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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 Industry

On The Horizon: 2019 Business Travel Trends

Can you believe 2019 is already here and in full swing? We can’t help but look ahead and contemplate what this new year may bring. In business travel; technology, customization, and traveler comfort continually advances. In 2018 we saw changes like; increased mobile bookings, a growing acceptance of the sharing economy industry, and the implementation of the GDPR. In 2019, it’s safe to say that customization will continue to advance, with an enhanced emphasis in security.

2019 business travel trends – here’s what to expect

  • Increased cybersecurity. With the recent Marriott-Starwood data breach, cyber security is on everyone’s mind. Add in the relatively new GDPR regulations, continued advances in travel security should be a highlight. In fact, so airlines, like United, are already thinking far ahead and testing their options within blockchain.
  • Biometrics in airports. Biometrics are no longer a thing of sci fi novels. Just recently, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport became the first in the United States to open a biometrics security terminal.  What does that mean? You will soon be able to check in and drop off baggage with a facial recognition screening. You may also be able to breeze through the security line, without ever having to take out your identification or ticket.
  • Women in business travel. The #metoo movement continues to empower women to have their voices heard.  It will be interesting to see if trends evolve within the business travel industry, catering specifically to the needs and concerns of women business travelers.
  • Expect additional AI integration. You are likely already engaging with artificial intelligence if you’ve ever used a chatbox on a website, or have been notified of a change on your flight. As helpful as online automation and chatbox technology is, it tends be used as customer solution instead of a tool. While it does work well in certain situations, it does not make up for talking to a an experienced travel agent when you need it the most. With this latest technology, it’s also important to value the one-on-one customer service you have with your TMC.
  • Advances in data-driven analytics will lead to real-time reporting and actionable intelligence. Our Analytics tools allows travel managers to make actionable decisions instantly. We’re excited to see more of clients utilize this feature, potentially changing how they understand and manage their business travel.  

What do you think will be at the forefront of 2019 business travel? Let us know in the comments below, or connect with us on Linkedin

Categories
Business Travel Travel Industry

How Should Travel Suppliers Accommodate For Women Business Travelers?

Many travel suppliers are missing the mark on the fastest growing majority of their customers — women business travelers. According to The Women In Business Travel Report, conducted by Maiden Voyage, 47 percent of women who travel, travel on business and 80 percent of all travel spend is managed by women. This makes them currently the fastest growing segment of business travelers.

So, what are these travel suppliers doing to accommodate this growing segment of their customers? Though there have been studies and enhancements over the past few years, there is still a lot of room for improvement.  

Where should travel suppliers be focusing on to further accommodate women traveler preferences?

Safety and Security

Joe Bates of the Global Business Travel Association observes that women have a greater focus on safety and security. “It would be things like, ‘Is the hotel located in a safe part of town? How do I know the taxi company I’m using is a reputable one?’ … Things of that nature tend to resonate much more with women than with male travelers.”Bates says. 

It’s not rocket science that staying safe is a priority for women traveling alone. MaidenVoyage.com, who conducted the survey, is a website that connects female business travelers with each other to rate hotels and share experiences. Hotels are then scored based on specific safety concerns, such as 24-hour front desk attendants or on-site secure parking. What is most often discovered is that hotel staff can go even further in analyzing their actions and behavior to make guests feel more secure. Does your staff loudly announce the hotel room number at the front desk? Do they consider which room to book for a single women traveling specially? Thinking about these tiny details in the hotel services experiences can change the experience for solo travelers.

Dedicated Services & Amenities

Another reason the increase of women business travelers should be on traveler supplier’s radar, is their tendency to be the planner in future travels. Women make up 85% of purchase choices for households. Their opinions hold firm weight in the long run. Was their experience in the hotel enjoyable enough to plan a family location or future business trip to include your hotel again? 

Hotel amenities and quality of the services are overall more particular to women. This is why some hotels are leveraging this by adjusting amenities. Some hotels have added complimentary curling irons, hair straighteners, increased electrical outlets in the bathroom, and enlarged makeup mirrors. 

The Hyatt Group has done extensive research into this demographic. After an 18 month survey, they improved their services by adding the ‘Hyatt Has It’ program and additional amenities. Guests can rent or purchase items they may have forgotten to bring. Whether it be a room humidifier or extra hair conditioner, Hyatt has positioned themselves as the reliable friend who can ensure your comfort while visiting.

Business travel services are always changing, and in this respect, I think it’s changing for the better. Though originally targeted for women, having a larger focus on safety protocols and elevating usability of hotels and complimentary items are things that can benefit everyone.

Read Next:

Who books business travel earlier? Men or Women?

Christopherson Business Travel Named #1 Woman-Owned Company In Colorado

 

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Business and Leadership Business Travel

Women Business Travelers: Returning to Work after Maternity Leave

I recently returned to work after being on maternity leave with my second child. As I was mentally preparing for this, I had anxiety and stress and wondered, Can I do this? How do women maintain their careers, continue to grow professionally, and still be a mother too?

I began to think that perhaps it was time for me to focus solely on my children for now. Then I started looking for success stories of women who stayed at their jobs after having children. Many of them didn’t have to give up focus on their children to grow their careers. They were able to adjust their schedules and work with their employers to continue their growth.

When I discussed my return plan with my boss, I found that my employer was willing to be flexible too. I knew that I could return, I could grow professionally, and I could still be a mom too. My number one priority could still be family.

The reason I’m sharing this our blog is because many of my co-workers, and many of the clients I work with as an Account Manager, are moms too. In fact, women make up nearly half of all business travelers, and that number is projected to increase in the decades ahead. But despite these significant and growing numbers, woman still often experience professional difficulties as they try to overcome the challenges associated with being a working mother. However truthfully, I think all of us–men included–question our work/life balance and wonder how to be successful both at work and at home.

I think there are two keys to achieving that balance. First, begin by being honest with yourself and your time–really evaluate your goals and plans, as well as the reality of your situation. What is it that you want most? What needs to happen in order for it to occur? That might mean staying home. Or it might mean returning to work. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Only you know what’s right for you.

Second, it is essential to seek employment with a company that supports your goals. And those companies do exist! I feel fortunate because my employer, Christopherson Business Travel, supports workplace flexibility. In fact, Christopherson Business Travel has been awarded the The Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility every year since 2009. They understand my commitment to my family as well as my commitment to my job and the company. I also know that I have the opportunity to advance my career with them, but without detriment to my home life.

I also recommend reading this article on NBCNews.com. It helped me see exactly how working mothers are redefining success.