One survey focused on women business travelers’ safety and found that 83% of respondents have experienced a safety-related concern or incident in the past year. Another found that 58% of women have changed travel plans due to safety concerns.
Executives and employees take almost 500 million business trips each year, and women comprise almost half of those business travelers. Two recent surveys have focused on the safety concerns unique to women travelers.
According to a recent survey from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), women business travelers’ safety is a widespread concern. In fact, this survey of 503 female business travelers discovered that 83% of respondents have experienced a safety-related concern or incident in the past year, and that 90% indicated that safety concerns influenced how they spent free time on business trips.
A Concur survey of 7,850 business travelers in 19 markets revealed similar findings. For example, 58% of women have changed their travel arrangements due to safety concerns.
With International Women’s Day coming up March 8, the responses to these two surveys are particularly relevant right now. Here’s a look at the results these two surveys uncovered, as well as the implications of these survey results as they relate to the business traveler experience.
Key Findings From This Women Business Travelers’ Safety Survey
A look at the results of this GBTA survey provides a number of insights for business travelers and travel managers alike. Perhaps most stunning about the survey results is just how monolithic the female business traveler experience is. Vast majorities of female respondents indicated they had experienced the same things, including:
- 83% said they had experienced a safety-related concern or incident in the past year.
- 90% said safety concerns influence how they spend free time on business trips.
- 86% said that safety concerns influence how they book travel, such as choosing only daytime flights.
- 84% said safety concerns influence where they choose to travel.
- 81% said that safety concerns have influenced how often they travel for business.
- 80% said that safety concerns have affected productivity while on business trips.
At least 4 out of 5 women affirmed they had experienced similar business travel experiences within each question. Rarely does any survey return results so close to unanimity. Given these results, how do women take precautions to remain safe while traveling for work?
How Women Take Safety Precautions During Business Travel
Needless to say, women perceive that they experience safety issues that men do not. A full 71% of women feel they face greater risk than their male counterparts while traveling for business. Their top concerns include general safety (78%), sexual assault/harassment (72%), location-specific risks (68%) and kidnapping/assault (65%).
More than two-thirds of survey respondents suggested that companies should address the unique needs of female travelers in their travel policies.
Because of these risks, female business travelers take a range of safety precautions, including communicating regularly with the office and/or friends and family (68%), choosing only the most trusted accommodations (56%) and sharing travel itineraries with loved ones (51%).
We’ve written previously about safety precautions women can take while traveling for business. That said, safety is something for both women business travelers and the companies they represent to think about and proactively address.
Key Findings From the Concur Safety Survey
The recent Concur survey also targeted women and members of the LGBTQ+ community who travel. The survey finds that safety is one of the highest priorities for travelers in these groups. As noted above, 58% of women travelers have changed their arrangements due to safety concerns. Other survey findings include:
- 31% of all business travelers prioritize their own safety as the highest priority on business trips.
- 77% of female business travelers have experienced some sort of harassment or mistreatment while traveling.
- 95% of LGBTQ+ travelers have hidden their sexual orientation when traveling on a business trip.
Unfortunately, 54% of survey respondents feel that their safety is not their company’s highest priority, leaving plenty of space for travel managers and executives to restate their commitment to traveler safety — and to put into practice better policies for promoting safety.
How Companies Should Address Women Business Travelers’ Safety
More than two-thirds of survey respondents suggested that companies should address the unique needs of female travelers in their travel policies. And those respondents are right: All companies have a duty of care responsibility to keep travelers from harm, no matter their gender.
That said, only 18% of survey respondents felt their companies had in place appropriate gender-specific policies. Duty of care efforts should always be responsive to travelers’ unique needs. For example, fulfilling duty of care responsibilities for disabled travelers or travelers with medical needs will be different than for others. Likewise, women business travelers have unique safety needs that demand specific policies and duty of care actions.
Finding Duty of Care Solutions
The modern business traveler experience is such that companies need to think about duty of care and risk management more than ever before.
At JTB Business Travel, we provide comprehensive services to companies large and small — including duty of care solutions that can help address women business travelers’ safety.