For many of us in the Corporate world, travel is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. In the security world, particularly in Executive/Close Protection, the ability to safely and smoothly navigate locations both exotic and domestic is a baseline expectation.
However, even the most seasoned world traveler can tell you horror stories of what can and sometimes does go wrong when you are traveling for work or for play. Some of my most valuable lessons in preparation and planning have come to me, not through my security, law enforcement or military training, but rather through the real-world situations I’ve found myself in as I’ve traveled the globe in support of my clients. You can’t replace local knowledge, and you certainly can’t buy experience!
That being said, as I’ve consulted with business looking to expand their footprint into new countries, individuals planning trips either for work-related events, or even for their own families, there remains a veil of secrecy around ‘insider tips and considerations’ when looking at operating quite literally, ‘outside your comfort zone’ (aka, outside your own locale).
The 1% are able and willing to spend whatever it takes, for companies like mine to assist them with their global travel needs. And no, I’m not talking about making their reservations and booking lunch. I’m talking about coordinating everything from their local event planning teams, shore excursions, arranging landing zones for aircraft or field trips, customs, transport of goods and pets, seamless inter-country transitions, and much, much more. Yes,risk mitigation or security is the foundation of the approach to all of these services, however the support and service go far beyond that important aspect.
This is such a small niche in the scheme of global security operations, I don’t believe that secure travel services and support get the airplay they deserve, as there is an incredible amount of logistics, planning, networking and maintaining long-standing relationships at play in order to properly and successfully support an individual, or a company at this top tier level.
For example, you may not be aware that that many clients/principals have strategically placed security protection teams, at any given time, staged at multiple locations and countries, with only one viable potential to make an appearance at any given location. Why? Because of options! Their options are no different than yours or mine, just much larger and farther. Think about it, we regularly can't decide ourselves if we want to go camping, fishing, biking or just stay home on Saturday. But our options run out quickly due to our means and control of circumstances to keep all of our options open.
On the contrary, our clients can retain their options up to the very last moment on Saturday morning or on into the day by having a representative at the bike shop with a rented bike staged and ready to go for the entire day, and a boat staged in the water at the dock with a boat captain ready with bait and up to date knowledge of where the fish are hiding. Oh, and don't forget about the awesome camping spot that has, their decked out RV already at the camping site with hamburgers on the grill, if they decide to make that option or not. The big difference is their options are global, not just within a city, county or state.
Who is doing all this and for them? I think you you know who by now......
Secure travel services are not something that you can just jump into and assume success. It requires first; having traveled in the fashion your clients are accustomed to yourself, so that you understand their expectations, second; it requires that you have either the in-house capacity, or global network to adequately support these trips with teams, or individuals who can be trusted to operate with the highest levels of professionalism and integrity, and third: it requires that you are an expert problem-solver, and an agile planner, able to make the best tasting lemonade you possibly can with the lemons that global trips will undoubtedly throw your way.
I’ve always enjoyed the planning and logistics of international projects. I find them to be mentally challenging, always enlightening, and frankly, a whole lot of fun when it comes to reconnecting with some fascinating operators across the globe. If you can’t get into the planning, you shouldn’t take on projects like this. And, if you find you are ‘married’ to your plans once you’ve made them…then you should think about a different career, as things very rarely go according to the plan (even the very best laid, most well-funded ones).
If you like learning about locations around the world and want the inside track from experienced security providers on places ranging from Kenya to Cuba, check out the Global Ops Podcast coming out here in just a few weeks. I can’t wait to share these interviews with you, as I’m going to be bringing you some amazing guests with intimate knowledge and experience in some incredible places. Whether you are traveling for work, or as a security provider, or just for fun, I know you will get a lot out of this podcast.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear about some of your experiences supporting international trips and events. What’s worked for you? What’s gone wrong? Always fun to compare notes!
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