Three-quarters of travel buyers lack knowledge of the ISO 31030 guidance for travel risk management

Organizations may be missing important components of their TRM program, which can result in duty of care failure

UTRECHT, The Netherlands, March 21, 2023 – Three-quarters of travel buyers have little to no knowledge of the ISO 31030:2021, the new international guidance specific to travel risk management (TRM) and could potentially be missing important components of their TRM program, according to a recent BCD Travel survey from January. Only 14% of buyers have actually read the ISO 31030, and 11% are somewhat familiar.

BCD’s Global Crisis Management team helps organizations overcome gaps in their travel risk management programs through the Traveler Security Program Assessment. The assessment is aligned with the guidance of ISO 31030 and ensures companies follow the industry’s latest advice.

The survey results revealed how companies handle the main areas of a travel risk management program through trip planning, enroute support and the review process. Organizations encourage compliance to TRM initiatives by communicating the importance of employees following security measures (63%). They also promote employee responsibility to manage their personal safety while traveling (56%). When organizations assess travel risks, the most considered factors are the travel destination, mode of transportation, availability of medical services and potential impact to the company.

A key step organizations can take in preparing employees for travel is to provide emergency contact information. The majority of buyers (80%) do this through their intranet and half of the respondents said emergency contact information is listed in travel itineraries, travel policies and their mobile app.

When it comes to post-trip support to ensure a smooth transition back to work, the survey found that as many as 45% of companies provide no post-trip support. Almost 30% of respondents said their organization would follow up with an employee if a security or medical incident occurred during the trip.

Only one third of those surveyed review their program annually. However, most respondents say they don’t know if their program is audited and reviewed, which could indicate it’s not considered as a necessary process.

Based on the results of the survey, BCD’s Global Crisis Management team has the following advice in line with the ISO 31030:

  • The risks of a trip are not only related to the destination and mode of transportation but also to available infrastructure and personal factors. For example, organizations need to take into account that a destination with high air pollution could be considered high-risk for an asthmatic traveler, but lower risk otherwise.
  • Because online access isn’t always available during large-scale incidents or in rural areas, provide emergency contact details to employees both digitally and in print for easy access in a crisis.
  • To ensure that efforts at engaging employees with important information aren’t ignored, require acknowledgement from employees when communicating the TRM program and updates.
  • While insurance is widely used to reduce the impact of risks, insurance is not a substitute for an all-encompassing TRM program.
  • Companies need to consider how travel may affect the health of their employees and allow proper rest and recuperation after a trip. Crossing multiple time zones, loss of sleep, change in eating habits, involvement in a security incident, personal health emergencies, service disruption, poor vendor experiences etc. can have a long-lasting impact on both a traveler’s physical and mental health.
  • Organizations should assess, audit and analyze the various procedures in their TRM program regularly, especially when there are changes to providers or the organization.
  • The risk profile of a destination can change quickly. Consider this when determining how often to review the high-risk destination list in proportion to operational needs.

“A good travel risk management program has a complex structure. The survey results show that many organizations have room for improvement,” said Jorge Mesa, director of Global Crisis Management. “ISO 31030 provides excellent advice to organizations’ travel managers, security managers, buyers and HR departments to mitigate risks and fulfill their duty of care. It contains practical guidelines and can be applied globally.”

For the complete survey results and more recommendations, click here.

About BCD Travel

BCD Travel helps companies travel smart and achieve more. We drive program adoption, cost savings and talent retention through digital experiences that simplify business travel. Our 15,000+ dedicated team members service clients in 170+ countries as we shape a sustainable future for business travel. BCD’s leading meetings and events management and global consultancy services complete our comprehensive suite of solutions for all aspects of corporate travel. In 2023, BCD achieved US$20.3 billion in sales. For more information, visit