Are gender-specific travel policies a good idea?

Should corporates make special allowance for female travellers in their travel policies? This was the topic of conversation in a recent Buying Business Travel article that summarised a debate that took place at a recent GBTA conference in Boston.

During the conference it was revealed that 77% of female business travellers feel their company’s travel programmes should take their specific needs into account. At the same time only 5% of female travellers have had gender-specific safety training.

Despite this, most travel buyers at the conference were of the opinion that singling out female travellers was a bad idea. Ryan Taylor, group senior manager – assistance travel, International SOS, said the safety points that applied to female travellers were, in general, useful for any first-time travellers.

What’s more, Taylor argued that should companies develop a policy especially for female travellers, they would have to look at doing the same for other groups of travellers as well, such as those in the LGBT community. Travel policies are complicated enough without singling out female travellers, he maintained.

Kate Wimpeney, coo of TMC, Redfern Travel, pointed out that there were hotels that went above and beyond for female travellers. She said the answer to catering for female travellers was to provide them with the information about and option of using hotels that took note of their specific needs. In this way, those that felt those measures were necessary would have additional recourse and those that didn’t, wouldn’t have to feel singled out.

Most buyers agreed that the general risk measures contained in a policy should be comprehensive for both male and female travellers. With this as a priority, they believed policies specifically for women were unnecessary. 

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