risk managementanticipating challenges and building contingencies for every journey
One truth about managing group travel for nearly two decades is that it provides ample opportunity to hone one’s risk management skills. After all, a group of 30 travelers creates 15 times more opportunities for something to go awry compared to a vacation for a married couple. Both at my own travel company and later at WorldStrides, I served as the head of Risk Management, ultimately providing support to more than 1,000 groups and 20,000 travelers. At least 300 days a year, we had a client group travelling somewhere in the world.
Our unwavering approach was to assess potential risks, work to reduce the likelihood of risks becoming reality, prepare for the “what ifs” should a risk become a reality, and then work the plan once a crisis did occur. (Read about the Risk Management Tripod in our Blog). We developed a proprietary Risk Management Matrix identifying more than 30 categories and subcategories of risk that needed to be managed.
The types of crises we experienced were both routine and severe. Most crises impacted individuals within the group, while some impacted the entire group.
Some of the “routine” crises impacting individuals included
- Missed flights
- Lost passports
- Minor illnesses or accidents
- Petty theft
Some of the serious crises included
- Severe medical issues
- Traffic accidents
- Encounters with police
- Major weather events or natural disasters
Our team supported travelers during SARS, H1N1, Ebola and COVID-19. We had a group transiting from Spain to Sweden on 9/11 who had to spend an extra week in Stockholm when flights to the U.S. were suspended. We had groups in Japan during the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami that needed to be evacuated. We had groups in Paris during the 2015 Charlie Hebdo terror attack that needed to shelter in place. Preparation, knowledge and a network of experts were keys to success during all these challenging times.
Now, our two decades of experience carry over to Journey Softly. When you choose to partner with us, you are hiring a Crisis Quarterback that will focus on Risk Assessment, Risk Mitigation and Crisis Management in advance of and during your travels. While the likelihood that any one of you will need a crisis managed during your trip remains low, we hope you are confident knowing that we are always watching, assessing and preparing to jump in should you need us.
Photos: Kasbah of the Udayas, Rabat, Morocco; Denali, Alaska, USA