SINGAPORE – Business travellers are risking kidnapping, burglary and even corporate espionage by documenting their trips on social media, a new study shows.
Two-thirds of the respondents in business travel payment company AirPlus International’s 13th global International Travel Management Study said they posted photos and location updates during business trips.
The study was conducted by international market research agency 2hm which interviewed 870 travel managers and 2,180 business travelers from 24 countries by phone and online.
Out of the 2,180 respondents, 13 per cent said they posted updates “often”, 34 per cent said they did so “sometimes”, and 19 per cent said they did so only “rarely”.
This practice, known as “Insta-bragging”, is a strong trend in fast-growing countries. About 83 per cent of the respondents from India and 81 per cent from China said they posted updates “often” or “sometimes”.
Frequent updates can put travellers and their companions at risk of kidnapping for both extortion and terrorism, the study said. Kidnappers can easily identify and track potential victims through social media.
The travellers also risk having their homes broken into as burglars can learn when their properties are likely to be unoccupied.
In addition, commercial rivals can acquire important information from the travel habits of a company’s corporate travellers.
For example, it might be possible to deduce which customer or prospective business partner a traveller is visiting and therefore what potential mergers or acquisitions might be in the works.
But not all aspects of “Insta-bragging” are negative. Ms Danielle Jones, country manager of Australia for AirPlus International said in a press release: “Business travellers may argue that posting has become a normal and engaging way to network with their customers, business partners and colleagues.”
“One of the ways to ensure business travellers and corporates are on the same page when it comes to social media usage while travelling is the adoption of a robust social media policy,” she added.