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Business Travel Travel Management

Why Duty Of Care For Universities Is The Real Reason To Mandate Travel

From study abroad students to professors on sabbatical; universities have their own ecosystem when is comes to travel management. Just think of it, potentially thousands of students, administrators, professors and contractors can be traveling on behalf of an academic institution at any one time. That’s why it’s so surprising to learn that many universities and colleges do not utilize travel management companies for their complex travel needs. Many know that mandating travel would help them stay organized and reduce travel costs. But unfortunately, finding the right TMC often becomes a ‘back-burner’ item. Additionally, as the global and political climate become more unpredictable, the responsibility of duty of care for universities is also growing. Can learning institutions really afford not have a mandated travel management program in this day and age?

Increase in travel risk requires more duty of care for universities

Duty of care responsibility and the travel risk management that is required to maintain it, is a large task for even small startups. The responsibility required by a university or college can be mind boggling. Whether it be theft, terrorism, disease, or weather; the risks associated with travel have always been around. And unfortunately, it appears to be increasing. iJET, a leader in integrated travel management, found that 98% of their alerts were issued in just the past five years. Additionally, 78% of travel managers plan on making risk management a higher priority this year. Risk, from pickpockets to something catastrophic, is a global issue that only seems to be growing. It is naive to think that universities and colleges of any size can adequately protect their students and employees without the assistance of a travel management program.

How a lack of duty of care lead to disaster

In 2007, Cara Munn was an active 15 year-old excited to attend a school trip to China. Her private boarding school, The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, lead a month-long excursion around the country. Part of the trip included a hike on Mount Panshan. We now know that the trip leaders never told the students to put on bug spray. She was also allowed to hike down the mountain unsupervised rather than take a cable car with the group. Ten days later, Munn was rushed to Beijing hospital with a high fever, headache and wooziness. She eventually was airlifted back to New York. Due to the hike without bug spray, Munn contracted tick-borne encephalitis. This viral infection caused by ticks commonly manifests as meningitis, encephalitis, or meningoencephalitis. Though Munn went on to finish high school and attended Trinity College, she has lost the ability to speak and some cognitive functions.

Ten years later, Hotchkiss School and the Munn family are still in the middle of a heated lawsuit. The Connecticut Supreme Court recently ruled to uphold a $41.5 million verdict for the family. They found that the school lacked duty of care responsibility when they failed to warn or protect their students against the risk of a serious insect-borne disease. Though the case is now pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the amount of time, money, stress and energy spent by the school has been insurmountable. And with the court cases appearing to favor the student, it’s becoming more and more apparent that education institutions need to have their duty of care and travel risk management protocol in place and in action should an incident arise.

The necessity of duty of care solutions for universities

Basically it comes down to one question. Can your institution afford to not have duty of care responsibility? Could you afford ten years worth of court fees like this example? What about the bad publicity and tarnished reputation that would come with it?

We’re lucky enough to live in a time where technology has made previously convoluted and confusing tasks simple and straightforward. Travel technology, like our AirPortal 360 Suite, provides support and guidance from the very beginning of your traveler’s process. Ensure they are booking within policy and easily keep track of their itinerary and preferences. Once they travel, monitor their progress and receive travel alerts around their location. Travel management and duty of care responsibility are more important now than ever, but luckily, our travel technology is easy to use and provides peace of mind. If you or your university is interested in learning more about travel management services, please contact us.

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Travel Management Travel Technology

What Is Duty of Care?

I recently wrote the blog,  What does a Travel Management Company do?  In the process of writing it, I realized that we use industry phrases, assuming everyone understands what we are referring to.  Take Duty of Care for instance.  If you were to ask your next door neighbor, your hair dresser and your mother what Duty of Care is, you will probably get three totally different answers.  I even googled Duty of Care and found more than three different definitions! But this definition by Merriam-Webster was the most simple and straightforward: ‘a duty to use due care toward others in order to protect them from unnecessary risk of harm’.

Duty of Care and your travel management program

So what does that mean for travel?  Simply put, it is an employers moral and legal obligation for the safety of their employees while traveling.  In the university setting, this even includes students!  Many countries, including the US, are in the process of developing strict laws to help protect business travelers. But until these laws are worldwide and regulated, corporations and universities without a managed travel program run the risk of serious consequences in the event of an emergency.

How SecurityLogic assists with Duty of Care responsibility

To assist corporations and universities with their duty of care obligations, Christopherson Business Travel developed SecurityLogic.  Our clients have access to global alerts and valuable tools to ensure the safety of your travelers.  With SecurityLogic, travel managers can access real-time security, weather, flight delays, and disaster alerts. They are then automatically pushed to travelers via text and email. And, with the intuitive Safety Check feature, you can also request safety verification from your travelers anywhere in the world.

