For corporate travel managers, understanding Duty of Care is essential for ensuring compliance and establishing a sufficient travel policy for employees. From minimal Duty of Care programs to more comprehensive plans that include travel risk management providers, travel managers must understand the wide spectrum of risks that a diverse mobile workforce may face today. One of the most vital aspects of managing travel for an entire company is booking secure travel accommodations, as inadequate hotel safety programs can lead to potential harm and negative business outcomes. 

Although there are many steps business travelers can take to improve their personal safety when traveling domestically and internationally, it’s the organization’s responsibility to complete due diligence when selecting the appropriate accommodations for their mobile workforce. When booking accommodations for employees, travel managers should look to implement a complete analysis of the destination’s surroundings, while also keeping in mind the many different profiles of the traveler. This can be done by incorporating simple considerations when selecting accommodations. According to a joint study published by International SOS and ACTE Global, conducting such analysis allows employers and staff to make smarter decisions, both before a trip and during travel. By conducting this in-depth analysis ahead of time, it allows for businesses to act quickly in emergency situations and ultimately keep travelers safe. 

Travel managers should keep certain considerations in mind when assessing potential lodging options and the main risk factors a traveler may face. These considerations include the following:

Evaluate security standards in comparison to the destination
By evaluating security standards, travel managers are reducing exposure to security risks. Additionally, layered security measures are always an added benefit, especially in the form of multiple entrance points or varying access control via key card or code.

Additional amenities provided by the accommodation
When selecting accommodations for travelers and evaluating the safety of each, additional security measures can make the difference in making a final decision. These may include multilingual staff, background checks for hotel employees, car service options, or nearby medical facilities. Even something as simple as late check-in can help reduce security exposure and make a big difference in choosing the right accommodations.  

Evacuation preparedness
Most hotels will have established and practiced drills for evacuating premises and have trained staff to supervise them. Very few shared properties, for example, non-serviced apartment buildings, will have similarly robust procedures. However, such properties are also less likely than hotels to have alternative power or telecommunications systems, making them much less resilient options in locations prone to interrupted power supplies. Additionally, in the event of an incident such as a fire or burglary, first responders will find it easier to locate well-known hotels or guesthouses. Private lodging will often be less easily identifiable, which reduces your ability to manage the impact of unforeseen or unavoidable events.

Using the processes listed above can help travel managers make secure and accurate accommodation selections that help protect their mobile workforce. This is an integral part of a travel risk assessment and should be taken into consideration when forming any mature travel risk mitigation program. Overall, failing to use existing research on hotel safety and not completing a thorough analysis of the safety factors, not only affects traveler well-being, but can also be costly. It is pertinent to the travel manager, the business traveler and the business, that preparations are taken ahead of time to secure a safe and comfortable hotel.