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Business Travel Travel Industry

Improving The Safety For Women Business Travelers In Your Company

Whether it’s a concern about terrorist attacks, identity theft, or simply food poisoning, your health and wellbeing is important while on the road. Unfortunately, according to a study by GBTA, women business travelers often feel concerned about their own safety while traveling on business. In fact, of the women surveyed, 80% reported at some point feeling worried about their personal safety while traveling. More needs to be done in the business travel industry to help women feel secure while traveling on behalf of their company.

Women business travelers often have concerns for their safety while traveling on business

This study from GBTA and AIG, found that:

  • 83% of the women surveyed reported that in the past year one or more safety-related concerns or incidences occurred while traveling for business.
  • 63% think about safety always or frequently while traveling, and their concerns for safety have been escalating.
  • 84% of women say their employers either did not provide safety tips or resources, or they were not aware of such tools. It is startling to think that majority of employers in the study are not providing the adequate duty of care and support for their employees. Even if these companies have risk management protocols in place, their communication is ineffective.

Ultimately, both the business traveler and the company wants the business trip to be productive and successful. Your travelers are less likely to do so if they are preoccupied with safety concerns or security issues. Women often feel these effects more in our society than other demographics, and this study shows how significantly under prepared most women feel when traveling on business. Recognizing this immense gap is the first step in helping to resolve the problem.

What can your company do to help women (and men) feel safer while traveling on business?

  • Listen to their concerns – As the person booking travel, you may not be aware that your go-to hotel in Seattle is down a dark alley and their after-hour front desk manager is a creep. Establishing an open culture in your office about business travel concerns could make a big difference. If travelers know they can come to you, you’ve already tackled one of the biggest hurdles in this issue. Depending on the travel policy or vendor contracts, you might not be able to change hotels completely, but you can at least keep these comments in mind when you review your program or vendor contracts down the line.
  • Discuss duty of care policies and procedures – We often find that most travelers don’t know the security features within their travel program. It often puts travelers at ease knowing that their itinerary is known, and communication is always open through features like our Security Check.
  • Educate travelers on theft, phishing scam and identity theft – Did you know that hotels have one of the highest rates of identity theft? Keeping your employees educated on the common threats, and more importantly, how to evert them, will provide them the tools to travel safer and with more confidence.

In this survey, 80% of the women at one point or another did not feel safe while traveling on behalf of their company. This should not be acceptable in the business industry today. It is up to individual companies to provide an open culture for employees to voice their concerns. As well as have effective communication for employees to understand the policies in place to make them feel supported.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

14 Safety Tips For Business Travelers

One of the amazing byproducts of travel is finding yourself in out-of-the-ordinary situations. In most cases, discovering a new food, meeting new people or experiencing a new culture is an exciting thing. But unfortunately, this travel byproduct can also lead to harmful situations; like natural disasters, burglary or worse. In a time that feels like danger is lurking behind every corner, most travelers are realizing more preparation is required to stay safe. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of safety tips for business travelers, We’ve also included a few recommended products to keep close while on your journeys.

14 safety tips for business travelers

Before you leave:

  • Research, research and more research. Know what to expect at your destination city, around your hotel, and which neighborhoods to explore.
    • Try different news and information sources than you typically check before travel or planning a trip. You might be surprised by the additional information you can find this way.
    • If you are traveling internationally, always check the U.S. Department of State travel and individual country information. Find best practices for traveling, as well as travel advisories you may not have been aware of for different regions of countries.
    • Check foreign news sources, like BBC, which can provide insights not highlighted in U.S. news sources.
    • Reading the travel advisories on the Canadian or Australian Department of Foreign Affairs websites may provide additional insight as well.
  • Participate in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Register and provide your travel details, so the U.S. embassy will know that you’re in the area. Download the Smart Traveler App to stay informed and in contact.
  • Always find medical clinics nearby when you’re traveling by registering with the International Association on Medical Assistance for Travelers.
  • Splurge for the international phone plan. It will be worth it in an emergency. And reap the benefits by staying in touch while you’re out of the country.
  • Take photos of important documents and information, like passport, driver’s license, and a credit card. Keep a copy with a family member or friend at home, or in a locked site like DropBox.
  • Always have a support system in place before leaving. We, of course, recommend a trusted travel management company or agency, who will always be available should something arise. But travel insurance or a family member with your itinerary and information is always a good idea too.

