Operations

Protecting Your Passengers Should Be Paramount

Lexi Tucker
Posted on July 3, 2019

More than half of corporate travel buyers say they have a higher percentage of females in their traveling populations than just three to five years ago, and nearly 70% agree female business travelers today face higher travel safety risks (Source: Forbes).

More than half of corporate travel buyers say they have a higher percentage of females in their traveling populations than just three to five years ago, and nearly 70% agree female business travelers today face higher travel safety risks (Source: Forbes).

I’m an avid consumer of news. One of the first things I do when I get home after work is flip to a newscast on TV and have it playing in the background as I relax on the couch and scroll through various news apps.

I don’t know why I do it. I should know by now the ratio of bad news to good news is overwhelming. Is it really me just trying to stay informed, or low-key trying to prepare for a “what if that were to happen to me” situation?

I must admit, there are times where I’ll be sitting in a movie theater, someone stands up, and I feel my heart start to race. My first thought isn’t, “why didn’t you get your popcorn and soda before the movie started?” It’s “what if they’re up to something?” This is probably 99.9% me just being paranoid due to the numerous mass shootings of recent years, but something I find fascinating is how the same kind of thoughts don’t run through the minds of passengers who decide to hop into an Uber or Lyft.

A 2016 IPSOS Survey of 1,119 people who “organize, influence, or are responsible for” their company’s “travel and risk mitigation policies,” states almost “72% of participants surveyed towards the end of 2016 feel risks to business travelers have increased.”

A 2016 IPSOS Survey of 1,119 people who “organize, influence, or are responsible for” their company’s “travel and risk mitigation policies,” states almost “72% of participants surveyed towards the end of 2016 feel risks to business travelers have increased.”

We all know your chauffeurs are the face of your company. We’ve heard it a thousand times. Back in my April column, I talked about how you should be using their trademark “don’t speak unless spoken to” mantra as a selling point. But lately I’ve been thinking about another: Not just background checks, drug testing, and fingerprinting, but their ability to protect passengers in the case of an emergency.

If you’ve been following the news at all, you’re aware of the current instability in Latin America. Naturally, people who do business and travel there are concerned. I recently spoke to Dolly Jordan, director of business development for Royal American Transportation and Security Services which has offices in Miami and Sao Paulo, Brazil, who told me the security portion of their business in South America was steadily increasing. They don’t provide security services, but security resources to companies who come to them. Security now makes up 40% of their business.

JTB USA Business Travel claims there are about five different categories of risks and threats business travelers face: Health and overall wellness, automotive and aircraft collisions, profiling, natural disasters, and inability to adapt to the local destination.

JTB USA Business Travel claims there are about five different categories of risks and threats business travelers face: Health and overall wellness, automotive and aircraft collisions, profiling, natural disasters, and inability to adapt to the local destination.

“We help them ascertain the armored vehicles they need and provide them with secure, trained drivers as well as armed and unarmed security agents (which in most cases come in the form of off-duty police officers),” she explains. Chauffeurs are not only trained in social etiquette, but have to practice defensive driving, safety and risk assessment regarding traffic, understanding predictability of risk especially with higher-end vehicles that stick out like a sore thumb, and many other tactics. They are also trained on anti-kidnapping and anti-assault prevention, techniques of escape, and what to do in the case of an attempted robbery.

Jordan says security requests will likely only increase. “I don’t see 2019 will change anything in terms of a worldwide threat assessment. There’s instability in many countries. These are the risk factors companies sending their employees to Latin America are looking at…concern for duty of care will only increase,” she says.

According to Wex, the top five circumstances where clients required assistance were airline emergencies, civil unrest in international countries, snowstorms, and terrorist incidents.

According to Wex, the top five circumstances where clients required assistance were airline emergencies, civil unrest in international countries, snowstorms, and terrorist incidents.

These situations are not unique to Latin America, but could happen anywhere around the globe. Encourage and incentivize your chauffeurs to get security guard and emergency medical certifications and/or training. Enroll them in local Red Cross classes. If you don’t already, consider hiring former police officers or veterans who likely now how to stay calm, cool, and collected during times of danger. These are actions within your immediate control. You’ll receive return on the investment when your clients catch yet another report of assault, rape, murder, or kidnapping on the news and say “I’m so glad I travel with a service that cares about my protection.” 

Related Topics: customer service, driver safety, How To, Lexi Tucker, Millennials, passenger safety, Safety, Safety & Insurance, women in the industry

Lexi Tucker Senior Editor
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