When discussing risk management many professionals may have heard the term Duty of Care. As outlined in the CEO of Global Guardian, Dale Buckner’s post, “It has become fashionable for companies to throw around the term ‘duty of care’ without a proper understanding of what that actually entails.”
The term Duty of Care is defined by the Collins English Dictionary as “the legal obligation to safeguard others from harm while they are in your care, using your services, or exposed to your activities.”
In reference to travel, Duty of Care is most often discussed on how to prepare, advise, and assist travelers pre and post-departure on a wide range of topics:
- Health and safety,
- Food and drinks provided by the organization,
- Fire safety,
- Discrimination and bullying,
- And many more.
The organization must demonstrate a concern for their travelers’ safety and wellbeing and do everything possible to mitigate risk and harm. However, this post isn’t about Duty of Care. This is about the importance of the little-discussed reciprocal side of the equation: the Duty of Loyalty of the traveler.
In travel risk management, Duty of Loyalty infers that travelers should refrain from behaving in a manner that would be contrary to their organization’s best interests on a work/school-related trip.
It is the responsibility of the traveler to their organization to actively participate in trip planning, follow the emergency procedures outlined in the organizations’ policies, and use general common sense in avoiding unnecessary risks when traveling on behalf of their employers.
This especially comes into play when looking at bleisure travel (the combination of leisure travel activities while on business travel, a growing market that stood at roughly 60% of all business trips in 2018. According to one survey done by travel assistance firm, On Call International, “business travelers are engaging in risky behaviors when they’re on the road: more than a quarter (27%) of business travelers admit to binge drinking while on business trips, and more than one in ten (11%) said they’ve “picked up” a stranger at a bar while on a work-sponsored trip. Eight percent of business travelers have even lied to their employer about their activities while on a work-related trip and four percent have even been detained by law enforcement.”
How can an organization properly comply with its duty of care when travelers are engaging in such risky activities with little to no care, in-destination engagement, and/or repercussions...
Now let’s translate this concept of Duty of Loyalty to young adult travelers and especially international students. These young travelers are often times leaving their home countries for the first time and are exposed to a wide variety of risks.
What happens when you combine eagerness for adventure with increased risk tolerance and a lack of situational awareness?
According to our survey of over 2,000 international students, only 30% submitted key travel data needed to keep them safe and their schools compliant with their Duty of Care. In fact, an additional 5% admitted to losing their emergency contact cards or throwing them away entirely. Recent headlines confirm this lack of situational awareness and increased risk-taking, such as ‘danger tourism’ stunts in Afghanistan or continued travel during pandemic restrictions…
- Covid is not stopping students from going overseas to study, report shows
- College students weigh risks and rewards of studying abroad in pandemic era
- British student evacuated from Kabul after 'danger tourism' stunt forced him into hiding from Taliban
Our Focus on Duty of Loyalty
That is why at OffWeGo, we focus on the Duty of Loyalty of the traveler. We engage our travelers where, how, and why they want to be engaged with the goal of reducing risk and increasing compliance through social connection and community, comparison of in-destination resources, and proven gamification techniques. We do this through our mobile app that matches travelers together while giving access to executive-level safety & security support services so that travelers can have fun and travel managers know their travelers are safe.
We engage travelers in the best ways possible, according to that individual traveler, so we’re able to gain better and more data points. We then provide this information to their university/sponsoring organization in a streamlined manner so that their school can provide the best services and make the best policies possible, to ensure the safety of their students.
Stay tuned for next time as we dive deeper to explore the importance of user experience design and feedback loops when designing risk mitigation systems.