Business events are an important part of many companies’ yearly calendars yet planning for employees to attend these events can be a challenge for travel managers. The travel arrangements associated with MICE bookings (meetings, incentives, conferences or exhibitions) are often disjointed and difficult to collect into one place for proper pre-trip risk management, which includes safety and security concerns.

Once employees are en-route, organizations have to monitor employees and the locations to which they’re traveling for additional travel risks that can arise over the course of a journey to a corporate event.

“The other challenge which creates risk around MICE events is when travelers add on leisure travel and turn the trip into a ‘bleisure’ trip. Organizations need to develop bleisure trip policies, and how issues and incidents will be handled that are not technically part of the business travel portion,” explained risk management firm WorldAware. “For example, if something happens to a traveling companion, how is that handled? What will or will not be covered from an assistance and insurance perspective needs to be clear for the traveler and the organization.”

Another problem organizations face when planning MICE bookings is the associated travel data that sits in and across a number of provider systems, which in many cases have not been built to easily export or share, according to WorldAware. There are several reasons for this: travelers often book travel outside the organization’s travel management program and family members that are also traveling further complicate the collection of data.

Getting employees to a meeting or event safely can be further complicated if a travel manager organizes the event, who is “not trained in meetings and events risk management. As such, many of the standard risk management practices may not be applied due to lack of knowledge around myriad areas, such as venue contracts, food and beverage, third-party services, alcohol, lodging contracts, local ordinances, and excluded activities,” said WorldAware.

“If an organization does not have a professional meeting planner, then either they should encourage an internal resource (travel or risk manager) to get trained and certified, or contract with a professional risk or security management company to support the specialized security vetting that needs to take place,” WorldAware told Insurance Business. The lack of planner knowledge and training around risk management is the number one reason gaps in risk management exist.

Another major gap in risk management exists if an organization is missing a robust risk assessment for the MICE event. Many times, organizations focus on the main event and do not address other activities or events that are occurring in conjunction with that event, such as golf outings, team-building courses and volunteer projects.

“The most important thing an organization can do is ensure that travel around MICE events are explicitly covered in their travel risk policy. This policy will already cover the requirement to conduct a risk review for every ‘trip,’ [and] it will now broaden or make clear that ‘trip’ means ALL trips – business and MICE travel. If they do this, then the TRM program will cover the rest,” said WorldAware.

Source:Insurance Business America

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