What the Rise of the Independent Traveller Means for Your Travel Program

The idea of what it means to travel for work has been redefined thanks in part to hybrid work environments and the continual growth of bleisure travel. Now, a new breed of traveller—known as the independent traveller—seeks meaningful experiences that contribute to personal growth while prioritizing travel habits and tools that support self-care.

This evolved traveller is driven by the “Experience Economy” and prioritizes a travel journey that is less compressed, more authentic, and increasingly productive from both a personal and professional standpoint. This is evidenced by recent research that reveals 60% of corporate trips turn into personal trips and, for millennial Americans, 1 in 4 plan to travel on their own this year and beyond.

As solo travel increases, companies must adapt to the security implications, providing risk management solutions and an efficient exchange of information to ensure the safety of employees venturing into a diverse range of destinations. To help you address this challenge, we explore the rise of the independent traveller and its impact on your corporate travel program.

Understanding Security Concerns

For those tasked with managing travel, duty of care remains a top priority, especially when considering the challenging environments that independent travellers may face in still-developing regions of the world. For example, solo travel in India is discouraged, particularly for women who face increased risk of violence and sexual assault. Travelling in a group is also a safer approach in many South American countries due to organized crime and kidnapping, even in destinations that are popular with digital nomads such as Brazil, Columbia, and Venezuela.

While the modern traveller may value independence, security concerns and corresponding policy measures must be evaluated depending on the destination. Unfortunately, human rights violations are common in some areas of the world, and cultural norms and attitudes can easily influence law enforcement entities and members of government. Strong travel policy should take into consideration the diversity of your workforce and identify which groups of employees may face unique obstacles when travelling on their own. This may include racial or ethnic minorities, female travellers, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Before allowing employees to venture abroad solo, assess your company’s travel policy to include safety guidelines and protocol for those most at risk. As you evaluate, consider the following questions:

  • Does your program discourage at-risk employees from travelling to countries where there are laws against homosexuality and gender identity? Robust policy should take into consideration state-sanctioned discrimination and areas where women do not have equal rights.
  • Does the destination country have cultural norms that support the LGBTQ+ community as well as other frequently discriminated against groups? If not, travellers should be armed with strategies to avoid situations that will put them at risk of social discrimination.
  • Are there resources in the area where employees can seek support and assistance if necessary? When travelling solo, employees need access to a safe and understanding community in the event of social upheaval or conflict.
  • Does the destination have a human rights emergency assistance program or organization? In the case of serious civil unrest, you need a plan for quickly reaching and expatriating your travellers.

Comprehensive Risk Management

To support and promote the safety of your employees abroad, your policy should be backed by a travel management company (TMC) with robust risk management tools. This ensures not only that your organization has access to the travel intelligence necessary to make informed decisions, but also that your employees have a direct line to the right resources in any given emergency.

At Direct Travel, our partnership with Crisis24 elevates risk management standards by ensuring that all employees are able to travel safely, seamlessly, and with peace of mind. This partnership delivers real-time global alerts along with the ability to monitor threats and critical world events. As an event develops, alerts are automatically emailed with essential information related to transportation, health, weather, security, and how to manage the situation on the ground. Travel managers can also utilize a unique 2-way communication tool to stay in touch with employees while abroad or travelling solo.

Of course, alerts and pro-active communication are only one-half of the equation. Our platform gives travel managers and supervisors quick and reliable access to detailed intelligence reports so they can gage and monitor employee safety at any time—helping mitigate future threats to operations, resources, and team members.

Consultancy Matters

As more employees embrace increasingly independent methods of travel, it’s important for your business to have a trusted travel partner in your corner. At Direct Travel, we care about the safety of your entire organization. We provide the best tools to guide you as you refresh and revise risk management policies and procedures. Our dedicated travel experts are ready to help you create comprehensive risk management policies that support your most valued asset—your employees.

Contact us to learn more and schedule a consultation with our team.