Female travellers are considered the fastest growing segment in corporate travel worldwide, representing almost half of all business trips, according to the Women in Business Travel Report, a study commissioned by Maiden Voyage. This rising demographic has the attention of the travel industry and is inspiring changes across the value chain, especially in the area of safety.
Airport and rental car parking garages are well lit, with working security cameras and on-duty attendants at all hours. Most hotels now insist that front desk clerks refrain from announcing room numbers out loud. Many have installed electronic locks with numberless keys and security codes that are changed after each guest leaves.
Still, more needs to be done.
A recent Global Business Travel Association survey of US corporate travel buyers revealed as many as seven in 10 buyers believe female business travellers face greater risk on the road than their male counterparts. Yet, less than half (44%) of respondents said their companies recommend female-friendly lodging. Three of five travel programmes “rarely or never” provide chauffeured transportation for female business travellers and only 18% of travel policies specifically address female safety.
Talk to your ASATA travel agent about your safety concerns. 73% of all travel agents in South Africa are female, according to a recent Travel Market Index study commissioned by ASATA, and are attuned to the needs of female travellers.
They can help mitigate the risks and make sure that the hotel in which you stay is located in a safe part of town. They can request a room that is not on the ground level, is close to the elevators and has locks on the doors and windows. They will also be able to bring you up to speed about the local laws and social norms, as this can pose serious, unintended security risks.
Additional safety measures will benefit the entire travel industry. It is important that we join forces to ensure the safety of all, but especially of female road warriors.