A survey of more than 4,700 international business travelers published by travel-, medical-, security- and concierge-assistance firm International SOS reveals that a high majority of those traveling to high-risk destinations are happy to have their locations tracked via their mobile devices.
Respondents who travel to what they consider to be high-risk destinations indicated by a high majority – 82 per cent – that they are “comfortable” or “very comfortable” with having their locations tracked via their mobile devices and being sent location-specific alerts and updates while traveling.
According to International SOS, the survey provides a revealing look at the attitudes of international business travelers on travel-tracking technology, the way they use mobile devices to receive information, and the types of travel-related information they want to receive from their employers.
“The survey confirmed that international business travelers place a high level of importance on the ability to stay informed, on a city and local level, on travel, health and security risks while on the road, but it also revealed some unexpected twists,” says Tim Daniel, group executive vice president for International SOS. “One of them is that international business travelers traveling in what they consider to be high-risk destinations seem to care far less about the types of ‘privacy’ issues related to location tracking than is typically seen in other sectors.”
Adds Daniel: “Another interesting element of the survey was the limited way the vast majority of respondents use smart phones, at least as related to travel. It’s striking how few international business travelers use any kind of travel-related information applications. It underscores the need for corporate travel managers and corporate-security professionals to either educate their travelers on ways they can use their mobile devices more effectively, and, to the extent possible, for them to provide travelers with access to critical information before they embark.”
Top industries represented in the 4,746 respondents include technology (20 per cent), manufacturing (17 per cent), oil/gas/mining (15 per cent), banking/insurance/finance (10 per cent) and telecommunications (10 per cent).
The survey revealed that 60 per cent of respondents travel to what they consider to be high-risk destinations once a year, with one in six (16 per cent) reporting they travel five times a year or more to destinations they consider to be high-risk areas.
A high majority – 77 per cent – of international business travelers stated they are “comfortable” or “very comfortable” with using their mobile devices to provide their locations to employers while on the road.
The survey results also reveal that, while smart phones are prevalent among international travelers, most use them only for e-mail. Altogether, 80 per cent of respondents said they carry a smart phone while traveling, but the vast majority (73 per cent) of those same users said they do not use travel-related applications before or during travel.
Survey respondents were asked to rate the type of information they want to receive more of from their employers, or providers appointed by their employers, when traveling and the relative level of importance of each type of information. The information deemed most essential was, in order:
● Specific city- and local-level information on availability and location of quality medical services in a given destination;
● Disease risks;
● Vaccination advice; and
● Medication availability.
Although use of travel-related applications on mobile devices was revealed to be modest (just 21 per cent of all respondents used such apps), travelers who do use such apps were asked to rate the importance of each. The apps rated most important, in order, were:
● Capability to call for help in an emergency while travelling;
● The ability to receive updated medical and security alerts for travel destinations; and
● Ability to receive travel, security or medical advice for selected destinations.
The survey was conducted in March 2011 on behalf of International SOS by research firm David Burnett & Associates.
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