Over 50% of mass affluent British travellers see travel assistance as vital as terrorism increases

26 May 2016
New research(1) from Collinson reveals the impact of a rise in global social unrest, terrorism and natural disasters among high income travellers, with more than half (54%) now viewing international travel assistance as vital or important. The findings come as an increasing number of travellers say they now expect terrorist activity and disruption across Europe and further afield.

Over a third (36%) of high income earners in the UK would think twice before travelling anywhere in the face of a perceived increase in global instability. Just a quarter (26%) of mass affluent British travellers believe global travel risks are minimal, with the majority of those heading overseas increasingly concerned about their safety and security. 

The perceived increase in global travel risk is also directly impacting the frequency with which the mass affluent consumers take trips for business or leisure.  Analysing international flight patterns, UK mass affluent travellers report taking 1.9 business trips and 2.9 leisure trips over the last year compared to 2.5 business trips and 3.5 leisure trips in 2014.

Only 26% of mass affluent travellers say the perceived increase in risk has had no impact on the way they travel for business, suggesting that three quarters of this demographic have changed the way they navigate the globe.  Given recent terrorist atrocities, the threat of the Zika virus and other health outbreaks, British business travellers need information to make informed decisions about international travel, the risks therein and appropriate insurance coverage that is fit for purpose.  

The fear factor could be due to the lack of information available to these travellers: just 29% of mass affluent British business travellers receive trip specific guidance from their company when travelling abroad.  Only a fifth (21%) has access to a health and security advice hotline when travelling abroad on business.  Indeed, when they are given travel guidance it is often generic content, 17% of employees only receive standardised information from their company when travelling. This is despite the fact more than half (54%) of mass affluent British travellers view international travel assistance as vital or important. 

Randall Gordon-Duff, Head of Product, Corporate Travel, Collinson, said: "All business travellers should seek to understand the risks they face, but they can only make informed decisions if they have access to the right information.  Too often Britons believe travel insurance alone is sufficient to protect their safety and security abroad and many polices do not offer security advice and response as part of standard coverage. Travellers need to understand not just what is covered from a fiscal point of view (exposure to Zika, violent crime or terrorist attacks) but also the capacity of the assistance element of the insurance to respond quickly and appropriately with the backing of medical and security experts to ensure nothing is left to chance "

"Wealthier travellers are inevitably a more attractive target for criminal elements and it is important they inform themselves of the potential risks they are exposing themselves to prior to departure.  Having access to 24/7 global assistance and advice and practical logistical support if required, is a minimal requirement to ensure travellers are protected. Even experienced travellers will benefit from pre-trip advice, and assistance should  things do go wrong."

International comparisons:

The UK data is drawn from research among mass affluent travellers across 10 countries globally and reveals a divergence in attitude to travel risk and employer support for business travellers.  For example, when it comes to access to a health or security hotline when travelling abroad for work, 50% of mass affluent business travellers from India have access to this service and 41% of Chinese business travellers - compared to 21% of those in the UK. Travellers from India and Brazil are also more likely to be given specific guidance and advice when travelling abroad for business.  British travellers may be renowned for their resiliency, but they also need access to information to make informed decisions about travel risk. 

Table one: Support and tools provided by businesses(1)

Domicille of  respondent  I do not receive any guidance from work I have access to a health/security advice hotline When travelling for work I receive trip specific guidance and advice
When travelling for work I receive standardised information
 UK  16%  21%  29%  17%
 US  22%  21%  25%  15%
 India  14%  50%  55%  39%
 France  20%  17%  28%  18%
 Brazil  13%  23%  57%  32%
 Singapore  15%  27%  38%  28%
 China  14%  41%  37%  28%
 UAE  15%  20%  21%  16%
 Australia  21%  24%  23%  18%
 Hong Kong  10%  20%  30%  22%
 All countries net  15%  29%  36%  25%

Source:  Collinson(1)

For more information please contact: PR@collinsongroup.com.