Travel Risk Management: Lessons from COVID-19 and How Technology Can Help

Across the travel industry, a number of measures are being considered to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and prevent potential new contagions. In this article, Mike King explores the role of technology in managing travel risks and security after pandemic and in transforming the duty of care.
19/05/20
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By Mike King
DataArt’s Strategic Relationship Director
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Travel Risk Management: Lessons from COVID-19 and How Technology Can Help

Traveler concerns in the wake of COVID-19, recommendations by health authorities, and government travel restrictions have all contributed to a reduction in travel to less than 10% of 2019’s volume. But as countries begin to experience declining infection rates, they are starting to reopen their economies and loosen travel restrictions. According to a worldwide BCD Travel survey of 125 travel managers polled between April 6th and 16th, 8 out of 10 expect that some degree of travel will resume in Q2-Q3 of 2020.

Following the 9/11 crisis, we changed the way we view and manage travel risk and security. Corporate travel programs and leisure travel guidelines adapted to address everything from new booking processes, TSA checkpoint and baggage requirements, destination risk assessments, and near real-time tracking of corporate travelers.

This adaptation process will repeat itself now to ensure the ongoing security and safety of travelers, and to help people become comfortable with resuming air travel, lodging stays, cruising and touring.

Across the travel industry, interim and longer-term measures are being considered to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and prevent potential new contagions from reaching pandemic levels. Travel will benefit from many of the COVID-19 initiatives being evaluated and worked on by governments and private industries around the world, including: 

  • temperature checks
  • laboratory-based and real-time testing devices
  • antibody testing
  • testing result certifications, e.g. via QR code
  • contact tracing (manual tracing and mobile apps)
  • PPE (face masks, gloves)
  • social distancing and personal hygiene standards
  • mobile self-service tools
  • standards of cleanliness for airlines, lodging, cruise lines, etc.
  • health risk assessments by countries and major cities
  • destination specific COVID-19 regulations and requirements, e.g. mandated quarantine periods and guidelines

Role of Technology in Transforming Duty of Care


Duty of care processes and systems will evolve to incorporate these new travel and health regulations. Aiming at proactive risk management, TMCs and travel agencies should strive to ensure full security and safety of their business and leisure travelers. Companies will require comprehensive guidelines and a technical solution that offers constant data updates, omnichannel communication, and fast alerts. Connectivity with travel data sources and health and risk information updates are vital for ensuring a robust, real-time picture, as well as to obtain historical data for further analysis. Offering a mobile application and/or web-based platform is the perfect choice for merging the needs of business travelers with the convenience expected in a leisure travel experience.

New duty of care solutions will emerge, and existing programs and solutions will be updated to incorporate: 

  • new health information guidelines and notifications
  • new airport, lodging and cruise health screening standards
  • more robust employee and traveler tracking
  • near real-time communication and alerts
  • guidelines and options to address local testing and quarantine requirements when traveling

To address new guidelines and requirements, it is crucial to collaborate with your solutions and technology providers.

Travel is going to keep changing and evolving, and new requirements will emerge. We can’t predict the future, but we can learn from the current situation and improve our readiness.

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