The Global Travel Risk Management Summit will make its New York City debut on Thursday, June 9 at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel. Organized by HospitalityLawyer.com, founder of the annual Global Congress on Travel Risk Management in Houston and The BTN Group, this one-day event is intended to educate corporate travel buyers, procurement professionals, human resources, legal, risk and IT professionals in educational forums on the legal obligations of employee travel as well as executing safe and secure corporate travel.
“We really wanted to replicate the conference in New York City because we think the model in Houston has been very successful,” said Stephen Barth, attorney and founder of HospitalityLawyer.com and professor of hospitality law at the University of Houston. “But the New York conference is a global conference, looking at issues from a global perspective and focusing on travel risk, keeping mobile employees and data safe and secure.” This inaugural conference is expected to attract 150 to 175 attendees.
Risk and the Hotel Industry
“The lodging industry needs to participate in these conferences because their best customers—the corporate travel market—are now totally engaged in keeping employees safe when they travel and the lodging business needs to understand the process that they’re going through to use due diligence to keep employees safe when they stay at hotels,” Barth said.
Barth also pointed out that the conference will be attended by a wide range of professionals, including legal and risk-management departments, human resources, security and communications, providing hotel industry professionals with an opportunity to work with their respective counterparts on the corporate travel side. “One of our primary goals at the conference is to break down the silos between the functionalities in business,” he said. “We have to get suppliers and buyers working together on the risk side.”
The conference also represents an opportunity for hotel companies like Wyndham Worldwide, which will be represented at the event by VP of corporate security Jack Shaughnessy, and Crowne Plaza, a conference sponsor, to benefit from face time with their top corporate travel clients because hotels can also bring their best customers to the event and provide them with the added value of education in an area that is increasingly important to their businesses. “There is a real value to attending from the lodging companies’ perspective because they can drive education and value to their customers while also benefiting from an opportunity to have their safety, security and risk staff connect directly with the company’s buyers,” Barth said.
Safety and Security Education
The day will kick off with a series of six 10-minute forums covering topics such as: Assessing Hotel Security, which will explore attack patterns and trends of terror attacks on hotels; Millennials and Travel Policy Compliance, a how-to on meeting generational needs, maintaining policy compliance and protecting these travelers; and Duty of Care, which will cover topics such as to what extent a business is required to vet the security level of hotels and airlines and if hotels are an extension of the workplace. “Suppliers owe their traveling employees a duty to keep them safe and secure when traveling and also airline and hotel employees, who all need the same type of reasonable care that buyers are delivering to their employees,” Barth said.
A subsequent hour of roundtable discussions will delve more deeply into each of these topics while also covering how corporate travel buyers can get the most out of their relationships with lodging partners, a look at best practices for assessing if hotels housing mobile employees are consistently operating with best industry practices concerning operational security and crisis management. Other roundtable discussions will also include communicating during a crisis and dealing with an active shooter. “We also help attendees at our Houston conference understand the needs of customers when an active shooter situation occurs,” Barth said. “I think most people who participated were not aware of how intense these situations can be and how much preplanning should go into these potential occurrences.”
Along with Barth, the day’s speakers and facilitators will include Bruce McIndoe, CEO of iJet International; James Eiler, a partner with Murchison & Cummings LLP; Jeff Moore, a former Pentagon strategist who supported the U.S. Army’s Plans and Operations Division, and who is currently CEO of threat intelligence firm Muir Analytics and publisher of the SecureHotel Threat Report, an actuary analysis of global hotel attacks; and Erin Wilk, global travel safety manager at Facebook.
Like the Houston conference, the upcoming New York City Global Travel Risk Management Summit will feature two immersive scenarios in which participants will actively engage in two fictitious crisis situations that have real-life potential to affect business travel. During the terrorist situation and active shooter scenario, participants are divided into teams to create policies and procedures for responding to a terrorist situation that includes an active shooter. The contagious disease scenario prepares participants for an outbreak, teaching them to manage the situation against time constraints.
“Hotel brands have been reluctant to participate in legal, safety and security conferences, but as we are seeing more mindfulness on the corporate travel side around the safety and security of their employees, the lodging industry now has to come to the table, responding to [requests for proposals] that include extensive questions around safety and security and they’re being asked to provide more information around administering medical attention and keeping IP safe and secure,” Barth said. “It’s coming to the top of the priority list for meeting planners and travel buyers.”