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Are You Ready To Win With The Duty Of Care In Travel? (+FREE 10-Point Checklist)

duty of care in travel explained

As the world resumes travel, the focus is firmly on safety. The new Generation C – a term coined by Jamaica’s minister of tourism for post-covid travelers – is cautious and careful. They require up to the minute information, complete reassurance as they plan their business trips once again. For travel managers, this means that they need to develop/update a robust duty of care plan to rebuild trust amongst their employees and address their travel-related insecurity with confidence. They need to understand (and detail) health and safety protocols at every point of the employee’s travel journey to minimize risks and take immediate action if something does go wrong.

Imagine a scenario in which your employee is abroad and a health emergency takes hold. International flights are cut. Supplies run short. Communication becomes difficult due to overloaded networks. What would you and your employees do? Having a solid duty of care plan in place will help you mitigate risks and take care of your employees during these unforeseen situations. Being prepared beforehand is essential for the well-being of your employees and the company’s success.  

What is Duty of Care in Travel?

Duty of Care is the legal and moral responsibility of an organization to ensure the health and safety of an employee whether they are in office or on a business trip. 

Having a duty of care plan will help you mitigate risks and ensure employees’ safety, comfort and well-being. Also, it will help you improve communication and the flow of timely & accurate information between you and your employees, building a culture of trust and safety. 

Plan for Duty of Care in Travel: Creating a Safe, Seamless Travel Experience for your Employees 

We have put together some tips to help you initiate and develop a solid duty of care plan with the right processes and platforms. The tips have been split into 3 parts – pre-trip, during the trip, and post-trip for your convenience.

Duty of Care in Travel: Pre-Trip Tips

  1. Determine if the destination is safe to travel– Today, the role of travel managers is beyond budgeting and tracking travel spends. It is to assess if the destination country is safe and the trip is essential. Hence, the first step in your duty of care program should be to postpone or cancel all the trips that don’t meet your risk assessment criteria.
  1. Know who is fit to travel – As a travel manager, you should include in your duty of care plan the need for assessing if the employee is fit to travel with respect to her age, health conditions, any underlying ailments, etc.
  2. Have a flexible travel policy –  To prioritize employee safety above anything else, it is critical to have a flexible T&E policy in place. It should let your employees cancel/reschedule their travel easily. Your policy should also make it simple for travelers to overspend if there are safety concerns. While this may partly increase costs for the company, it will give you and your employee peace of mind.
  1. Provide real-time updates & travel alerts – Most employees are worried today thinking what if they get “stuck” at a destination due to lockdowns or border closures. Therefore, it is essential you keep your employees up to date with real-time updates on the latest travel rules & regulations. T&E management platforms such as ITILITE have got this covered for you. They keep you up to speed with travel alerts and notifications.
  2. Update contact information – Before an employee travels, ensure you have her most updated contact information. Apart from this, you should also have contact information for their next of kin and the clients they will be meeting during the trip.
  3. Communicate the safety protocol with your employees – It is important that as the plan is created or updated, it is communicated to the employees. All the employees should understand the extent to which support is available and how to get it. Share helpful tips for traveling safely and educate them about the location they are traveling to. You can hold training sessions to ensure they know the protocols, emergency contact numbers, their point of contact in case of emergency, etc. 
  1. Have the ability to block unsafe city/ transport/ accommodation – Once you have decided on unsafe cities/accommodations, your T&E solution should automatically block those searches. This approach mitigates the risk of such travel better than email notifications. With ITILITE Shield, you can lock a city, hotel, or airline that you deem unsafe and protect your employees.
  2. Curate a list of safe hotels- When it comes to accommodation, safety is of utmost importance. Ensure that wherever your employees are staying, those hotels and places are compliant with WHO’s global safety standards. The hotels should have all health and safety protocols in place to make employees feel comfortable and safe while staying there on a business trip. 

Duty of Care in Travel: During Trip Tips

9. Get full visibility via employee tracking – You should know at a glance which employees are traveling, where they are going, where they are staying & for how long, and how to get to them in case of an emergency. ITILITE’s mapview feature helps you track where your employee is. With a T&E partner like ITILITE,  you’ll have peace of mind knowing exactly what flights, hotels, and cabs are booked – and where your employee is at any given time.

10. Provide 24/7 multi-level support – Ensure that the T&E solution you have chosen delivers proactive support to employees – no matter where they are or what time of the day it is. Equally important is ensuring support is available 24*7 through easily accessible modes like chat and calls. Furthermore, in emergency situations, your employees should be able to talk to an agent directly, instead of chatbots. 

11. Provide SOS button/Helpline (Domestic & International) – Apart from providing 24/7 multi-level support, it is also important to give them an SOS helpline number in case of an emergency. You have to ensure all your employees’ medical needs are covered wherever they are with the provision of ambulance, evacuation, and repatriation services.

12. Ensure insurance for the life safety of employees – Your duty of care plan should also include a comprehensive insurance cover for employees. They should feel secure when they are traveling via air or in a cab.

Duty of Care in Travel: Post-Trip Tips

13. Collect insights via traveler feedback form – It’s a good practice to survey your employees once they are back from the trip and collect feedback. You can use the survey insights to know their preferences and the choices they make. These surveys are important because these on-site assessments cannot be done for every property and tools cannot provide the same level of granularity as an employee could. If the property isn’t good enough, you can even block it from your T&E solution.

14. Arrange post-trip health checkups – You should also provide post-trip health checkups to curb any travel-related virus transmission. Given the current situation, you can also open a quarantine facility for your employees. Employees who are returning from travel and are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms of COVID 19 can use the facility.  

How ITILITE Can Help

Many companies are already taking their duty of care quite seriously. For others, it’s high time to make sure they’ve got this covered. To quickly adapt to these new norms and get going, it’s best to have a travel and expense management solution like ITILITE in place. At ITILITE, we can help you create a robust duty of care plan and automatically implement it. To understand more about how we can help, book a demo today.  

DON’T RISK IT!

Remember, in current times, risks in travel are more likely than earlier. As a travel manager, your focus should NOT be on WHEN but WHAT IF something happens. In many cases, you will only have a few minutes to assess the crisis and respond. Your capacity and preparedness to deal with such situations can make or break your business. Download this 10-point duty of care checklist to assess if you are up to the mark in resuming travel safely for your employees. 

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