Business travel is on the rebound. Spending on corporate travel was expected to exceed half of pre-pandemic levels by the first half of 2023, and 71 percent of U.S. companies expect a complete recovery in travel spend by the end of 2024, according to a Deloitte corporate travel study.
While corporate travel can be good for business, organizations have a duty of care to meet when it comes to protecting traveling employees. However, international business travel often gets the majority of the attention when it comes to corporate travel risk management. While this is understandable, domestic business travel poses many of the same threats to employee health and safety.
Business travel remains one of the best ways for organizations to build and strengthen vendor and customer relationships. That’s why it’s important to understand the potential risks that can put employees traveling within the U.S. in harm’s way, so you can better protect them as part of a comprehensive travel risk management strategy.
Domestic Destinations: The Duty of Care Continues
An organization’s duty of care doesn’t end when your employees arrive at their destination. It continues throughout the duration of their trip. Depending on where your employees are traveling to, they may be at risk of having to deal with different issues.
For example, when asked about the top perceived threats in the U.S., CEOs identified the following based on different regions of the country, according to the 2023 Global Risk Impact Report:
- Northeast: Extreme weather
- Midwest: Infrastructure failure
- South: Crime
- West: Public health
Risk data backs up several of these perceptions.
Weather is certainly a threat. Reports of extreme weather incidents increased by 42 percent in the U.S. from 2021 to 2022, with specific types of weather events experiencing the following increases:
- Earthquakes: +945%
- Winter storm/Blizzard: +216%
- Tsunami: +221%
- Severe storm: +138%
- Flash flood: +52%
- Tornado: +11%
Risk data shows infrastructure failures pose a real risk. Reports of infrastructure and technology incidents increased by 807 percent in the U.S from 2021 to 2022. Leaders are correct in associating the Midwest with infrastructure issues. Power outages in Kansas increased by 683 percent and increased by 649 percent in Oklahoma. South Carolina, however, experienced an increase of 1,716 percent in reports of power outages, showing this is a risk in other areas of the country as well.
When it comes to crime, gun violence is of particular concern. As of July 2023, there have already been 422 mass shootings in the U.S. During the first half of the year, the country experienced more mass killings than any other six-month period since 2006.
From earthquakes to power outages and everything in between, organizations have a long list of threats to monitor to meet duty of care requirements when employees are traveling within our borders. Yet despite these statistics, many leaders aren’t prepared. Only 25 percent of CEOs have a plan to address transportation accidents, while 37 percent have a plan to address extreme weather and 29 percent have a plan for infrastructure failures.
If your organization lacks a formal plan for travel risk management, it may be time to unpack your current strategy and put domestic business travel risk at the top of your corporate packing list.
Duty of Care Travel Risk Management Technology: Travel Essentials
Domestic business travel demands the same proactive planning and preparation as international travel. When your employees are representing your company domestically or abroad, you have a responsibility to take the appropriate measures to keep them informed of potential threats that may arise. If something like a power outage, active shooter or severe storm does occur, every second counts. An organization that can monitor and proactively alert employees of potential harm is better equipped when an event occurs.
Fortunately, technology can help you meet duty of care obligations by providing fast, actionable intelligence about threats in specific locations and real-time alerting capabilities. Learn more about prioritizing safety for all of your travelers with a travel management solution seamlessly embedded into your risk management experience.