Wednesday 8 January 2020

GUEST BLOG: Risks to Business Traveller Safety in 2020

According to the recent Business Resilience Trends Watch, 51% of respondents believe that health and security risks to business travel have increased in the past year. With concerns running high, it’s not surprising that many travel managers have expressed the need to change itineraries in 2020. 

Late last year, International SOS, the world’s leading medical and travel security services company, released their Travel Risk Outlook for 2020. Below, I unpack each risk and offer recommendations for travel managers to mitigate against them.

1.     Risks borne from geopolitical shifts 

The US Presidential election in 2020 will undoubtably influence the geopolitical trade industry with many nations. In Europe, political and social unrest runs a high risk as the Brexit outcome solidifies. Businesses must plan to ensure travellers are educated on changes to their free movement between nations, and gain access to the relevant travel documents ahead of time.

2.     Mental health issues 

Traveller wellbeing will be prioritised in 2020, with mental health listed as a higher risk to traveller safety than physical health for the first time since the release of this report. Helpful advice on reducing the stress of business travel can be found on CTM’s website to help improve mental health while on the road.

3.     Physical health

While mental health is gaining importance, physical health is still a key consideration when ensuring traveller wellbeing. Travel managers can help support physical health through hotel selection, focusing on brands and properties that offer fitness centres or healthy menus. Read more about Incorporating wellbeing into your travel policy.

4.     Cybercrime 

The cost of cyber-crime globally is expected to exceed $2 trillion this year, while data breaches can cost the average company around $US3.8 million1. In 2020, it is increasingly important for business travellers to take precautionary measures to ensure no personal or company data is vulnerable to hackers. You can find tips for ensuring data security when travelling for business here.

5.     Climate change

The impact of Climate Change is an increasingly important concern for travel managers when ensuring duty of care. This is where travel technology such as tracking functionality can help, by identifying travellers in areas of risk and communicating with them instantly.

6.     Infectious disease outbreaks 

Another impact of climate change, along with increasing urbanisation, diminishing vaccination coverage and security instability, is risk of infectious diseases. While predominantly an issue for those travelling to developing nations, businesses should be aware of vaccination requirements and hygiene standards across their supplier list.

7.     'Bleisure' travel

Listed as a ‘grey zone’ of travel risk, blesiure travel and its implications for duty of care is highly relevant for European-bound travellers. Travel managers will need to ensure clear outlines on insurance parameters are included in employee contracts and advise when additional coverage may be required at the employees’ expense.

8.     Millennials and Generation Z 

Bringing a new set of values and expectations to the industry, Millennial and Gen Z travellers will push businesses to evolve their risk strategies. New policies will have to account for changing travel behaviours, including experiential components and a focus on longer stays at smaller costs.

9.     High profile Duty of Care legal cases

Expected to increase in 2020, businesses must ensure their travel policies are updated regularly to ensure duty of care obligations are met. This includes investing in travel technology that can help mitigate risk, educating employees about risks and communicating with employees during a crisis to name a few.

10. Start-ups and SMEs 

Often under-resourced and inexperienced SME businesses can struggle to meet duty of care obligations without proper guidance from a TMC. Virtual Account Management solutions can help small businesses access all the benefits of a customised travel programme, delivered and supported via phone and online support.

This post was written by Richard Ware, Senior Business Development Manager, CTM Europe. He will be attending the Business Travel Show, which takes place on 26-27 February 2020 at Olympia London.

You can register for a free visitor pass at and book a meeting with Richard and CTM at

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