India not safe for business trips? 88 pc biz travelers experienced safety concerns

87 per cent female business travelers in India faced harassment

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Though India is emerging as one of the world’s fastest growing business travel markets, business travelers here do not give safety a high priority while traveling. Eighty-eight per cent of business travelers in India had experienced safety concerns while on a business trip during the last one year.

As per a business travel survey by SAP Concur, an integrated travel, expense, and invoice management solutions company, around 87 per cent female business travelers in India admitted that they faced harassment. Sixty-two per cent of the women business travelers have also said they have suffered the humiliation of being asked if they were traveling with their husband.

Many other aspects about business travelers in India were revealed in the survey which was conducted amongst 500 business travelers in India. The aim of this survey was to understand how business travel affects individuals and how they prioritise safety, comfort and convenience on their business trips. The survey was conducted by the research firm Wakefield Research. It also has global findings about business travelers in other countries as well.

Interestingly, the survey observed that while 28 per cent of business travelers in India prioritised their safety, 29 per cent put business first. Overall survey findings about Indian business travelers showed that business travel wasn’t getting easier or less stressful, and 36 per cent of business travelers surveyed felt that the most stressful part of a business trip was the trip itself. As per the survey, 68 per cent of them had changed their travel accommodations owing to safety concerns and nearly all Indian business travelers—98 per cent of them—had shared their location while traveling for business.

The survey also found that millennial business travelers in India were more sensitive to current events, and in the last 12 months, 52 per cent of them have reduced travel to a location because of political unrest or health hazards, compared to 43 per cent of Gen Xers and 50 per cent of boomers. The survey pointed out that 50 per cent of millennial business travelers selected a flight based on the aircraft type, compared to other age group business travelers. It was also found that 73 per cent Indian business travelers booked using online travel agencies or sites and over 45 per cent of Indian business travelers rated the ability to book a hotel via a mobile app as the most desired service, closely followed by 41 per cent who rated booking air travel as the most desired.

The survey also observed that 77 per cent of Indian business travelers felt that their employers were lagging behind when it came to adopting latest technologies to manage business travel. Sixty-six per cent of them also felt that there was a gap in adoption of travel safety tools such as automated safety alerts about their destination. Around 32 per cent of Indian business travelers also said that it took their company three to five days to reimburse a business trip expense and 56 per cent of them felt that it is more likely to have their expenses reimbursed on time than have their plane leave on time. As per the survey, 55 of them forfeited or lost money on a travel related business because either they did not think it was worth reporting or because their company failed to reimburse them.

Mankiran Chowhan, managing director, SAP Concur India, feels that the survey findings show that there is great potential in the Indian market for adoption of latest automated travel technologies to solve the pain points of business travelers in India. “India is an evolving and a fast-growing business travel market. We see great potential for travel solutions. We are aiming to help organisations streamline and integrate their travel, expense and invoice solutions,” remarked Chowhan.