Navigating Travel Risk at FCM
After three years of corporate events happening almost entirely online, business travel is back – and according to the Global Business Travel Association, the number of women in corporate travel programmes has risen substantially in recent years.
But research also suggests that around 70% of travel managers say women face greater travel safety risks. What’s more, just 18% of corporate travel policies specifically address these risks.
“Unfortunately, the reality is that women often face unique risks and challenges when it comes to business travel,” says Bonnie Smith, General Manager at FCM. “Another reality is that many companies fall short in their duty of care to women, which is why a proactive approach to including these risk factors in business travel policies is so important.”
But how do you get this right? The solution lies in understanding potential risks and implementing proactive measures. Here are practical strategies to ensure safer corporate travel for women.
How to make corporate travel safer for women
1. Make Travel Policies and Training Thorough
Smith points out, “With everyone hopping on planes again, it's high time we take a closer look at our existing travel policies.” It’s about getting back to basics and completely rethinking existing policies. Organisations need to establish comprehensive travel policies, focusing on women’s safety. “We need to ensure that our policies are as diverse as our staff themselves,” says Smith.
One thing you'd want to consider? Pre-travel training. It’s an excellent way to make employees aware of any risks and safety measures they need to follow. It’s about arming your staff with knowledge, so they’re ready for any situation.
2. Choose Accommodation Wisely
Next on the list? Accommodation. But not just any accommodation. We’re talking about hotels or guest houses in areas that are safe and secure, where rooms have proper security features. Smith suggests working with reputable accommodation partners that put safety first, always.
3. Leverage Travel Tech
Corporate travel management apps are a game-changer. They offer real-time information about local safety conditions and can provide emergency assistance. But it doesn’t stop there; they’ve got GPS tracking, SOS alerts, and safety check-ins, all of which can make women feel safer whilst travelling.
4. Encourage Networking and Support
Networking events, internal forums, and mentorship programmes can be a goldmine of information, travel tips and support, particularly for women who travel frequently. It’s all about sharing experiences and knowledge, and who knows, you might even make a few friends along the way.
5. Promote Open Reporting
An environment where women feel safe to voice their travel safety concerns and report incidents of harassment or discrimination? Now that's what we need. Let's be clear; these reports must be addressed promptly and effectively. No retaliation, no victim-blaming.
6. Be Smart with Social Media
Who doesn’t like sharing their travel pictures on social media? It’s important to remember that oversharing can potentially give away your location and activities to unwanted eyes. So, let's keep things under wraps. Avoid tagging your location or posting pictures of your hotel or flight tickets.
7. Collaborate with a Reliable Travel Management Company
Last but certainly not least, let's talk about travel management companies. Finding a trustworthy, experienced partner that understands your organisation’s needs and can personalise the travel experience is key. Smith adds, “Keeping employees safe on business trips means we've got to form solid partnerships.”
A reputable travel management company should offer 24/7 support, travel advisories and emergency responses. So, even if your business travels take you halfway across the globe, you’ll always be prepared and protected.