Is ‘insta-bragging’ putting business travellers at risk?

According to the latest figures released from AirPlus International’s thirteenth global International Travel Management Study, business travellers are publicly revealing their locations while travelling, putting themselves and their travel companions at risk.

‘Insta-bragging’ involves a traveller sharing pictures and commentary on their movements and location while on a trip via social media.

Security experts regularly warn holidaymakers against ‘insta-bragging’ due to a number of security risks. Now new data from the 2018 AirPlus International Travel Management Study shows two-thirds of corporate travellers take similar risks.

Out of 2,180 business traveller respondents worldwide, 47 per cent post trip pictures or location updates often or sometimes during business trips, while just 19 per cent post rarely.

In Australia, 43 per cent of business travellers participate in ‘insta-bragging’, posting updates or pictures often or sometimes. Travellers are more likely to share their experiences on social media if they had a bad experience (22 per cent) rather than a good experience (11 per cent).

The trend is especially strong in fast-growing economies. In India, 83 per cent post often or sometimes during business trips, as do 81 per cent in China.

In the Asia Pacific region, the figure was lower than these two examples but still higher than the global average with 66 per cent posting updates and pictures often or sometimes and only 18 per cent said they would never post during a business travel trip.

AirPlus International has identified some of the well-known dangers of insta-bragging which include:

Risk of commercial espionage

Commercial competitors can derive important insights. For example, they might work out which customer or prospects a rival is visiting, or discover potential merger and acquisition activity.

Risk of kidnap

Business travellers can be a target for kidnappers, both for financial extortion and terrorism purposes. There are documented examples of kidnappers tracking victims via social media. Experts say companies should develop safe social media usage policies to minimise abduction risks.

Risk of burglary

Burglars track social media such as Instagram to learn when properties are unoccupied because the owners are travelling.

So why do business travellers keep posting despite the risk? Commenting on the findings, Danielle Jones, Country Manager – Australia for AirPlus International said:

“Not all aspects of on-trip social media communication are negative. 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, created in consultation with the relevant company stakeholders, such as travel managers, security departments and human resources.”