It’s important to look at the challenges that come with managing business travel and traveler concerns when global turmoil is the new normal.
Travel managers are facing new sets of challenges as global risks––whether terror, climate, or health-related––seem to be increasing year after year.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, such events are affecting the ways business travelers themselves feel about their travel experiences. A 2016 survey from the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) and Business Traveller found that two out of three travelers agree that there is a psychological effect on either them or their families when traveling to a region where they may not feel safe. The survey also found that 56 percent of business travelers were moderately to severely anxious about a terrorism threat during business travel, while 58 percent were more anxious than they were the previous year.
A 2016 survey from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) also looked at how business travelers feel about safety risks while traveling. According to the study, business travelers overwhelmingly perceive terrorism as the greatest concern they face on the road, with almost half ranking it as their top concern. The poll also found that more than half of business travelers feel safer traveling domestically for business than internationally, and that 40 percent of business travelers now book lodging at only approved hotels due to concerns about terrorism.
As Arnaud Le Masne, vice president, global sales & emerging markets at Egencia told Skift, “I spent the whole year talking about risk management. Things are different today compared to a few years ago. It almost seems like a major event happens every few days, whether in Stockholm, Manchester or Paris. Travelers are more eager to get information, and they’re much more anxious.”
Fortunately, travel managers are taking these concerns seriously. When ACTE asked respondents, “Is terrorism and unrest changing duty-of-care concerns in your organization?”, 44 percent of travellers and 51 percent of travel professionals said their organizations have made duty-of-care changes. And when GBTA asked travelers if they feel their organization cares about their safety when traveling for business, 91 percent agreed or strongly agreed.
A recent survey of travel managers conducted by Skift on behalf of Egencia also found that safety and duty-of-care concerns were top of mind for travel managers. When asked if they’d be willing to incur a higher cost for travel if it meant keeping their travelers safe during their trip, 28 percent agreed that they’d be willing to increase their spend within 10 percent of the hotel rate cap, while another 11 percent said they’d be willing to do so within 25 percent of the hotel rate cap.
Carly Jones, senior manager of global travel at David’s Bridal, agrees that she’s seen this new era of global uncertainty influence her concerns about traveler safety. “Focus on duty of care has moved up on the list for us. Unfortunately in our day and age it’s not ‘if’ but ‘when.’”
Terrorism and other global crises can never be fully anticipated or avoided. However, travel managers who proactively work to understand these risks, address the concerns of travelers themselves, educate travelers on procedures and policies, and better equip travelers with the right technological tools and preparations and precautions they should take before embarking on a business trip can help manage the risks travelers face and help alleviate the anxieties they may have.
To learn more about how travel managers are thinking about ensuring the safety of their travelers in an era of global uncertainty, download the Skift Insights Deck: “Bringing Satisfaction Back to Business Travel.”
This content was created collaboratively by Egencia and Skift’s branded content studio, SkiftX.