Survey: Travel risk management practices fall short for remote workers, bleisure travelers

More than three-quarters of business travelers say their employer treats traveler health, safety and security as a priority, but only 36% of travelers say their employer unconditionally takes care of their safety and security when working remotely and another 25% don’t know, according to a BCD Travel survey in August. The survey of 674 business travelers worldwide examined travel risk management and the traveler experience, as well as a variety of measures that may improve the health, safety and security of business travelers on the road.

According to respondents, support is lacking for newer workforce behaviors, specifically remote work and bleisure travel. Some 64% of travelers don’t know if they are covered by their organization’s travel security and medical support if they extend their business trip for leisure purposes. Respondents felt companies are doing reasonably well supporting traditional travel risk management.

Workers who don’t feel safe traveling are unlikely to stay with their employer

People wellbeing needs to be top priority at any company. Otherwise, employers risk damage to employee physical and mental health and decreasing job satisfaction, which could lead to talent loss. People who don’t feel safe and cared for are unlikely to stay. This can cause reputational damage, rising costs and negatively impact company performance. Managing employee risks correctly, on the contrary, will give organizations an edge in talent recruitment and retention.

“This survey shows the growing need for a mindset shift from travel risk management to people risk management,” said Mike Janssen, Global Chief Operating Officer and Chief Commercial Officer for BCD Travel. “Today’s duty of care policies have to address the realities of hybrid or work-from-anywhere workforces as well as the changing values around traveler wellbeing.”

A separate BCD survey in March on corporate travel program priorities among travel buyers placed traveler wellbeing as the second priority behind duty of care. Although some business traveler respondents from the most recent traveler survey in August said their employers provide post-trip support, such as personal time off (13%), requests for feedback post-trip (11%), or follow up with on-trip security or medical incidents (10%), 39% said they receive no support. An additional 16% said they don’t know if there is such support.

More men than women feel unsafe during a business trip

  • 75% of travelers rarely or never feel unsafe during a business trip. Of the 23% who sometimes or regularly feel unsafe, a slightly higher percentage of men than women feel unsafe, and an even higher percentage of non-binary/non-conforming travelers feel unsafe.
  • When travelers do feel unsafe, it is most often when walking in the streets (44%), driving in an unfamiliar location (43%), or using public transportation (40%). Travelers are less likely to feel unsafe at a restaurant (6%) or in a hotel room (6%).
  • The main actions travelers take to support their own safety include separating their hotel room key from its envelope (50%), taking a taxi or ride-hailing service instead of public transportation (46%), and checking the fire escape route at their hotel (40%).
  • The top support measures from their organizations that travelers say make them feel safe and secure on a trip are travel alerts and security notifications (61%), a central contact in case of an emergency (53%), pre-trip destination security information (51%), and clear instructions on what to do in an emergency (44%).

What can travel buyers do to better address duty of care gaps?

Travel buyers should create and maintain effective and accessible travel risk management programs as part of a culture that promotes health, safety and security. Some areas to address are:

  • Hybrid workforces
  • New sets of locations
  • Work-from-anywhere policies
  • Political unrest
  • Changing values
  • Traveler wellness
  • Risk mitigation
  • Cost

Companies can also look to technology tools, such as BCD Alert™, COVID-19 Information Hub and TripSource® security messaging to manage travel risk and keep employees informed on changing travel rules and risks.

Click below for the complete survey results.

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