Duty of Care for Business Travellers: A Comprehensive Guide for Assistants

In business travel, ensuring the safety and well-being of Executives and colleagues is paramount. As Assistants, we must equip ourselves with the knowledge and strategies to manage all risks regarding business travel, particularly for those we support from diverse backgrounds. This comprehensive and practical guide will explore the importance of duty of care and delve into specific considerations for women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and disabled travellers during their trips.

Understanding the Importance of Duty of Care

Organisations are responsible for exercising a duty of care towards their travellers. The spectrum of risks, from stress and anxiety to more severe threats such as kidnapping and sexual harassment, cannot be underestimated. How a company responds to and manages these risks can significantly impact its reputation and the well-being of its employees and their families. As we organise the bulk of travel for our Executives and teams, Assistants are vital in being proactive guardians of the safety and security of those undertaking business travel. We need to understand the risks associated with different countries and locations and minimise any impact they might feel when travelling to those locations.

Managing Risk for Women Business Travellers

Women business travellers face unique challenges and risks during their journeys, particularly in regions with differing cultural norms and legal restrictions. As responsible assistants, we must consider the following:

  1. Pre-Trip Preparations: Thorough pre-trip briefings, complete with specific city and country location reports, are crucial for female travellers. Addressing potential risks and providing safety advice is paramount.
  2. Valuables and Dress Code: Drawing unnecessary attention can be risky. Encourage travellers to avoid displaying expensive items or jewellery.
  3. Accommodation Safety: Enhance security by recommending door jammers or requesting rooms with double-locking doors. Additionally, ensure room numbers are not called out loudly during check-in.
  4. Public Transport and Taxis: Prioritise safe taxi companies and pre-booked airport transfers. Researching local transport safety and cultural norms regarding public displays of affection is essential.
  5. Research Destination: Awareness of the destination’s cultural and legal attitudes towards women is vital to ensure travellers can behave accordingly and safeguard their well-being.
Meeting Agenda for Assistants and Executives

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Travel Itinerary Template

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Supporting LGBTQ+ Travellers

For LGBTQ+ travellers, it is essential to recognise that, unfortunately, attitudes towards sexual orientation vary significantly worldwide. As assistants, we must offer the following support:

  1. Research LGBTQ+ Laws: Understanding the legal landscape concerning sexual orientation and gender identity at the travel destination is crucial for ensuring travellers’ safety.
  2. Maintain Regular Check-Ins: Encouraging LGBTQ+ travellers to stay connected with people at home and scheduling regular check-ins during their journey can provide security and support.

Supporting Disabled Travellers

Disabled travellers often encounter unique challenges related to accessibility and accommodations. As proactive assistants, consider the following:

  1. Plan Ahead: Arrange necessary accommodations in advance and provide comprehensive information about the traveller’s specific needs.
  2. Accessibility in Transport: Research transportation options and opt for direct flights to minimise potential hassles.
  3. Utilise Resources: To help disabled travellers find suitable accommodations and support, recommend reliable websites like Limitless Travel and government travel guides tailored for them.

Assistants play a pivotal role in championing the duty of care for diverse travellers. By proactively managing risks and offering essential safety advice, we contribute significantly to the well-being and security of those we support.

Every traveller’s risk appetite and experiences differ, so it is essential that we have these conversations with our colleagues before we plan their trip and then change our approach accordingly. With proper preparation and an awareness that everyone has different needs, we can ensure safe and successful business travel experiences.

To further enhance your skills and knowledge as a proactive Assistant, we encourage you to take the initiative and enrol in the Assistant Essentials Online Course. This comprehensive course offers valuable insights and practical strategies to navigate the complexities of business travel while prioritising the safety and well-being of travellers from all backgrounds. By investing in your professional development, you advance your career and foster a culture of safety, respect, and inclusivity within our organisations.