Please note – the views in the following feature are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Safe Travels Magazine. Before travel, we recommend that you always do your own research, read travel advisories and buy appropriate travel insurance.

Brandon Thompson, Managing Director, Drum Cussac

Twitter: @DrumCussac

Brandon Thompson is the Managing Director of Drum Cussac Inc. executing their global growth strategy in the Americas. Brandon holds a Master’s in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship a from the University of Florida.

Drum Cussac is a global security consultancy responsible for ensuring the safety of more than 15 million people. Our intelligence and analysis services (IAS) offer 24/7 expertise via in-house professional intelligence operators and analysts, cutting edge technology and a comprehensive global network.


Five Key Business Challenges of Bleisure Travel

Bleisure travel, or combining business travel with leisure time, is becoming increasingly popular, with almost half of all business travellers now extending trips by a few days.

However, bleisure travel is not without its challenges. Organisations may find it difficult to fulfil their duty of care to travellers, understanding where the responsibility for traveller safety lies and ensuring that they have clear policies in place in order to mitigate the impact if an incident does occur.

Below, you’ll find a run through of the key challenges your organisation may face from Bleisure Travel.

1. Lack of formal bleisure travel policy

Despite the majority of organisations approving of and allowing travellers to take bleisure days, many don’t actually have a formal bleisure travel policy. If you don’t have your bleisure policy down in writing, you may inadvertently breach your duty of care obligations without realising it.

A bleisure policy helps to clearly define your organisation’s position and responsibilities regarding the wellbeing of employees travelling for business. Without one, you’ll end up with a legal grey area that may leave you open to potential negative legal, fiscal and reputational ramifications if something does occur.

2. Lack of employee awareness

The impetus is on you to clarify your position on bleisure travel to the wider organisation so that employees are fully aware of what they can and can’t do, where they can and can’t go, and how protected they are.

However, research indicates that only 14 percent of business travellers are aware of whether their company has a bleisure policy, while 27 percent ‘weren’t sure’ but had taken a trip anyway.

This lack of awareness means that travellers are potentially spending extra time abroad on the incorrect assumption that they are protected. This may result in them doing things they normally wouldn’t, e.g. extreme sports and leisure pursuits, and raises the potential risk of injury to travellers.

3. Lack of clarity about who is responsible for the traveller’s safety

Without a bleisure travel policy defining the organisation’s responsibilities, there will be blurred lines between who is responsible for the traveller’s safety during the business and leisure portions of a trip.

It is also vital to be clear about where the legal and financial responsibilities lie if travellers require emergency assistance, such as an evacuation from a high-risk location. Who is responsible for this? If you can’t answer straight away, it’s worth reviewing your travel policies immediately.

With this in mind, you need to define your duty of care obligations to travellers on a bleisure trip, as some could argue that regardless of business or leisure time – the traveller is only on location in the first place for business reasons.

Clarifying your responsibilities can help to dispel the legal grey area between business and leisure, that could otherwise pave the way for severely negative impacts if something were to go wrong on a business trip.

4. Assessing the risk of leisure trips

Depending on the location, travellers may indulge in activities on their leisure time that increases the amount of risk they are exposed to. Whether it’s watersports on the beach after a meeting in the sun, or attending an event in a busy city, travellers expose themselves to more risk than they may realise in their downtime.

Furthermore, recent studies indicate that organisations are leaning heavily on Google searches and generic governmental advice to inform their own travel safety and risk mitigation advice, which is extremely worrying as this is a poor substitute for professional global risks assessments, such as those available on Drum Cussac’s RiskMonitor platform.

So while business trips can be risk assessed in advance and closely monitored thanks to the strict itinerary they follow, leisure trips tend to be more spontaneous. This can make it difficult to know if travellers are safe or not and to what extent they are exposed to risk.

5. Monitoring employee well-being

Most organisations now employ some form of traveller tracking solution, such as Drum Cussac’s PeopleMonitor platform. However, while travellers are obligated to check-in and update itineraries when on the organisation’s time, they aren’t necessarily obligated to do so on their leisure time. This can undermine your duty of care, as security, risk and travel teams won’t be able to monitor the well-being of travellers.

In order to ensure the well-being of travellers and encourage duty of care compliance, it can be worth considering whether to extend the same tech protections travellers have on business trips to the leisure portion of their trip too. This can improve the overall employee travel experience and pay dividends with boosts to mental health, productivity and loyalty.

Conclusions

More than anything, it’s essential for any organisation that allows bleisure time as part of business travel to have a policy in place defining its responsibilities to its employees. Without one, you’ll leave both your organisation and people at risk.

For more information on Bleisure travel and how to mitigate the risk associated with it, download Drum Cussac’s new whitepaper today.

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