Corporate travel buyers have seen a large rise in requests for security training amidst a challenging aviation security environment and continued threat of global terrorism.

A new global survey from ACTE and American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), showed a quarter of buyers have seen these types of requests from travellers increase 25 per cent in the past six months.

It also found more than half (56%) have seen an uptick in the number of business travellers reporting heightened personal safety concerns over the past three months. In addition, 54 per cent said travellers have expressed growing worry about travelling to the US as changes to visa requirements and immigration policies loom.

“The pace of change—and the amount of anxiety—in the corporate travel industry has accelerated tremendously over the past three to six months, and it will be critical for companies to stay ahead of the curve if their employees are to remain productive and happy on the road,” said Greeley Koch, executive director of ACTE. “Luckily, travel technologies are evolving just as fast—if not faster—and offering executives and planners new tools to address happiness, safety and security.”

In response to these challenges, 87 per cent of buyers report plans to improve safety training, with one third having introduced these changes already, 14 per cent plan to roll out new programs over the next one to two years, and 40 per cent have discussed changes internally.

“The modern business traveller is more vocal than ever. They are actively advocating for their own experience, with a clear focus on arming themselves with safety and security information while they are travelling for business,” says Evan Konwiser, vice president of Digital Traveller with GBT.  “Checking in with the modern business traveller six months later, we are seeing that the behaviours revealed in the 2016 research are becoming trends that the industry must consider when evaluating their existing policies and programs.”

Data security

The study showed that connectivity remains a requirement of corporate travel, with new technologies offering travellers multiple avenues to communicate with colleagues globally—and buyers are looking to expand these options. 89 per cent said they have introduced, will introduce or are currently discussing new booking apps, while 88 per cent and 82 per cent are taking a similar approach with trip information and travel and expense management apps, respectively.

However, ACTE and GBTA said this increasingly networked environment is also introducing vulnerabilities for “bad actors” to exploit. Nearly one-third (31 per cent) of buyers said they’ve seen traveller enquiries about data security increase over the past three months. Few companies, however, seem to have coherent policies in place to address these concerns. Fifty-eight per cent said employees are permitted to use their personal devices for business communication, 64 per cent said travellers may access public wifi with their business devices, and 47 per cent allow the use of non-purged laptops and devices while on the road.

ACTE polled around 239 corporate travel buyers globally from March 9 – 28 2017 for this study.

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