July 13, 2024

Survey finds ‘worrying’ lack of support for business traveller safety

More than 60% of business travellers think their employer could do more to keep them safe when they are travelling, according to an Opinium survey of 500 UK business travellers commissioned by World Travel Protection.

The survey, carried out in May, found only 22% of business travellers say they are offered a full briefing from their organisation on their travelling destination.

The survey also found:

  • 23% say they are given an emergency number to call outside of UK business hours if something were to go wrong abroad
  • 22% receive regular check-ins from their organisations to ensure their safety and comfort when travelling.  
  • 63% would like their employees to check in on them more whilst travelling
  • 67% would change employers if they thought their safety when travelling wasn’t a priority
  • 61% of business travellers believe that a British passport gives them special privileges or powers when travelling, rising to 67% of under 34s.
  • 50% say their organisation uses a travel risk management company, rising to 57% of those in medium-sized companies (50–249 employees), compared to just a quarter of those in micro-businesses (under 10 employees).
  • 18% say they have access to a travel risk app, for example with live destination security alerts and the ability to call for emergency assistance

Kate Fitzpatrick, Regional Security Director, UK, World Travel Protection says: “Organisations need to provide in-depth briefings to their travelling teams to ensure that any risk in travel is minimised. This includes health information from Covid and Monkey Pox, to checking the weather, such as when hurricane season is and not forgetting socio-political issues, including upcoming elections or planned protests. All of these can all have a dramatic impact on a stay.

“Ensuring your staff know what to do and what help is available, if anything does go wrong, is a very basic duty of care so it’s worrying to hear that so few business travellers say they have this support.  It’s also concerning that while this support may be available in the form of a travel risk management company, the information is clearly not reaching the right people.

“There was a lot of job movement during the pandemic and one reason may be that new staff who joined just before or during the pandemic and have not travelled yet for business are unaware of the travel support available.

“It’s also very worrying that business travellers think a British passport will give them special rights and privileges, because it won’t. If you break the law in a country, perhaps by flouting cultural conventions, you can be thrown into prison and it’s not enough to plead ignorance and hope your nationality will come to your rescue.

“The world has changed since the pandemic and it’s more important than ever to get up to speed with the risks and altered landscape. If you’re travelling on business and your company has a travel risk management partner, they’ll be an excellent source of information to help you prepare for travel, as well as supporting you whilst you’re away.”