An increasing number of organisations are now including special considerations for solo female business travellers within their programmes.
A survey, carried out by Business Travel Show Europe ahead of International Women’s Day on Tuesday (8 March), found that 42 per cent of travel managers and buyers were now prioritising the needs of female travellers – up from a figure of 31 per cent in September 2021.
There is likely to be further movement in this direction with another 7 per cent of buyers saying they plan to introduce this change within the next 12 months.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, surveys showed buyers were more focused on the needs of disabled, younger, older and LGBTQ+ travellers.
Brigitte Lehle, Porsche’s head of travel management, said: “Women are increasingly occupying professions that require business trips. However, mobile working also enables more flexible models.
“Therefore, changes in society, mindset and increased flexibility mean that women are going on business trips more often.”
Lehle added that she would like her TMC to provide lone women travellers with detailed destination information, including any specific regulations or restrictions.
“Is the country safe? And can I move freely there? Are there any special regulations that I have to observe on my trip such as the local dress code? And when there are restrictions, how to handle it – for example, shall I take public transport or specific transfer services?” she explained.
Shelley Mathews, general manager, sales and partnerships, at travel management company CTM Europe, said its clients have been asking for better support for lone female travellers for several years.
“This can be anything from requiring hotels or specific hotel rooms that are viewed as more secure, to eating in business lounges rather the hotel bar, and using pre-booked chauffeur cars over hiring on-street taxis,” added Mathews.
Rachel Connolly, business engagement liaison at transport provider Addison Lee, one of Business Travel Show Europe’s exhibitors, explained its approach to providing safety and reliability for female travellers.
“Through our partnership with UN Women UK and their Safe Spaces Now campaign, we will provide our drivers and colleagues with specific training to improve their awareness of women’s safety,” she said.
“The training that we will deliver through this partnership will empower our drivers to report any concerns they have with a woman’s safety and also educate them on what makes their vehicle a safe space for someone who may feel unsafe or vulnerable.”
The survey was completed by 141 travel buyers and managers, with 33 per cent from the UK, 41 per cent from the rest of Europe and 25 per cent from other parts of the world.
Business Travel Show Europe takes place at ExCeL London on 29-30 June, 2022, alongside The Meetings Show and TravelTech Show.