Let us concede first that travel managers have been bit unfair on the safety of the fairer sex. How often does women safety take centre stage in business or corporate travel policy? Are travel managers willing to go the extra mile in making specific changes to the travel policy in making business travel women–friendly?
According to a new study conducted by the Global Business Travel Association, women make about 40 percent of business travellers in the US alone. And if their research study is anything to go by, the number of women business travellers has seen an all time high compared to what the trend was three to five years back. And with female participants vouching for the impact that it would have on business, the numbers are expected to grow in the coming years.
Corporate or business travel, however, aren’t actually tailored taking into account the safety of women travellers. While there are an overwhelming 69 percentage of participants that agree that women are subject to higher risk on the road compared to men, only 18% of travel policies address the safety and security concerns of female business travellers, and only 21% have reworked their travel program allaying security risks.
It is challenging to reconcile with this 61% of those polled mentioning that it’s quite critical that female safety concerns are taken in when developing a travel policy.
Manish Raj, Co–Founder of Tripeur, says “Lodging and accommodation are another concern involving women safety on the road”; nearly 63% of travel managers admit that they need to deal with the challenges that the location of lodging pose every time, with about 54% considering the type of lodging a spot of bother.
Safety can make or break matters concerning lodging and accommodation services, with almost half of business travel programs recommending travellers to avoid staying at a particular property citing safety reasons. Take this, 44%, often or sometimes, reject bids when there is a request for lodging for proposal process because of safety concerns. What comes as a surprise is that only 28% has, often or sometimes, jumps into an agreement due to safety and security issues.
Thiagarajan adds, “It is the duty of the businesses to ensure complete safety to female travellers, especially in the wake of physical harassment and atrocities against women in several parts of the world. Travel Managers have that added responsibility of specifically addressing women’s safety plans in their travel programs, in addition to training and communication.”
“I usually feel that travel programs should offer general risk–related solutions involving security and protection of female travellers,” he concludes.