The New Travel Risks in the Age of Airbnb
An article posted by International SOS, the world’s largest medical and travel security services firm, draws attention to the risks and legal implications of using the shared economy for businesses and their travellers:
With shared economy providers now offering dedicated business travel solutions that integrate with applications such as expense reporting and traveller tracking, more organisations are willing to give such services a chance.
However, using shared economy services such as Grab and Airbnb for business travel creates new risks for employers that need to be addressed and managed.
International SOS released a report indicating that as many as 75% of organisations do not have clear policies or procedures for staff using these services for business travel. Many employees don’t even know whether their organisations believe them to be “safe”.
It has been suggested to look into the following considerations before subscribing to shared economy services:
For accomodation services:
- Security standards
- Emergency response – alternative power or telecommunications systems
- Support services – medical assistance or multilingual staff
- Formal vetting of drivers and hosts of transportation and accomodation services
- Reputation of shared economy service provider
For transportation services:
- Travel policies for local and international travel and if there are specific amendments to either enable or restrict ride-sharing, depending on the destination and its risk profile.
- Availability of transport services alternative to ride-sharing
In travel risk management, there is no one policy, procedure, or solution that covers all travel situations, but the company must always meet their Duty of Care to their travelling employees.
In a gist, ISOS recommends that companies review their organisation travel policies to address the use or restriction of shared economy services. Developed policies should consider the traveller profile of the employee and the risk profile of the destination. Guidelines must be well communicated to all staff.