Duty of care, privacy and risk: these things matter!
The issue of duty of care and business travel was given an airing at The Business Travel Conference 2017.
One of the reasons why it is never a good idea for employees to self-serve for hotel accommodation, or for you to book a hotel on their behalf with a hotel you know nothing about, is their personal security. Here’s why...
Let’s suppose one of your company’s employees books a hotel room in some remote or dangerous location. They turn up only to be told that the hotel never received their confirmation and the hotel is now full up. Who is responsible for getting them out of this tricky and uncomfortable situation? Well actually the employer is. This is called “duty of care”.
According to English law the employer should not have allowed the employee to get into this situation in the first place. The definition of duty of care goes all the way back to a legal case in 1891, where it was ruled that “an employer must carry on its operations so as not to subject those employed by it to unnecessary risk”.
So, security of accommodation while travelling for work is a very serious matter. Failure to provide a safe workplace might give rise to liability in civil claims, and to criminal liability when the laws and regulations are ignored – and this extends to the provision of appropriate hotel accommodation.
Duty of care also means that an employer should be able to locate an employee who is travelling on business at any time – for example to be able to get in touch in the event of an emergency.
All of this is covered if you book through Roomex. Every hotel is checked to ensure that it meets certain minimum standards together with the specific requirements of the employer. For example:
- Does it have adequate secure car parking so that an engineer or technician can leave his equipment safely locked up in the car?
- Does it pass all the required fire hazard safety standards?
- Is the kitchen hygiene up to scratch?
- And so on.
Booking through Roomex is also a failsafe way to ensure that there are no nasty surprises when the traveller arrives. In the unlikely event that something does go wrong we take responsibility for sorting it out through our priority support team.
Also, the Roomex platform makes it easy to track the whereabouts of any employee at any time via interactive maps, so you can get in touch quickly. This is also part of an employer’s duty of care. You might, for instance, need to contact an employee in the case of a family emergency.
Data protection and privacy
European law on data protection is being further tightened with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force in May 2018. This is a very hot topic in the hospitality industry, as it is one of the most vulnerable to data threats.
Hotels process, and in many cases, store long term, a very high volume of guests’ personal information and payment card transactions daily. They also receive this information from many sources, such as third-party booking systems, point of sales systems, concessions, their own site, emails, faxes, phones and walk-ins.
Furthermore, hotels tend to store this payment card data in several places.
By booking through a single platform such as Roomex this risk is significantly mitigated or eliminated entirely.
Roomex acts as a “virtual credit card” because Roomex pays all your hotel bills centrally, so you just receive one single monthly invoice with 30 days credit. There is also the option to bill back expenses, meal allowances etc. to Roomex. Everything is settled in one go at the end of the month. So, there is never any need for your employees to use their company or personal credit cards and share sensitive personal and financial data.
In fact, procurement officers tell us that eliminating credit card risk is one of the Roomex benefits they most highly value.
With Roomex duty of care is taken care of and risks minimised for your company and your business travellers. Why not contact us for a demo?