While traveling:

  • Try to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb and dress like a local.
  • Stay in groups if you are planning on going somewhere a little risky. By staying with a pack, you will likely avoid pickpockets, theft and even kidnapping. Even in light of the Las Vegas and Paris events of 2017, the most common threat to travelers will be pickpocketing or other petty crimes.
  • Don’t unplug. Unfortunately major events can happen at any time, even if you’re on vacation. Bring your phone, keep it on, and subscribe to major alerts in your area. Our favorite is our SecurityLogic® Travel Alerts, which automatically alerts users of events, weather, and emergencies depending on their location.
  • Travel light and cheap.  Avoid designer luggage that may draw attention and keep expensive items at home.

Products to keep with you while traveling:

  • Personal emergency alarm – This lightweight device sounds a high-pitched alarm if you find yourself in an uneasy situation.  It’s perfect to take while sightseeing or if going for a run in an unfamiliar area.
  • Alarmed door stop – Feel 100% safe in your hotel room with a door stop alarm. Take it with you when you travel, and simply place next to any door that may need extra security. Should someone try to enter unexpectedly, the door stop will be engaged and sound an alarm.

Business travel can expose travelers to new situations and locations. To take full advantage of these opportunities, it’s best to be prepared and aware of potential risks. We hope this post helped plan your future trips. If you are interested in learning more about how our business travel management services supports your employee’s travel risk, please contact us.

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Categories
Travel Tips

Hotel Room Safety – Choosing The Right Room Location

Regardless if your travel is for  business or pleasure, domestic or international, there is a high probability that you will be staying in a hotel. Unfortunately in our world today, it is safe practice to keep security in mind while planning travel. Below are a few tips from an expert on security and safety in hotels.

The hotel room location matters in an emergency

Rob Walker, head of information and analysis for travel security at London-based International SOS, told the MailOnline Travel which rooms are the best to book for a better chance of survival in the event of a fire, attack, or disaster. If traveling in the United States, his suggestions include choosing a room above the first or second floors yet lower than the sixth or seventh floors. The reason? Those rooms are out of harm’s way in terms of burglars, but low enough that you could survive a fall if you needed to jump. It’s also within reach of most fire department ladders.

“We also recommend travelers request rooms on the side of the building further away from the lobby, which is likely to be the main entry point for any attacker,” Walker said. “It is preferable to also choose the side away from other public areas, such as hotel restaurants, as those areas can be a target area, and rooms that are not easily accessed from the street, so as not to be an easy target for criminals. Yet, ideally it is good to be near the emergency exit stairs.”

Additional hotel room safety tips:

Along with having things like an emergency evacuation plan ready to go, Walker recommends keeping a few other things in mind:

  • Avoid rooms with interlocking doors if possible.
  • Choose hotels that are not in high crime neighborhoods.
  • Make sure your room has the following: deadbolts, an eyehole, and evacuation procedures.
  • Pack a doorstop.
  • When you enter, prop your hotel room door open with your luggage and do a quick sweep to make sure there are no intruders.

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Business Travel Travel Tips

Corporate Travel Hotel Safety

At a recent Association of Corporate Travel Executives’ (ACTE) Education Day, Detective Kevin Coffey outlined a number of best practices for business travel safety.

Most business travelers know the basics of hotel safety, but situations may arise where this isn’t the case. For example, maybe you’re staying in an unfamiliar hotel or forgot to check whether or not there were in-room safes. Here are 10 things you can do to be safer.

