The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) records that—in the United States alone—an average total of 488 million business trips are taken per year.  That means travelers on the more experienced end of the spectrum must average of 12 trips per year (with 4 nights away from home per trip) to constitute such a monumental yearly total.

From an outsider perspective, business travel may appear to be a sign of professional esteem and sophistication. However, for those whose jobs and, by extension, livelihoods depend on business travel often face its starkest realities. Business travel is physically exhausting and mentally taxing. In addition, it is also potentially very dangerous.

The potential dangers of traveling range from mundane disruptions and minor inconveniences to catastrophes of life-threatening proportions. According to a study by the BTA Foundation, business travelers, themselves,  view terrorism as the greatest safety risk they face on the road, according to a study by the GBTA Foundation Almost half (45 percent) rank it as their greatest concern when traveling for business, much higher than the share indicating street crime (15 percent), illness/disease outbreaks/sanitation (13 percent), property crime/theft (12 percent), kidnapping (8 percent) or natural disasters (6 percent).

The truth of the matter is that the risks of travel extend even beyond these concerns. Just one often overlooked example is kidnapping. Kidnapping is rampant in many parts of the world and is, in fact, a thriving business in many countries. According to international kidnapping statistics presented by public policy groups, an estimated 100,000+ kidnappings occurred around the world in 2014, with a victim pool comprised largely of international tourists in non-native countries. Knowing how to protect yourself from becoming victimized, even under the conditions of an attempted kidnapping, is absolutely critical. If left unaddressed, not only will the risk of kidnapping become more prominent, but so too will the risks of cyber-crimes, ATM skimming, and others.

What is important is that risks are identified and that companies take the necessary steps to mitigate them. Businesses failing to put travel safety protocols in place jeopardize not just their employees’ well-being, but also the legal, financial and reputational standings of the businesses, themselves.

Risks differ depending on the location of the operation with which they are associated. Some reports estimate that 7 out of 10 emerging market destinations are “unsafe” or “not safe at all” due to the prevalence of especially severe prospects of risk. Business travelers generally feel developed cities in North America and Western Europe are safe for business travel. That said, in today’s global climate of sporadic and indiscriminate violence, it is important to be prepared for all reasonable risks regardless of specific destination.

When it comes to passenger safety during business travel, transportation companies are indeed burdened with the bulk of the responsibility. However, it falls on the individual to protect his or her own proprietary information while traveling in this capacity. To complicate matters, business travel can introduce confidential work to the risk of heightened exposure. For example, someone sitting behind you on an airplane may be reading your next presentation as you are writing it. A hard drive with confidential files may become misplaced or stolen amidst the crowd of a transportation hub. And while relying on public internet connectivity at one of these transportation hubs, someone can tap into a record of keystrokes on your mobile phone and retrace your most sensitive passwords.

On these accounts, establishing a clear and reliable travel risk management program is essential for any business. Yet, a plan is only as effective as the personnel who carry it out. It is critical that employees who travel for business are able to complement risk management plans with well-trained execution stages.  According to a study by the GBTA, though, the reality is that most people who travel for work lack clear understanding of their employers’ relevant risk management programs. The study found that 22% of business travelers are unsure of their point of contact with the company under emergency circumstances. Meanwhile, 36% of those surveyed said that they had little confidence their organization would provide correct information during overseas emergencies. Lastly, 52% of business travelers stated that they would be inclined to consider legal action against their employers if not supported properly by their employers’ risk management procedures during an emergency.

GRA Maven focuses on assisting organizations with their travel programs by applying due consideration to the social, political, and economic conditions of the intended destination(s).  From this assessment, we put together travel programs that minimize prospects of risk and thereby promote more meaningful trips for both the businesses and the employees.  Our goal is to identify all risks, threats, and vulnerabilities that our physical and technical security services will possibly address during travel.  Our SecureTrip training helps ensure that all levels of business management, including the employees assigned regular business travel, feel confident about their pending trips while understanding the heightened level of exposure that it warrants for the employee, the employee’s organization and, ultimately, the organization’s assets.

SecureTrip was developed by experienced former intelligence officers, military operations commandos, and special agents of various law enforcement units. The program represents the gold standard in training for secure business travel. SecureTrip will help you identify threat considerations, assess destination risks and inform you of IT best practices.

Contact us today for full information on our services.