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Boost traveler confidence with an inclusive travel risk management strategy

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By Kelly Ellis, Global Engage Practice Area Lead

Employees need to be empowered to make smart, safe decisions when traveling for work.

In today’s global landscape, it’s more important than ever to build a business travel program that allows EVERY business traveler – regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation – to embark on their journey feeling confident and secure. This involves guiding travelers on how to manage potential risks and ensuring every employee has the knowledge to help support their colleagues.

We’ve partnered with Maiden Voyage, a leader in inclusive travel safety training, to provide our clients with eLearning training courses that educate, inform and prepare their employees on how to mitigate risks when traveling for business, while focusing on minority groups such as women, LGBTQ+, and travelers with unique needs. To explore the importance of integrating inclusive safety training into your travel risk management strategy, we had a conversation with Carolyn Pearson, CEO and Founder of Maiden Voyage.

Who is Maiden Voyage?

Maiden Voyage specializes in Inclusive Traveler Safety Training for corporates, business travelers and travel suppliers. Launched in 2008, we started as an in-person social network to connect business travelers who felt isolated when traveling. It soon became apparent that safety and wellbeing was a major challenge facing business travelers and their employers and demand led us to where we are today. We are now the leading specialist provider of travel safety training, eLearning and video content with an enhanced focus on minority groups and those individuals with protected characteristics.

Why is inclusivity such a critical part of travel risk management?

As individuals, each of us comes with a unique range of intersections such as gender, gender expression, race, religion, age, family dynamics, physical challenges or neuro-diversity. If we overlay our personal contexts across our diverse global landscape this gives you an idea of how different people could be at risk due to local attitudes, culture, legal systems, crimes and endemic diseases when traveling. We strongly believe that a one-size-fits-all approach to travel risk management serves no one.

What are some common challenges travelers from diverse backgrounds face that are often overlooked in traditional risk management strategies?

Traditional travel risk management strategies often miss the mark when it comes to addressing the unique challenges faced by travelers, from cultural sensitivities to accessibility issues. Some examples of potential risks that aren’t often considered in corporate travel programs include:

  • Women who are pregnant could be exposed to the Zika Virus which would be dangerous for their unborn baby.
  • Being LGBTQ+ is a criminal offence in almost 70 different countries with some countries imposing the death penalty for anybody participating in same-sex acts.
  • Deaf travelers may fail to be alerted to a fire evacuation alert if they are not provided with appropriate equipment in their hotel room.
  • Violent racially motivated attacks are prevalent in some countries, cities, states and districts. Without correct advice and training, employees may be inadvertently put at risk.
  • Commonly, men have been targeted by criminal gangs and sex workers in crimes such as drink spiking, robbery, blackmail and extortion.

What do you consider the most crucial element in creating an inclusive travel risk management strategy?

Upskilling everybody from travel managers, line managers, colleagues, business travelers and allies in the risks facing different intersections of business travelers. This leads the way for us all to become more considerate of our colleague’s needs as well as equipping us to support ourselves and others whenever we travel, from a simple commute to the office to a complex multi-destination trip. Providing comprehensive training for travelers can significantly improve their ability to mitigate risks effectively and enhance their overall safety.

What advice would you give to corporate travel managers looking to make their travel risk management strategy more inclusive?

My biggest piece of advice would be to approach inclusivity in your travel risk management program as a continuous process of learning and improvement. You can start by educating yourself on the diverse needs of your travelers, collecting traveler feedback, and engaging with Employee Resource Groups that can provide insights into unique travel concerns. With this information, you can audit your current safety information resources and identify where new documentation or safety training could be beneficial. However, the work doesn’t stop there. It’s important to assess your travelers’ needs and audit your resources on an ongoing basis to ensure your program continues to support all of your travelers.

Curious about how inclusive safety training can elevate your travel risk management program? Get in touch with our team to find out more!

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