we’ve cleared the most common misconceptions, let’s focus on managing and containing a crisis.

Crisis management

The keys to successful crisis management are planning, training, plans, decision making and adaptability.


Given the issues previously covered, you now have a better understanding of how and why planning is important to eliminate emotional problems than the realities of real business threats and incidents.

For planning to be truly effective, it must involve multiple departments and perspectives. One of the biggest weaknesses I see regularly is that departments continue to manage travel risk across multiple departments with multiple plans. The input and the plan need to be combined. Depending on the company, it may include travel managers, security, HR, finance, marketing, C-suite and operations.

All plans need to be constantly updated, location-specific, aid in decision-making, and modular enough to extract elements quickly and effectively. Modern, effective plans embrace technology. Fast, efficient access to information as well as updates are hallmarks of a modern sustainable plan, regardless of the size of the issue or company.


No plan is effective without training and rehearsal. Education through simulations, drills or live, full-scale exercises is vital to the success of any crisis situation. Such sessions need not be boring or overly complex, but should involve travel managers and planners as well as the more common crisis and emergency managers.

Increasingly, education is becoming a mandatory requirement for key positions and roles. It may be linked to internal HR processes, but must support business objectives and be measurable in how it reduces risk to people, business, brand and travel demands.

As the plan establishes the crisis decision-making framework, teams can learn a lot from training on how and when to adapt their plans. How the team interacts, strengths, weaknesses, leaders, followers, limitations, tools and many more planned and surprising results are possible with effective training.


No plan can fully write down all available events, issues, and options for every reasonable travel delay, disruption, or crisis. You need to be able to adapt and evolve from the original plan and intent. This can only be achieved through planning, plans and training.

Solutions So what do I need in my plan?

Here are the best travel risk management content for your plan:

  • Purpose (the most important part of any travel policy)
  • References
  • Binoculars
  • Legal
  • Insurance
  • finance
  • refunds
  • limits
  • priority/priority
  • Managing Authority/authorities
  • situations

The procedure will likely cover:

  • Planning
  • resources
  • tools
  • Authority
  • Executive Decision making
  • limits
  • Budgets
  • Education
  • fit
  • Pre tour manager
  • providers
  • Reservation
  • Accomodation
  • Airlines
  • Land Transportation
  • Safety and security
  • health and wellness
  • Emergency
  • SOP/Actions
  • Insurance
  • Travel Tracking / Tracking
  • Reporting
  • HR
  • powers
  • Threat/risk levels
  • Shelter Onsite
  • relocation/evacuation
  • Managing Authority
  • Review

Note that your risk assessment will need to include key elements:

  • Traveler
  • Location
  • Activity
  • Support/Resources
  • Reaction


Here you got it. Now that you know what is required, how do you evaluate your current plans and preparation?

You now have the most relevant topics and areas to reduce or control most of the incidents you may encounter.

We debunked popular travel threat myths, identified the difference between crisis management and leadership, and outlined plans and options so you can quickly compare or improve your own travel risk management system for your travelers or travel management department. Review your plans and make instant improvements.

Once you have an effective crisis management system for your travel risk management strategy, you will know when you have few or no crises.

There may be many events or events, but you have a plan, you are prepared, and your decision-making is swift and consistent. If not, you’ve failed and will regularly run from crisis to crisis.

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