How to Be Empowered for Global Travel Safety and Security
Sometimes empowerment is about feeling like you are in control in situations which are out of your control. When it comes to global travel safety and security, we all know there are many things that are out of our control. Security is perhaps not the most enjoyable event management topic. But, it is certainly the most important, and one that M&IW takes seriously.
So, what is the best way to take control of situations in which you have very little control over? With managing thousands of events in more than 75 countries, we have seen a fair share of undesirable situations. It is critical to have a plan and be prepared for the unexpected. Recently, we experienced natural disasters such as volcano eruptions in Hawaii to storms in Florida that displaced entire events. In one instance, we had an employee in Costa Rica when a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit off the coast, in which we were immediately notified and able to contact them to ensure their safety.
When I asked Samantha Gerke, Manager, Global Group Travel, what M&IW does to make sure our group travelers stay safe, she answered, “We partner with one of the best organizations in the world. M&IW is an expert in travel services and meeting management and versed in emergency preparedness and planning. However, we rely on a WorldAware (formerly known as iJet) to provide a single system of intelligence, communication and assistance services to help mitigate risk and respond when necessary. WorldAware is an excellent tool to have under our belt hear at M&IW. It empowers us to communicate with our employees around the world in a quick and efficient manner in times of threat exposure.”
Because we believe that this is not a topic to keep close to the chest, we thought it prudent to share this valuable information with our community. I had the opportunity to ask George Taylor, VP Global Operations, of WorldAware, a few questions and here is what he had to say:
Q. How do you feel that your service empowers employees and organizations?
A. WorldAware helps organizations operate with confidence by enabling them to protect their people, facilities and brand. The company provides a single ecosystem that unites intelligence, communications and assistance services, so organizations and their people can mitigate the risk posed by emerging threats. WorldAware provides expertise across intelligence categories such as terrorism, geopolitics, environment, transportation and health, along with geographic and regional analysis, providing clients with actionable insights that allow them to make fast, accurate risk mitigation decisions. WorldAware’s Worldcue® solutions deliver real-time dashboard views of threats and their intersect with people, along with two-way communications and location-based alerts. WorldAware’s assistance and response services are available 24/7, ready to answer travel-related questions, support business continuity efforts and coordinate response operations if the need arises. WorldAware’s experts review business continuity plans, conduct training, test crisis management plans, and more. By providing intelligence, communications and assistance within a single, unified ecosystem, WorldAware empowers organizations and their employees to make well-informed, critical decisions to mitigate risk and ensure safety.
Q. What trends are you seeing in the industry?
A. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that nowhere is safe. Enterprises are realizing that threats can occur to anyone at any time. In the past, risk management and security teams tended to focus on the traveler, particularly the traveler headed to a location typically considered high risk. However, recent events have shown us that threats occur even in locations typically thought of as low risk – New York, Las Vegas, London, Brussels, etc. This realization means that enterprises now must think about protecting all of their people, not just their travelers.
The vast majority of enterprises are up for this challenge, they just need expertise and guidance. In fact, some of the world’s largest organizations describe themselves as “paternal” – they want to do the right thing for their employees. Along these lines, the concept of “duty of care” resonates, but risk and security leadership is often quick to point out that it is not a duty or an obligation that drives them, it’s a commitment to doing the right thing. This trend continues to prioritize the need for an integrated risk management policy that covers not just business travel, but all personnel and facilities, both at home and abroad.
Q. We are intrigued by your business. Tell us about more about WorldAware. What is your history and where you are now and where you are going?
A. In 1999, WorldAware became one of the first companies to offer intelligence-driven risk management to the travel industry — a change that ultimately transformed travel and security departments worldwide. WorldAware’s Travel Intelligence® and Worldcue® risk-management software revolutionized corporate and government business travel with the promise of keeping employees safe — not just on time.
We understand that you are faced with many challenges and decisions every day. As the world evolves, we need to stay one step ahead to ensure you appropriate decision support. We subscribe to a process of continuous innovation to drive continuous improvement and value. Trust, speed, security, and innovation can’t happen independently. We are committed to creating value for all of our stakeholders, colleagues, clients, partners, suppliers, and the communities in which we serve.
Our team will be partaking in a mandatory three-hour training hosted by WorldAware at our annual M&IW Summit: Employee Exchange. M&IW puts our client attendees and associates at the center of what we do and WorldAware puts intelligence at the center of what they do. This makes the perfect partnership when it comes to risk mitigation because they prioritize the availability of fast, accurate threat intelligence, and combine that intelligence with state-of-the-art technology and assistance services. The result is that M&IW receives a single, integrated ecosystem from which we can protect our people, clients, passengers and business operations. And, this is more important to us than anything else that we do!