Dwellworks Living Global Corporate Housing Solutions - Nashville Interior

Duty of Care: It’s More Than You Think

Just a few short years ago, many travel buyers assigned a narrow focus to the term Duty of Care, thinking of it primarily in terms of emergency response in the event of medical emergencies, natural disasters and political upheaval. While travel buyers and the teams they support clearly recognized the importance of Duty of Care, it seemed that traveler safety in most parts of the world was easily managed through well-established channels. With all that has happened in the last year and a half, there is a renewed focus on this topic – as employers and their agents are viewing Duty of Care as more than the former emergency focus.  

Historically, and in some countries by statute, Duty of Care has been defined as “the ethical obligation of a business to provide a standard of reasonable care that seeks to mitigate potential risks and minimize the impact of any unanticipated events which may occur while employees are traveling in order to fulfill company objectives.” While legally precise, this specific definition does not fully capture the broader spirit of Duty of Care, which can be more simply and completely defined as the duty to care for all aspects of your traveling employees’ wellbeing. This includes the employee’s physical and mental health, safety and security. 


Duty of Care (noun): 

The duty to care for all aspects of your traveling employees’ wellbeing

Expanding the definition helps to highlight the multi-faceted nature of Duty of Care, especially from the travelers’ and employees’ perspective. As a company’s valuable talent begins to travel again, they are bringing an expanded set of expectations for their health and wellbeing. Good partners will have plans in place to address a multitude of factors in meeting their duty to care for travelers – plans that go well beyond emergency evacuations. Below are the elements that should be a part of every Duty of Care program.

Physical Safety and Security

In the hospitality industry, this most fundamental aspect of Duty of Care includes ensuring that all properties meet a specific set of standards that collectively contribute to guest safety. This includes the obvious things like having fire alarms and sprinklers in every room, but also ensuring that on-site staff at the property have passed allowable criminal background checks, that properties are able to meet the needs of travelers with physical disabilities, that there is adequate lighting and security in public spaces, and that stringent processes exist to manage room keys. Since the pandemic, well-defined cleaning protocols have been added to this list as well, as travel buyers and guests look to confirm that common areas are regularly sanitized and that individual rooms are properly maintained without unnecessary interactions between business travelers and property staff.

Information Safety and Security

In our digital age, looking after the safety and security of travelers’ Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is just as important as looking after their physical wellbeing. Travel vendors should pay special attention in this area, since so much personal data is shared in the process of booking and paying for a trip. In addition to confirming compliance with data privacy acts such as the EU General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), travel buyers should also confirm that hospitality partners are encrypting all personal data on secure, password-protected servers. Systems should also be in place to ensure that PII is accessible only to the appropriate employees, and only to the extent that it is needed in the course of providing service.

Hospitality providers who partner with regional suppliers should also have processes in place to ensure that suppliers only have access to data that pertains to the guests they serve, and that this data is not shared until after bookings are confirmed. For example, Dwellworks Living’s epic™ platform only provides suppliers with general guest needs, such as their desired location, dates and guest’s personal preferences, without divulging their identity until after a booking is made. Suppliers are not provided with any personally identifiable information until that information is needed to provide service.

Disaster Preparedness

Hospitality partners are in a unique position when it comes to looking after business traveler safety. Knowing that travelers are expected to be in their care for days, weeks or even months at a time, it is critical that all approved hospitality partners have clear disaster plans in place. These plans should leverage knowledge of historical events (such as prior earthquakes or hurricanes in a local area) to define and thoroughly document details such as evacuation routes and meeting points, what kind of emergency supplies are to be kept on hand and how to communicate with impacted guests and clients. With all of this documented, periodic disaster drills should be scheduled and carried out at least annually.

Crisis Response

In the event of an emergency, your hospitality partner must spring into action with a dedicated crisis response team. This team should have a well-defined emergency notification process, which actually starts well before disaster strikes. A reliable hospitality partner can provide a detailed report of all impacted in-house guests, which becomes a key resource for the duration of the emergency event. The crisis response team should then leverage a mass communication system to provide urgent alerts to all impacted guests, as well as their counterparts at the corporate office (e.g. management and HR teams). With urgent details communicated, attention should turn to proactively making personal contact with each and every guest to confirm their safety and whereabouts, and to provide alternate accommodations if needed.

Business Continuity

If the recent cyber-attacks inflicted on high profile companies have taught us anything, it’s the importance of having well-planned and consistently managed business continuity plans. Security must include systems, training, and testing.  Without adequate preparation and the ability to respond, any disruption to the business of your hospitality partner could result in a disruption to your business as well. Travel buyers should ensure that hospitality partners have off-site data storage, that all systems and files are backed-up frequently, and that systems can be remotely managed in the event of an emergency. 

Education and Training

Every component above is critically important to a well-managed Duty of Care program, but none of these elements can be effective if they are not reinforced by comprehensive training. Every employee who directly or indirectly interacts with clients and guests should be trained on the details of the Duty of Care program, with formal annual updates and required courses to make sure that teams remain ready.

At Dwellworks Living, we take our duty to care for our guests very seriously. We have well-defined proactive and responsive measures in place in every area described above to help ensure the comfort, safety and overall wellbeing of every guest. Contact us to learn more about our Duty of Care program.


Dwellworks Living: Global Solutions for Corporate Accommodations 

Dwellworks Living is committed to providing our clients and their employees with the best possible corporate housing and serviced accommodations experience. With a global network of property partners, a tri-regional team of customer experience and supply chain professionals, and a wide range of services for global mobility and travel customers, Dwellworks Living can provide the perfect corporate housing solution for any need or budget.

Dwellworks Living is the global corporate housing solution of Dwellworks, an award-winning, business-to-business provider of global mobility and business travel services. As a global leader in corporate housing and serviced accommodations solutions, Dwellworks Living is uniquely positioned to meet the temporary living needs of businesses and their employees who are relocating or traveling on short-, medium- or extended-stays. With 60,000 high-quality professionally managed properties in over 125 countries worldwide, Dwellworks Living is the preferred housing solutions partner of many Fortune 1000 and leading relocation management companies.

Dwellworks Living's corporate housing and serviced accommodations solutions are designed to help businesses attract and retain top talent, support employee productivity, and ensure a smooth and successful relocation or business travel experience. In addition to our core global accommodations management services, Dwellworks Living, through our worldwide network of local experts, is uniquely capable of offering our clients expanded and related services, such as area orientations, group move assistance, destination services and intercultural training.

Whether you have corporate housing needs for an individual employee or a large team, Dwellworks Living can provide the serviced accommodations solutions you need anywhere in the world to ensure a safe and successful stay. Please contact us to learn more or visit our Properties page to begin your search for global corporate housing accommodations.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Stay updated on all of our latest news and resources!