Personal security is a concern for all business travelers, but female travelers are more likely to encounter risks – especially when traveling alone. More than three in four female business travelers have experienced harassment during work trips, according to an SAP Concur survey of 7,850 business travelers in 19 global markets.
Fifty-eight percent of surveyed female business travelers said they have changed travel plans because they felt unsafe. Destination, environment and time of day can heighten the chance of an incident. BCD Travel has compiled six tips to help keep women travelers safer on trips.
1. Choose the right hotel
Choose a hotel with high security standards. Locate emergency exits and ensure that the in-room phone is working. Keep hotel room doors locked and carry the hotel key with you. Meet guests in the hotel lobby or other public places. Use your company address, rather than your private address, when checking in and on luggage tags.
2. Plan for safe transportation
If you’re driving a car, only stop at well-lit, populated places. Taking a taxi? Use certified cabs as outlined in your company’s travel policy. Be familiar with local customs. In some countries, women should not sit next to taxi drivers. In some places, female travelers are expected to hire cars driven by other women.
3. Women working offshore, protect your luggage
Women working offshore in the Energy, Resources and Marine industry usually go on business trips that are a bit more complicated. Getting to the ship can involve a chartered flight, helicopter ride, bus or crew boat transfer. Make sure you can handle all your luggage yourself in order to minimize the risk of luggage getting lost or stolen.
4. Use your company’s OBT
Choosing an approved hotel from your company’s preferred online booking tool not only meets compliance, it also helps provide pertinent information to and about a traveler in a risk situation. Female travelers from the ERM industry should make sure that all elements of their trips are booked with their travel management company. This makes it a lot easier for your company to help in an emergency.
5. Respect cultural differences
Find out more about the acceptable forms of dress for women at your destination. In some regions, women and men are not permitted to shake hands or otherwise make physical contact, even in professional settings.
6. Be safe when socializing
Women should never mention that they are traveling alone. Ask your hotel concierge or business associates for recommendations on safe dining and sightseeing tours. Always keep an eye on drinking glasses and do not drink anything that was previously left unattended.