by Michael J. Shapiro | June 28, 2018
While 69 percent of U.S. travel buyers believe that women travelers face greater risk when traveling for business, only 18 percent of travel policies specifically address female safety, according to research released by the Global Business Travel Association. The survey, to which 183 U.S. travel buyers responded, was conducted in partnership with WWStay, a platform for international extended-stay lodging.
"As an industry, we need to do more to ensure the safety of our female road warriors, especially as women make up an ever-increasing amount of our business-traveler population," said Christle Johnson, vice president of travel and business services at Johnson Downie LLC and president of GBTA.

The research reveals that travel buyers are generally concerned about female-traveler safety. More than six out of 10 (61 percent) of U.S. travel buyers said it is important to consider female safety when implementing risk-management programs, and the same percentage agreed it is important to consider female safety when selecting lodging providers. Slightly more (63 percent) noted that the location of a hotel is a concern when women travel for business, and more than half (54 percent) said the type of lodging is also a concern. 
 
Top safety issues for women travelers were travel to certain countries or cities, sexual harassment, and assault or kidnapping, according to the survey.
 
While 82 percent of respondents said their company has a traveler-assistance hotline, that means that one in five do not offer that key resource. Sixty-one percent of respondents said their travel programs rarely or never provide chauffeured transportation for women travelers. And fewer than half (44 percent) indicated their companies recommend female-friendly lodging rooms -- such as those with double locks, are on the third floor or higher, and/or have 24-hour security.
 
"We hope that this study raises awareness of risks to female travelers, provides the attention these issues deserve, and results in changes and improvements by both the buyer and supplier communities," said WWStay co-founder and COO Shobha Shankar [https://wwstay.com/about-us.html]. In developing its platform for international extended-stay lodging, WWStay vetted its list of serviced apartments and now highlights those that meet a certain level of criteria for female-traveler safety.
 
GBTA members can access an executive summary of the research and nonmembers can purchase the summary by contacting [email protected].