Duty of care

Travelers and their companies agree: duty of care is their No. 1 priority.* As travel recovers, the decision to take a trip should consider traveler wellness, risk mitigation and cost. A strategy that combines those factors is far more equipped to support company goals, even in the face of unexpected challenges.

Source: BCD Travel Research & Intelligence survey of 97 travel managers, September 2020.

Assess and manage risk

The first step in managing risk in a travel program should be to identify who is at risk. Consider your travelers’ personal profiles and their vulnerabilities in your assessments, e.g., a traveler with a pre-existing medical condition, such as a diabetic, might be a higher risk than a non-diabetic.

The second step is to identify travel threats and hazards. Examine each stage of the traveler journey, including (but not limited to): travel to the airport, air travel, ground transportation, accommodation, food safety, meeting venue and post-travel issues.

After the assessment, devise a matrix to score risk as Minor, Moderate, High or Extreme.

Decide which control measures to use and what actions to take. Control measures can be defined as the 4 Ts – Treat, Transfer, Terminate, Tolerate.

Every business, in collaboration with safety and security teams, should define levels and appropriate actions in response to COVID-19 and other risk events.

Here is an example of how to define actions in response to predetermined risk levels:

Minor risk

  • Social distancing and hygiene guidance
  • Measures put in place in the workplace

Moderate risk

  • Work from home encouraged
  • Travel restrictions and additional approval processes
  • PPE and safety guidance provided in offices and for travel
  • Approved air/hotel providers recommended

High risk

  • Business-critical travel only
  • Additional layer of travel approvals
  • Work from home mandated

Extreme risk

  • Offices closed
  • Virtual tools for all meetings
  • No travel other than repatriation (only when safe)

Develop risk standards and guidelines

Help your employees understand what is expected of them, what they should do and when, and how to make the best decisions for themselves and the business.

Core guide components should include:

  • Awareness and education
  • Safety guidelines and procedures
  • Preferred partners and approved processes

Document the steps taken to assess and mitigate risks

When determining risk, the first stage should be to understand who is at risk and the potential factors affecting their travel. For instance, travelers with a U.S. passport can still travel to the U.S. but travelers with a French passport may not. Knowing the traveler profile will determine how governmental, health advice and guidelines apply to your business and travelers.

Consider and understand the changing measures regarding testing, quarantine, tracking and tracing, and border closures. Identify special measures put in place by your preferred partners to address safety and cleanliness. Provide essential information to travelers and make sure they know where to find updates. Collect traveler feedback and use it to determine whether the measures put in place by suppliers are adequate and being applied.

Be sure to address commonly asked questions, such as:

  • Where to find the latest information for destinations and preferred partner standards/measures
  • Guidance on combining business and leisure travel
  • Information on likely processes or procedures when traveling and amenities and services available (or not) at the destination
  • What to do if ill or failing an entry temperature check or test or need to quarantine
  • Best practice for transit (air, rail, car) and hotel check-in/check-out

A robust process to assess risk, calculate risk ratings, and define control measures means you can create comprehensive guidelines and standards that support your travelers in any situation.

Traveler care

Duty of care is a simple concept. Employers must help keep their travelers safe and healthy. Easy enough, right? Not as easy when your people are scattered across the globe, on planes, in hotels and in between. Add a global pandemic to the list of regional and hyperlocal threats we face on a daily basis and you have yet another layer of complexity. And more reason than ever to have a duty of care strategy that spans more than the active trip cycle.

Begin with a clear understanding of your travelers’ locations and their planned itineraries. Layer that with knowledge of exactly what risks they may face during their trip. And finally, develop a consistent and expected way to communicate these risks with your travelers. Making sure they know where to find information is key.

Traveler wellness

Travel has changed as a result of COVID-19 and will require more planning, preparation and patience than ever before. Travelers are more likely to experience longer routes with more disruptions and frequent changes in supplier and destination guidelines.

Wellness programs provide benefits to the company that can clearly affect and improve your bottom line.

Improve morale and productivity

Employees who are happier have a more positive outlook, which can translate to increased focus, energy and productivity. That translates to increased revenue for your company.

