Capita Travel and Events, the UK’s specialist in travel, meetings and event management and Maiden Voyage the world’s leading provider of female business traveller safety solutions have joined forces in a unique deal to certify and showcase hotels that are ‘Female Friendly’.
A recent survey from Capital Travel And Events revealed that 67% of women answered yes when questioned on whether or not they ever feel at risk when travelling, compared with 19% of men. With employers becoming increasingly aware of their duty of care obligations it believes that having a pre-approved listing of appropriate accommodation for travellers will removes the guess-work, risk and dangers when selecting hotels.
Maiden Voyage research shows that women business travellers want to be treated appropriately, not necessarily differently and it has already introduced a standard for female friendly hotels based on a strict set of criteria looking at both safety and comfort. Capita Travel and Events says it will be inspecting hotels across the British Isles and incorporating those that qualify into their hotel programme.
The Maiden Voyage strict inspection process is based on hard criteria and is far from subjective. It looks at physical security elements, actually walks the local area to assess the hotel location and expects all hotel partners to adhere to certain security measures such as not announcing room numbers out loud. Maiden Voyage’s own research identifies that more than half (51%) of female business travellers have reported feeling vulnerable when staying in a hotel.
“With a number of high profile cases of sexual harassment and assaults in hotels we expect this partnership to drive change across the industry,” says Carolyn Pearson, chief executive officer and founder of Maiden Voyage. “We know that the female business traveller community will thank us for helping them to identify hotels that meet their specific needs. we know that there is a genuine need for a trusted standard.”
Maiden Voyage reports that hotels are already beginning to take note of traveller needs and hotels such as the Leopold in Sheffield and Hotel du Vin in Birmingham have started making adjustments to their rooms such as adding a second door lock to the hotel bedrooms.
Employers are clearly more aware than ever in their duty of care to staff and are increasingly trying to find new ways to ensure safety and comfort when travelling. Employee wellness, absenteeism and business travel are intrinsically linked, says Sam Welch, director of proposition at Capita. With more and more businesses focusing on the wellness and wellbeing of their employees, organisations are becoming better at measuring absenteeism within the workforce. But travel adds a complex ingredient into this mix and many companies are still lagging behind when it comes to understanding the impact of travel on wellness and absence levels.
A study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows that UK absenteeism can vary significantly between industry of employment – from just 3.7 days average per annum, up to 11.7 days. These absences cost UK business up to £835 per worker per year, according to the CIPD. Recent analysis from Capita has revealed that super-frequent travel resulted in an average 27% increase in absenteeism, a rate that is higher in travellers in their 40s and 50s.
Capita says the concept of wellness can be tricky to define – but a recent paper produced by its Wellness team breaks down the term into three fundamental elements: financial, mental and physical. “There’s been a wealth of research into the impacts of physical wellness on employee absence rates, but there’s been less research into the links between financial and mental wellness and absenteeism,” it says.
A recent report by the Money Advice Service found that financial stress was responsible for 18 million hours of absence in the UK workplace, while one in four workers have lost sleep over money worries. Capita believes that in the case of business travel, there are many pressures that could impact traveller wellness. These range from the psychological impacts of increased levels of travel to anxieties over global security risks.
It is clear organisations are now increasingly looking to measure the impact of travel on absence levels and studying the frequency of business trips and building a better understanding of which employees are most at risk of travel-related health issues as they review travel policies and programmes. As Capita itself suggests it could simply be a case of simply simplifying expense processes, identified as one of the key process adding to the financial pressures felt by a workforce.