The real risk in travel RM

ITIJ 209, June 2018

Tony Ridley, CEO of Intelligent Travel in Australia, explores how travel risk analysis is often lacking

The notion of risk management may seem straightforward, and easily explained as the process of ‘experts’ reviewing and assessing risk, including travel. The problem is, it is far from this simple, and the lack of awareness and understanding by corporate buyers is placing both travellers and companies at significant risk. With the seemingly endless list of ‘travel risk management’ experts, it’s time the travel industry and corporate buyers/procurement stopped to consider the facts and compare apples with apples. 
Basic standards
As with most professions, processes and standards that impact the safety and wellbeing of people and businesses, there are well developed international and domestic standards that govern exactly what is required – as a bare minimum – when it comes to safety and risk management. These standards are descriptive without being restrictive or prescriptive, but they do ensure a consistent and proven methodology for the governance and management of risk. This includes risk assessments, regardless of the profession or discipline. It should therefore be a stunning revelation to buyers and business consumers of travel risk management products and services that the majority of products and services available on the market fail to meet even the elementary requirements of these standards and legally accepted means of ‘risk management’. 
With each passing month there are more and more individuals and businesses claiming to provide and specialise in ‘travel risk management’, ‘duty of care’, ‘travel safety’ and related fields. Not only do the individuals lack certifications and qualifications, they also fail to apply any and all international or domestic standards and processes for safety and risk management. 
Any system or process that is applied to 200 individuals or travellers that yields exactly the same outcome, rating or threat assessment is immediately suspicious. The very nature and requirement of safety and risk management is the inclusion or consideration of variances found in people, actions, location and proximity to threat or hazardous elements. It is not universal, generic or a ‘one-size-fits-all’ process.
Logical steps 
If a process, inclusive of travel risk management, cannot demonstrate evidence and compliance to each and every stage of ISO 31000’s Risk Management standard, the process is not an internationally accepted risk management process. These steps are:
Communication and consultation.
Establish context.
Risk identification.
Risk analysis.
Risk evaluation.
Risk treatment.
Monitoring and review.
If a process, inclusive of travel risk management, demonstrates evidence and compliance with the essential elements of global safety management standards such as knowledge; business relevance;
resources; processes; compliance; and
verification, then it is neither risk nor safety management compliant. 
Poor approach = poor results
Risk and safety management are long established and formalised processes. The application and adherence to enterprise safety and risk management systems is inclusive of travel or mobile workforces. There is no special exemption or process. The outcome may be enhanced or include specific nuances appropriate to travel and mobility, but exclusion of these basic and mandatory processes results in random outcomes, and unreliable and downright dangerous ‘assessments’ that are not valid in criminal or civil legal environments. Therefore, it is the use and acceptance of these bespoke and self-serving methodologies (similar to that of horoscopes) that represent the greatest and real risks in the current application of travel risk management. 


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