Globally, three in 10 business travelers are happy to sacrifice safety for hotel loyalty and rewards incentives, according to research commissioned by Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the global travel management company. Travelers in the United States are most likely to do so in the Americas region (47%), followed by Brazilians (41%) and travelers from Canada (34%).
Nearly half (47%) of business travelers from the U.S. said they would choose points over personal safety, topping the Americas region, and the second most likely globally to do so, of the 17 countries surveyed.
“Clearly, travelers are very focused on their hotel loyalty points – they will go to great lengths to get those benefits,” said David Falter, president, RoomIt by CWT, in a written statement. “The challenge for travel managers is to ensure people don’t go off-program in search of points. The safety of travelers should be the top priority in any travel program.”
What makes business travelers feel unsafe at hotels?
More than a third (35%) of business travelers from the United States expressed concerns about safety at hotels, in contrast to 25 percent of Canadian travelers and 23 percent of travelers in Mexico.
When asked what makes them feel unsafe, nearly half of U.S. travelers surveyed said they worry about an intruder breaking into their hotel room (44%).
Globally, two in five travelers said they worry about hotel staff inadvertently giving out their room key or information to a stranger (41%) – a concern shared by 37 percent of business travelers from the U.S.
Respondents from the United States also identified disruptions or actions of other guests (46%) and hotel staff inadvertently giving their room key to a stranger (37%) as causes for concern. More than half (53%) of business travelers from the U.S. say the physical location of their hotel alone has made them feel unsafe while traveling for business.
An analysis of hotel bookings made by CWT clients in 2017 showed that 73.8 percent of Asia Pacific travelers stayed in four- and five-star properties, compared with 59.5 percent of European travelers and 52 percent of travelers in the Americas. At the same time, only 21.6 percent of Asia Pacific travelers stayed in one- and two-star properties, versus 29.8 percent for Europe and 45.2 percent for the Americas.
What precautions do travelers take to stay safe at hotels?
As expected, the vast majority of travelers from the United States (77%) said one of the measures they take to stay safe is keeping their room door locked at all times.
“While most hotel rooms lock automatically, a number of solutions available on the market can provide an added layer of security,” said Falter. “Items such as door wedges, portable door locks and travel door alarms can help a traveler secure their room more effectively.”
More than a third of travelers surveyed around the world (37%) said they take the room key out of the key folder so people can’t link the key to the room. Travelers from the United States (49%) are the most likely to do this globally.
Another tactic is to put the ''do not disturb'' sign on the door when they leave the room –30 percent of travelers globally and 38 percent from the U.S. frequently adopt this cautionary method when traveling.
United States travelers also believe that their room floor can impact their safety and security. More than a quarter of those surveyed (29%) said they opt for a higher floor when possible, while 21 percent choose a lower floor. Nearly a third of travelers (32%) said they avoid staying on the ground floor.
“Security experts typically advise staying between the third and sixth floors, where it becomes difficult for an intruder to break in, but you’re still within reach of most fire departments’ ladders,” added Falter.