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ANALYSIS


team decides whether or not they want to spend the money. “That is why I believe in having insurance as an integral part of risk management; it speeds up the action when you need it most,” says Job. When events are predictable, travellers


need to use common sense. Someone taking a trip to the Caribbean in September should know a hurricane is possible and be primed to react accordingly. “One caller from the area in September last year said, ‘The storm is due in two hours, can you get me out?’,” says Job. “We had been posting alerts as soon as the storm was on the radar and updating people as it picked up power.” Drum Cussac had also warned that there


would be no power after the storm and that anyone planning to stay should be well provisioned. Ironically, he says, “we had a plane they could get on but they couldn’t get themselves to the airport”.


TRAVELLER FEEDBACK Debriefing travellers can be carried out online via an automated email: let us know anything you noticed while travelling. If polled within days of their return, the response will be accurate and fresh, and ensures companies are kept up to date about changes in mood or local behaviour, which is valuable feedback from someone who visits the same areas regularly. After an incident, face-to-face debrief- ing is essential, to assess what lessons can


be learned, with attendant adjustments to policy or whether a number of policy changes would make any difference. It may also highlight where policy could better cater for inexperienced travellers. Risk management is not just duty-of-care;


it is a commercial imperative. Risk man- agement equals reputation management. “If one of your employees is kidnapped during a business trip and you have not taken sufficient steps to mitigate that risk and protect his or her safety, then not only have you failed in your basic duty-of-care responsibilities to your employees but such a situation will grab headlines in the press and impact negatively on your company’s reputation,” says Wings’ East. If there were any doubt, there is evidence


the converse is true: “In our extensive experi- ence with our clients, we see that companies with more mature risk management practic- es outperform their peers financially,” writes EY in its report Turning Risk into Results. The firm’s research suggests this translates to a competitive advantage: companies in the top 20 per cent of risk maturity generated three times the level of EBITDA as those in the bottom 20 per cent. Capita Travel and Events’ new approach


to risk analysis, Smarter Working, brings together statistics from different parts of a business to gain better insight. This em- braces HR, including absenteeism, age profile of travellers, gender and how long


they have worked for the company; travel data, expense, fleet mileage information, plus third-party data, such as crime reports. “This allows us to build up pictures of


cause and effect that were not visible,” says chief commercial officer Trevor Elswood. “The tenet of Smarter Working is to put safety and wellbeing at the centre of things.” Proof of the pudding came in the form


of a client company that had put a ban on travel one month of the year and wanted to understand whether it was effective. “Air and rail travel had come down during that month, but road mileage had shot up dis- proportionately,” says Elswood. “This had reduced costs but we showed the amount of unproductive time there was by moving from rail to car. People were undertaking numerous trips of more than 300 miles in a day with no accommodation. This was not intended.” Other areas reassessed included extend-


ing no-driving policies to business trips on domestic flights, which might involve a 16-hour day; absenteeism when related to certain types of travel, and total trip cost. “The more data you put into the blender,


the more you can ask of it to create a bet- ter-informed approach to travel and risk policy,” Elswood says. “By blending rich data sources from different stakeholders, we were able to measure the possible results of the law of unintended consequences.”


Former marine launches consultancy Former Royal Marine Commando


Based on military expertise, a new company aims to bring together travel planning and risk reduction into a single operation


Ian Smith has set up Vitrus Global to help businesses protect their workforce. Smith was a commando with 45 Royal Marines, and has served tours of duty on the frontline in Afghanistan and Iraq. After leaving the forces and spending time working in international maritime and land-based security and risk advisory roles, he says he saw the need to bring together the two areas of travel management and risk reduction.


He claims that previously, risk management companies have specialised only in so-called “high


38 BBT July/August 2018


risk” areas of the world, but now even local travel carries its own risks. By bringing travel planning and risk reduction into a single operation, Smith says Vitrus can provide a “unique service for businesses”. “We can help companies better manage the exposure of their employees to risk, and we can help travellers to be better prepared. Drawing on our knowledge and resources we can provide them with a range of single sourced, cost-effective solutions, which deliver peace of mind.” The Newcastle-based firm can also create tailor-made travel plans,


Ian Smith, Vitrus Global


including risk analysis, evacuation and emergency response planning, close protection and crisis management where necessary. virtusglobal.co.uk


BUYINGBUSINESSTRAVEL.COM


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