A survey of US corporate travel buyers reveals that nearly seven in ten believe female business travellers face greater risk on the road than their male counterparts.
Research carried out by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and serviced apartment specialist WWStay also found that 61 per cent of respondents feel it’s important to consider the safety of female travellers when implementing risk management programmes.
When asked about their top concerns for women on the road, buyers cited travel to certain countries or cities, sexual harassment and assault or kidnapping.
In terms of lodging, 61 per cent of buyers said they believe it is important to consider female travellers’ safety when selecting providers. Furthermore, 63 per cent believe the location of hotels is a concern for women, while 54 per cent said the type of lodging should also be considered.
However, less than half (44 per cent) reported that their companies recommend female-friendly lodging, such as rooms that offer double locks and 24 security or those located on the third floor and higher.
Despite that shortfall in specific recommendations for female travellers, nearly three in five respondents (57 per cent) said they have a very good ability to communicate with their travellers at all times, rating themselves eight or higher on a ten-point scale.
Two-thirds reported that their programmes offer safety and security resources through a third party firm, although 18 per cent said their company does not offer an assistance hotline – something the GBTA says is a key resource for female travellers.
Meanwhile, three out of five travel programmes rarely or never provide chauffeured transportation to female business travellers.
Christle Johnson, president of the GBTA, commented: “While this research revealed travel buyers are concerned about female business traveller safety, only 18 per cent of travel policies specifically address female safety.
“As an industry we need to do more to ensure the safety of our female road warriors, especially as women make up an ever-increasing amount of our business traveller population.”
Shobha Shankar, co-founder and COO of WWStay, added: “We hope that this study raises awareness of risks to female travellers, provides the attention these issues deserve, and results in changes and improvements by both the buyer and supplier communities.”
Download the GBTA's infographic here.