Gay and traveling: Safety, inclusivity and awareness in managed travel programs

In the latest episode of the “Connections with BCD Travel” podcast, the hosts linked up with two BCD colleagues to talk safety, accessibility and inclusivity for LGBTQIA+ business travelers. The discussion emphasizes why diversity, equity and inclusion for all traveler groups must be crucial considerations in managed travel programs.

Christine Connolley Senior Manager Global Crisis Management
Patrick Pickens Vice President Global Sales
Miriam Moscovici co host Connections podcast
Chad Lemon co host Connections podcast

Podcast co-hosts Chad Lemon and Miriam Moscovici are joined by BCD’s Christine Connolley, senior manager of Global Crisis Management, and Patrick Pickens, vice president of Global Sales. Christine is also a travel risk management consultant with our consulting branch, Advito. She’s also a member of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Risk Committee and a voting member of the ISO Technical Advisory Group on Risk Management, the group that convenes and writes ISO standards like ISO 31030 on risk management.

In his global sales role, Patrick interacts with corporate travel managers on various topics from sustainability to accessibility to minority groups like the LGBTQIA+ community. These conversations “are important to make sure that not only are certain travelers taken care of, but every traveler is taken care of and creating that really inclusive environment for all your travelers,” he said.

“And then the second piece of it is, is it’s deeply personal to me. I’m a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and there’s a lot of stuff that I think about when I travel that corporate travel managers probably aren’t very aware that I’m thinking about. And I know that the questions that I’m asking myself are things that other members of the community also are,” Patrick said.

Key takeaways

Christine and Patrick shared their personal insights and experiences, stressing the importance of a supportive corporate culture. From understanding local laws and cultural nuances to the need for comprehensive training for all employees, the conversation underscores that safety and inclusivity should be integral to any corporate travel program. Further, Patrick emphasized that the best employees are those who feel authentic and comfortable in their own skin, making inclusivity not just a moral obligation but a business imperative.

The episode also highlights the role of technology and available resources in supporting LGBTQIA+ travelers. Christine and Patrick discussed various tools and services, including third-party assistance providers and Advito’s diversity, equity, and inclusion maps. These resources provide crucial information and support, enabling travelers to prepare adequately for trips to potentially unsafe locations. The discussion underscores the importance of being informed and having access to tailored support to navigate the complexities of international travel safely.

An inclusive corporate culture is foundational to supporting all employees, including LGBTQIA+ travelers. Both Christine and Patrick stressed the role of allies in creating a supportive environment. From avoiding potentially harmful conversations in unsafe locations to understanding the broader cultural context, allies play a vital role in ensuring the safety and comfort of their colleagues. Additionally, the concept of “duty of loyalty” is introduced, where employees are encouraged to act responsibly and make informed decisions while traveling, further emphasizing a shared responsibility for safety.

The dynamic nature of corporate travel policies

Also in this episode, Miriam Moscovici introduced new research from her team on corporate travel policies, emphasizing their fluidity and responsiveness to current events and industry changes. This research indicates that the majority of corporate travel programs have revised their policies in the last 18 months and plan to continue evolving them. Understanding what’s included in these policies and what business travelers desire – like upgrades and first-class options – is crucial.

To hear more episodes and connect with the BCD community, visit bcdtravel.com/podcast.

New on bcdtravel.com

Stay in the know,
even on the go

Never want to miss a thing?

We'll get you the latest news, trends, insights and BCD news right in your inbox.