Increase employee retention

Employees feel valued when their companies invest in their well-being which makes them more likely to stay at their jobs.

Cost savings

Studies show that for every dollar spent on wellness programs, employers saved $3.27 in health care costs.*

*Source: Harvard Business Review. “What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs?” February 8, 2019.

COVID-19 Information Hub


A resource to help keep travelers safe in today’s heightened risk environments. With real-time information on constantly changing rules, laws and procedures for traveling during the pandemic.

  • Country risk levels and requirements
  • Hotel and airline information, including cleaning protocols, testing requirements, necessary health certifications, quarantine rules and more
  • Information detailing vaccination percentage complete by population by country
  • Information included for airlines participating in digital health document trials
  • Multi-language functionality

5 easy ways

to integrate traveler wellness into your program

  1. Develop new travel safety guidelines. Educate travelers through consumer-friendly messages and campaigns.
  2. Give travelers a voice. Capture sentiment after each trip. Conduct short and frequent surveys. Use the feedback to make program improvements.
  3. Update policy to support flexibility on supplier choices.
  4. Set travel thresholds.
  5. Acknowledge road warriors with a day off or a gift card with a health and wellness theme.

Help at your fingertips

Recent innovations in duty of care have solved for some of the challenges of the past. Smart, automated systems and solutions that work seamlessly across the program have replaced manual, one-dimensional processes and fragmented content sources. Smart technologies include:

  • Automated trip authorization
  • Interactive security maps
  • Location-based risk notifications
  • Native mobile apps with real-time information
  • ‘I’m Safe’ mobile check in capabilities

What makes a successful digital health pass

Data is a traveler's top concern. The passes also need to be proven and simple to use.

Protected data

Correct data

Simple to use

Shown to work

Source: BCD Travel Research & Intelligence survey of 844 travel managers, February 2021.

Stay or go?

Top factors that influence business travel decisions during COVID-19


Infection level at destination


Business necessity


Vulnerability of employee


Quarantine requirements

*Source: BCD Travel Research & Intelligence online survey of 97 travel managers, September 2020.

Travelers with immunity and health passes

Having access to a workable vaccine is the top factor in business travel’s return. Relaxed travel restrictions and improved COVID-19 treatment options also rank high in importance among travelers.*

Strategies aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing, wearing face masks, testing and quarantine, should remain in place.

Other health and safety measures gaining traction are travel corridors, pre-departure and post-arrival testing, track & trace apps, and digital health passes (DHP). DHPs are being developed by technology firms, airlines, international organizations and governments with the aim of validating the authenticity of a traveler’s COVID-19 test results or vaccination records. As soon as interoperable platforms are available, DHPs will play an important role to restore mobility and confidence in travel for governments and travelers alike.

BCD is the first TMC to become a member in the Good Health Pass Collaborative representing corporate clients’ interests in pushing for the standardization and scalability of DHPs.

Click here to access Getting Back to Business: Digital Health Passes. This new report includes results from a February 2021 survey from BCD Travel Research & Intelligence.

You might also like The Path Back to Safe Travel.

*Source: BCD Travel Research & Intelligence survey, December 2020.


This session includes:

  • Return-to-travel approaches
  • Developing criteria for digital health passes
  • The business travel community’s view of the vaccine
  • Travelers’ perspectives on vaccines

What you can do


What BCD Travel is doing

Fueling informed travel decisions through data insights

Offering tailored trip authorization solutions

Arming travel managers with the latest policies and travel requirements

Providing state-of-the-art security maps and emergency response capabilities

Communicating risks, requirements and policy to travelers at relevant times in the trip cycle

Sharing expertise through program risk management assessments

As we enter the next phase of the pandemic with pre-trip testing and vaccinations gaining traction, we’re adding new features to our traveler tools designed to support the return to safe travel and to ease the travel experience.”

—Mike Janssen

Global Chief Operating Officer and Chief Commercial Officer, BCD Travel

Traveler communication

How to prepare, inform and communicate to your travelers

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