Top 10 safety tips for staying in a hotel

  1. Arriving at the Hotel – If you arrive at the hotel by bus or cab, stay with your luggage until it is brought into the hotel lobby. Keep a close eye on your luggage, purse, etc. when checking in. Thieves often use the distractions of a busy lobby to lift others’ belongings.
  2. Checking In – Ask the front desk personnel not to announce your name or room number. In recent years, hotels have become accustomed to writing the room number on the room key sleeve (rather than saying it aloud), but they often continue to call patrons by name. While this is friendly customer service, it unfortunately allows those around you to learn your name, and a stranger could easily call the hotel later to reach you. Also, be mindful to not leave your credit card on the check-in counter and always make sure the clerk has given back your credit card.
  3. Hotel Address – Get the hotel address and keep it accessible, whether that’s with a business card, matchbook, or digital notation in your phone. Trying to get back to your hotel when you don’t know where it’s located can be frustrating, particularly if you are staying at a chain brand with multiple hotels, or in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language.
  4. Room Selection – Avoid the ground floor. If you have no choice, choose one facing a courtyard or interior of the hotel. When possible, avoid rooms above the sixth floor, as this is generally the maximum height that fire department ladders, especially overseas, can reach.
  5. Elevator Safety – Observe all passengers in elevators. Board last and select floor buttons last. If someone suspicious boards an elevator, exit as soon as possible.
  6. Entering the Hotel Room – Check all closets, bathrooms, showers, etc., to make sure there isn’t anyone there. Examine all locks to make sure they are working properly.
  7. Inside Your Room – Keep the deadbolt or latch locked at all times. You may even want to travel with a doorstop–they’re small and can be packed easily–to wedge the door shut from the inside. Become familiar with the nearest exits and stairwells in case of an emergency. Keep your key in the same place, preferably next to the bed.
  8. Visitors at Your Door – If someone comes to the door unexpectedly, do not open it, even if they say they’re hotel staff, housekeeping, or maintenance. Ask who they are, what they need, and then call the front desk to verify.
  9. Valuables – The safest place for valuables is usually in the front desk safe. Get a receipt of items left and remember to ask if the hotel will cover any losses. When using your in-room safe, know that some safes can be opened with a master key or code. If no safe is available, lock your items in your luggage using a Milockie lock, or purchase a portable locking travel safe.
  10. Leaving Your Room – Leave the television on and place the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the doorknob. If you would like maid service while you’re out, call housekeeping and ask them to keep the sign on the door. Take minimal cash and carry bait money for potential thieves. Wear minimum jewelry, especially women. Always keep these four things “on” you: 1. your ID (passport if traveling internationally, copies when you are out), 2. a credit card, 3. a cell phone, and 4. essential prescription medications. That way, if you lose everything else, at least you have the things that cannot be replaced quickly and easily.

Read our previous blog Part 1: Corporate Travel Safety On-Board an Aircraft

Categories
Business Travel Travel Management Travel Tips

Hotel Credit Card Fraud: Are you a target?

Credit card fraud is widespread and growing. I’m sure we’ve all had an experience (or at least know someone who has) where a credit card was perhaps stolen or used illegally. I recently saw a story on KSL.com about how using a debit card for hotel reservations is not smart and how travelers could potentially become a victim of credit card fraud by doing so. It reminded me about the importance of this element of travel safety and I thought I’d share a few ideas about how to avoid possible fraud when booking hotels for your next trip.
1.  Never use a debit card. If your card is compromised your entire checking account balance could be a target.
2.  Use a credit card that has fraud insurance.
3.  For corporations who book hotels: check in using a prepaid one-time-use credit card option like the ones AirPlus or Wright Express offer.
4.  Be aware of your surroundings and watch for shoulder surfers and when giving your credit card info to the hotel desk.
 
It never hurts to be conscious of the potential threats out there.
And please contact your Christopherson Business Travel Account Manager if you are interested in receiving more information about AirPlus or Wright Express.