by Michael J. Shapiro | October 19, 2018
Most female business travelers (83 percent) have experienced at least one safety-related concern or incident during their travel over the past year, according to new research from the Global Business Travel Association. The organization, in partnership with AIG Travel, surveyed more than 500 women business travelers from the U.S. this past spring.

Nine out of 10 female respondents indicated that their concerns about safety have a real effect on activities they might pursue during personal time on business trips, while nearly that many (86 percent) said the concerns had an impact on booking -- such as reserving only daytime flights, for instance, or staying in a centrally located hotel.

"High levels of concern have a tangible impact on business travel for women," said Amanda Cecil, senior vice president of professional development and research for GBTA. "Previous GBTA research has shown the immense impact travel experience can have on productivity and business results while on the road. Ultimately, all travelers want to be productive and get business done, so understanding the specific risks female travelers face on the road can allow travel buyers to play a critical role in addressing these concerns."

The survey results do in fact point to specific productivity problems: 80 percent of respondents said security concerns have had an impact on their productivity on business trips, 81 percent said that safety concerns affect the frequency with which they travel and 84 percent noted that such concerns affect where they travel.

"The research findings show that many female business travelers are aware of and concerned about the challenges they might face while traveling for work, while employers still have plenty of room to provide more guidance and resources to help women minimize those risks and experience safer travels," said Rhonda Sloan, head of marketing and industry relations for AIG Travel.

More than seven out of 10 women (71 percent) indicated they believe they face greater risk while traveling than their male counterparts. Their top concerns were general safety (78 percent), sexual harassment and assault (72 percent), travel to certain countries and cities (68 percent), and assault or kidnapping risk (65 percent).

Other results show that female business travelers value their organizations' risk-management programs but think that more can be done. More than eight in 10 (83 percent) believe their organizations care about their safety on business trips, and even more (87 percent) feel comfortable expressing safety concerns to travel managers and buyers. But 68 percent think their companies should have policies that specifically address the needs of female travelers. Based on recent GBTA research, only 18 percent of companies have such policies in place.

GBTA members can download a summary of the findings here, and nonmembers can purchase the summary by contacting Paul Yachnes.