A joint study of terror’s impact on business travellers and business travel managers revealed surprising results, especially with regard to traveller fears and anxiety. The study was conducted by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives and Business Traveller Magazine — in association with American Express Global Business Travel. Released today at ACTE’s global conference in Dallas (April 17-19), the study’s findings also indicated that corporate travel managers may be missing key traveller concerns.
“This study is the first to see the business traveller as less of a road warrior and more of an executive whose office just happens to be the world,” said ACTE Executive Director Greeley Koch. “These are people who balance their families and the challenges of life against meeting their corporate objectives. Their candid perspectives of the terror issue add a whole new dimension to this discussion.”
Some of the study’s more surprising results were:
- That 31 percent of business travellers worry that a reluctance to travel could hurt their career, and that 6 percent would not feel comfortable expressing their concerns to upper management.
- Sixty-seven percent of travellers state that there is a psychological effect on either them or their families when travelling to a region where they may not feel safe
- Ten percent of business travellers remain “utterly fearless” regarding terrorism, and 25 percent have very little fear.
- Sixty-five percent of business travellers have varied fears, including being stranded in a security lockdown, in-flight terror incidents, and the threat of medical health risks.
- A majority of business travellers fear mugging and traffic accidents while on the road more than the possibility of a terrorist attack.
“This study emphasizes the necessity for a broader discussion on the anxieties caused by business travel overall,” said Tom Otley, Editor of Business Traveller Magazine. “Whilst the resilience of the business traveller terrorism fears remain high, this does not indicate an absence of other cumulative effects. For example, how does a traveller to a recently troubled area explain away the fears of her or his children? And this is but one of a number of issues.”
“In the world we live in today, traveler care is a growing concern and top priority for companies of all shapes and sizes,” said Evan Konwiser, VP, Digital Traveler, American Express Global Business Travel. “We’ve heard this time and time again from our customers who want access to advanced products and services that ensure the safety and security of their employees, no matter what happens. Equipping our customers with great tools is the first step, followed by ensuring these functionalities are properly communicated to employees so there are no disconnects. At GBT, we continue to add new functionality to our traveler care platform Expert Care to arm our customers with customized and scalable solutions to meet the specific size, geographic footprint and travel behaviors of their companies.”
The study also focused on how business travel managers (identified as “corporate travel executives) interpreted traveller response to terrorist issues. Travel managers had a higher estimation regarding their policy’s effectiveness addressing risk than more skeptical business travellers. Specifically, travellers wanted more access to up-to-date risk management tools and specific safety briefings for various destinations. Likewise, corporate travel executives may be assuming that traveller silence indicates total acceptance of a travel program.
The study polled 605 business travellers and 270 corporate travel executives over a two-month period, prior to the attacks in Belgium.
Copies of the joint ACTE/Business Traveller study are available on-line.