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BLOG: Travel Risk Mitigation in Higher Education

Duty of care and travel risk management have been getting a lot more attention in higher education travel programs due to the increased awareness around things like gun violence, terrorism and extreme weather. With this increased awareness there is now an expectation that schools will address duty of care and make efforts to ensure the safety of their traveling employees and students. Often times, though, the focus is placed on incident response and mitigation is overlooked.


In addition to having an incident response plan, it’s a best practice to think about how you can mitigate risks for travelers. Including a travel risk management section in your travel policy is a great place to start. Make travelers aware of the things they can do while traveling to help them avoid being affected by critical incidents. Being aware of their surroundings and the fact that individuals can be judged differently around the world based on race, sex and sexual orientation are some simple things you can include in your travel policy to help in this regard.


Pre-trip advisories are another great way to mitigate risks. Imagine your travelers receiving an alert if they booked travel to a dangerous location. Technology is available to do just that, allowing the traveler to then decide if they should continue on with their planned trip. However, we all know that “bad things” can happen in “good locations.” In those instances, there is traveler tracking technology that can actually pinpoint where travelers are to alert them and your institution’s risk department if they happen to be in the vicinity of a critical incident. This helps them avoid that incident, but what if they’re affected by it?


If a traveler is affected by a critical incident, it’s imperative that they have a quick way to alert their school’s risk department and communicate back and forth with them. Several risk mitigation technology solutions include a communication platform that allows travelers to notify their risk department and request assistance. Also, if the system detects that a traveler is in the vicinity of a critical event, it can automatically alert the risk department so they can reach out to the traveler to ask if they require aid.


Advancements in travel risk management technology over the last several years have made mitigating travel risks much easier for higher education institutions. Whether approached from a moral or legal obligation standpoint, duty of care should be addressed. For assistance with getting started, contact Travel Leaders / Destinations Unlimited.