Applying ‘duty of care’ to corporate travel

Corporate travel managers have a wide range of responsibilities. Juggling them is like keeping all the plates spinning — different portions need more attention at different times.

You likely have a dedicated HR specialist that handles negotiating booking rates with airlines and hotel chains. And expense reports go to accounting. Has your company talked about duty of care? Did you know that even day trip travel is a legal liability for employers?


What is duty of care?

As an employer, duty of care means that you behave and conduct your business in a manner that is responsible, vigilant and safe for your employees. Duty of care is not just a nicety — it’s actually a legal term that opens your business up to negligence charges if something goes wrong while employees are on the clock. This applies to day trip travel, overnight business trips and international travel.

Corporate travel managers should hire and use reputable business partners, such as professional transportation companies or travel management companies to ensure safety for each part of an employee’s travel.

How does your business alert employees about any pending changes, problems or emergencies? Can you reach your employees should circumstances require it? How would you bring employees home safely in the event of an emergency?


What does duty of care mean for international travel?

When flying and conducting business overseas, employees are exposed to an increased risk of delays, complications in bookings or even safety issues. Being outside the country means that traveling employees rely more heavily on their home base to keep them safe.

Possible exposures include:

  • terrorism
  • lawlessness
  • crime
  • political instability
  • infectious diseases
  • travel-related illness

In December 2018, SAP Concur partnered with the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) to survey European business travelers about duty of care. The following are a few stats about what employees expect.

  1. 45% of business travelers say the only way for their organization to know where they traveled is through their expense claim.
  2. Business travelers expect their organization to be proactive in duty of care. 82% think it’s important for their organization to have visibility of their travel plans.
  3. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of business travelers expect their company to proactively contact them within two hours of an emergency or security event.

How can we implement a duty of care program?

Do your research. Companies like SAP Concur have created resources like this Duty of Care tipsheet for 10 great tips to get your company on the right path for proper policies and procedures with duty of care.

Get high-level buy-in. It’s important that your company’s most senior members are all on board for the duty of care program. Make sure to include your legal and financial teams when you offer information about the legality of negligence and how you can streamline expenses and reporting.

Tap into existing resources. If your company’s security team has a disaster preparedness group, join! Let the size of your business (and travel frequency) determine if you’ll keep the program in-house or outsource to a travel management company.


How can I simplify the travel process with duty of care?

Corporate travel managers can make travel a seamless process for everyone. Finding responsible companies to coordinate with can make all the difference.

For example, you could hire a professional transportation service. You’ll:

  • Reduce travel department operational expenses due to efficiencies in the ground transportation booking process.
  • Get efficient, accurate and automatic vendor selection.
  • Find unlimited reporting capabilities on exception reporting. Better manage, control, negotiate and budget ground transportation expenses.
  • Gain accuracy in the exchange or critical data between the travel arranger and ground transportation service provider, reducing service failures.

There are also a variety of apps available for travel managers. Look at FLIO, TravelPerk, TripActions, and Travelport Trip Assist. It might be helpful to offer your employees some of the most used retail apps as well, like LonelyPlanet, XE Currency, Zomato and Viator.

Duty of care is very important and needs to be top-of-mind for all corporate travel managers. If you have questions about how to collaborate with a professional transportation company in the Florida area, contact A1A Limofor info on our discount and commission program.