SecurityLogic provides multiple global map overlays, and because all travel information is geocoded to street-level accuracy, you can zoom in on any country, city, or street to find your travelers through the tool’s customized search options. With customized search options our clients can quickly locate their travelers by name, department, date, and/or location.

An effective duty of care program is essential for every corporation and university. To discuss if SecurityLogic is a good fit for your company, feel free to contact us using the form on this page.

Read next – How To Get Started – Duty Of Care Advice

 

 

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Business Travel Travel Management Travel Technology

Keeping Business Travelers Safe in an Emergency

When security threats, like the Brussels bombings, occur, business travelers turn to their travel manager and their corporate travel agency and ask: What should I do if a bomb explodes where I am traveling? Where would I go? Who should I reach out to?

As a travel manager, it’s important to make sure that your business travelers, when faced with a travel emergency, have the essential information: 1) what to do, 2) who to call, and 3) where to go. In fact, it’s helpful to have an official document that outlines out your company’s travel security plan. Whether that document is a part of a general travel packet or separate, it should be read by business travelers before they take their first trip.

When preparing a business traveler safety and security document, think about the potential needs of a traveler facing a security threat. What does your business traveler need to know ahead of time in order to feel safe? Here are a few questions to assist you as you prepare your business travel security plans:

  1. What would you do if your business traveler needs medical attention? Who should the company contact (think response teams and personal contacts)? What is the emergency number in that country?
  2. How should you account for and locate the business traveler’s essential belonging? e.g. itinerary, passport, wallet, cell phone, baggage, equipment, medication, etc.
  3. How do you plan to assess whether it’s safe for the business traveler to leave the area?
  4. Once safe, where should the business traveler go? Is there an interum location locally? What efforts do you make to bring them home?
  5. How will you assess the transportation situation? How can your business traveler determine if there the airports, trains, car rentals, or Uber available?
  6. Where will your business travelers sleep that night?
  7. Can they get food and water in the next 24 hours?
  8. What is the established, best way to communicate?

The U.S. Passports & International Travel website is another resource. They provide a helpful checklist for traveling outside the United States. You can also search specific travel destinations for more information about that country or area.

Sending business travelers into the field comes with great responsibility. When duty of care has a solid foundation in your corporate travel management practice, you can maximize the benefits of business travel while minimizing liability for the organization and risk for traveling employees.

As a top business travel management company, Christopherson Business Travel offers business travel solutions to assist companies with their duty of care. Our technology tool SecurityLogic helps corporate travel managers quickly locate travelers in an emergency, verify their safety, and communicate plans to assist their needs. To learn more about our travel management solutions, contact us here.

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Business Travel Travel Management

It’s 10 PM. Do you know where your travelers are?: 10 Duty of Care Best Practice Recommendations

At a time when there were no cell phones, the public announcement “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?” appeared before the 10 o’clock news as a reminder to parents that children should be home prior to curfew. During my high school years, when I was out with friends, we would often joke “It’s 10pm. Do you know where your parents are?” Those same parents who used to be in for the night, were enjoying a new social life of their own, showing that life in America was changing.

Fast forward to today’s world, where information is readily available, and apply the same principle to your company’s travel program. For example, let’s say there’s been a disaster, you hear about it and you wonder, do I know where my travelers are? Are any of them currently traveling in the affected area? If so, are they okay? How do I reach them? Do I know how to contact their family members or friends?

What is duty of care?

Duty of care–we’ve all heard of it, but what does it really mean? A basic definition is to ensure that a person does not suffer any unreasonable harm or loss. If your actions as an employer do not meet the standard duty of care, then you are considered negligent and a lawsuit may result.

Corporations are responsible for their employees when they travel, particularly when and if they travel in a harmful situation. This can become challenging when 1) corporations don’t keep track of their employees, and 2) employees don’t tell anyone where they are going. On one of my business trips I called home and my family asked, “How’s Boise?”  My reply was, “I’m in Portland.” I certainly failed in communicating to anyone my exact plans.

Organizations are definitely doing a better job at making sure they know where their employees are traveling. Employees need to understand how important it is for the company to know where they are for safety reasons. A benchmarking study was done by International SOS on duty of care. A list of best practices were derived from gaps they found in the study.

10 Duty of Care Best Practice Recommendations

  1. Increase awareness
  2. Plan with key stakeholders
  3. Expand policies and procedures
  4. Conduct due diligence
  5. Communicate, educate and train
  6. Assess risk prior to every employee trip
  7. Track traveling employees at all times
  8. Implement an employee emergency response system
  9. Implement additional management controls
  10. Ensure vendors are aligned

Whether you are an organization, travel manager, or traveler, find a tool that best suits you to keep track of your whereabouts. There are many apps, agency tools, and third party vendors who can help in keeping track of employee travel. If you haven’t done so, give it a try. You will sleep much better at night knowing where your travelers are.