A partner of Maiden Voyage we, Gray Dawes Group, are one of the UK’s leading Travel Management Companies and are striving to encourage other employers and other TMCs to do more to ensure their duty of care covers their female employees whilst travelling for work.
As part of your employer’s legal duty of care towards you, they’re obligated to ensure your safety at all times during any travel you have to undertake for business. Whether your company works with a TMC like ourselves or not, you should have a corporate travel policy in place.
Your corporate travel policy should outline all aspects of your business travel, from how to book your travel, which hotels/fares are included within your policy, who to contact in an emergency whilst you’re away, the approval process and your expense system. It’s important to familiarise yourself with this before booking your travel, and important to re-read and refresh your memory before your trip! But some of the restrictions and rules laid out in these policies can sometimes do more harm than good for female employees who are travelling alone.
There is a real need for both employers and TMCs to be more aware of the individual threats which face women when travelling alone for business, and this then needs to be reflected within corporate travel policies. To help educate both employees and employers, we’ve put together a list of things to keep an eye out for in your corporate travel policy. Don’t be afraid to bring any of these up with your employer, line manager or TMC and see what can be done to improve your company’s standpoint on these.
Where are you being expected to travel to? Sometimes corporate travel can take you to countries or locations which are treacherous or even unsafe. If you’re expected to travel to a location which you believe could put yourself at even further risk, check to see if there are any additional measures which can be put in place to ensure your safety. If you’re pregnant, it is even more important to consider location when travelling for business. For example, there are certain countries it is not recommended for pregnant women to travel to due to the Zika virus – so definitely do your research beforehand.
How much do you know about the approved hotels in your policy? Before booking a room in a designated policy hotel, it’s worth considering a few things. Firstly – the location of the hotel, is it in a safe part of the city? Secondly, how safe is the hotel itself? Are there twin locks on the doors? Is the reception desk manned 24/7? As a Maiden Voyage member, you’ll be able to search their database of female-friendly hotels to see whether your policy hotels are on the list. Every hotel on the database has been vetted, in person, by a Maiden Voyage inspector and must pass minimum safety requirements to qualify.
What arrangements will be in place to collect you from the airport? Is it up to you to navigate public transport, or will a transfer be arranged? If a transport is being arranged, then ensure that you’re able to confirm the driver’s identity before you travel with them. If it’s down to you to make your own way to the hotel, then make sure you’re prepared and plan your journey ahead of time.
Does your policy state that you are required to travel outside of your usual business hours? If so, this could put you at risk of arriving at your destination in the evening when it’s dark and potentially unsafe. If this is the case, then have an open discussion with your manager to see whether alternative arrangements can be made.
If after looking at your corporate travel policy, you notice that any of the above points aren’t accommodated for, we would strongly recommend flagging these with your travel booker or HR department. Don’t be afraid to speak up when it comes to your own safety.
At Gray Dawes Group, we work closely with Maiden Voyage to ensure that all of our female corporate travellers are comfortable when travelling and aren’t bound by rules in their corporate travel policy which may actually work to their disadvantage. All of our travel experts have been trained by Maiden Voyage and are confident in helping you make the safest choices when travelling.