Tips To Make Your Post-Covid Business Travel Safer and Efficient
By Parth Shah, Co-Founder, COO of DevX Accelerator
While many industries are experiencing the negative effects of the ongoing pandemic, the travel industry has an uphill battle. Many enterprises and companies have cancelled long-planned conferences, trade exhibitions, and business meetings, limiting personal and business travel. Rather than meeting in person, employees and other stakeholders are now using videoconferencing as an alternative and are working remotely.
Despite the massive outbreak, business travel hasn’t come to a complete halt. As per a new GBTA research, 62% of companies claim they’ve changed their travel safety and security policies for their employees, and 55% say their company has implemented new trip approval procedures.
We’ve gathered useful information to help you explore business travel and develop your corporate travel programme, whether you’re a traveller, a travel manager, or considering a move to a new travel management company. For all business travellers who are undecided about their work trips, we will take you through the current state of the outbreak, how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the travel and tourism industry, and what you can do to manage business trips and your travel schedule.
What Are the Current Limits on Travel?
Many countries have updated their entrance rules for travellers in response to COVID-19. These might range from prohibiting travel to requiring quarantine once you arrive. Because the restrictions change regularly, it’s important to review these policies before making a reservation and again right before leaving. Travel limitations differ across state and country lines.
If individuals need to amend or cancel their vacation plans, many airlines, hotels, and car rental companies have adopted specific, flexible cancellation policies. Employers must study these policies to learn how to manage their reservations.
How Is Business Travel Managed by the Corporate Sector?
For their employees’ safety, many companies are increasingly lenient with travel and expenditure regulations. Non-essential business travel is prohibited, and businesses have tightened up business trip permissions.
Corporate travel teams are now constantly monitoring public information from organisations like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide timely updates to their personnel.
Most companies use a case-by-case approach, with employees and management making travel decisions after checking WHO and CDC recommendations for their destinations. If the decision to travel is favourable, teams concentrate on determining the safest routes for their personnel to take.
Business Travel Trends In 2021
According to Tourism Economics’ January 2021 Analysis, corporate travel spending dropped by 70%, compared to only 27% for leisure travel. The following developments are set to reshape the travel sector in the coming year, aided by rising technologies:
Safety and Efficiency in Travel-Related Business
Many businesses are rescheduling their business visits, knowing that their favourite airline has taken extra safeguards including periodic sanitation, requiring mask usage, and limiting seating capacity for the coming months.
Meanwhile, hospitality providers are brainstorming creative ways to make the most of their underutilised resources, such as giving meals and accommodation to the staff through its restaurants. In this moment of crisis, this method is assisting businesses in fine-tuning their sanitation systems and telling their customers a tale of care and community. As local health standards are increasingly reduced, many companies are preparing incremental nation and region-specific marketing campaigns.
Getting Ready for Business Travel After Covid-19
Employers should speak with staff about incrementally resuming corporate travel in some way.
Employee safety is a top priority and leadership needs to communicate this directly. If an employer does not have a plan in place for travel management in the face of uncertainty, now is the moment to create and explain an actionable roadmap.
As companies work to ensure safe travels and the health of their employees, an effective travel management strategy should include the following critical aspects:
- Choosing between necessary and non-essential travel
- Meeting procedures should be clear with minimal physical contact
- Information on government travel throughout the world (i.e., closed borders, related travel requirements, and their specific quarantine policies)
- Airline safety regulations
- Details on the safety standards of permitted lodging
These are a few tips companies can consider when creating their corporate travel programme.
Rethink your travel itinerary
It’s likely your objectives and priorities have shifted and with it your business travel itinerary. It’s time to rethink your strategy in light of the new normal. Have you considered updating your policy on the duty of care and travel compliance? Is it time to repeal a previously imposed travel ban? Has another business acquired your firm?
Now is the time to implement a business travel programme if you don’t already have one.
Extend your travel budget post COVID-19
Keep in mind your corporate travel policy will need to be updated. Using a business travel savings checklist, you’ll learn how to keep travel costs under control, save money, and stretch your budget. Manage your corporate travel spending to get back on the road after COVID-19 and achieve the savings your company requires.
Use a pre-trip safety checklist
When the time comes to travel again, use a handy pre-travel safety checklist to address any questions and provide reassurance about what to expect when flying, renting a car, or taking the train, as well as what to expect at hotels.
Choose only the best
Nearly every organisation in the world is facing new hurdles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. What is the most important piece of advice we can give to businesses as they prepare to return to the road? Speak with a travel professional. The correct travel management provider can assist you in planning ahead of time, prioritizing traveller safety, and supporting your budget and sustainability goals.
The public’s faith in companies to ensure new health-related processes are implemented where people fly, dine, and sleep is critical to the revival of both leisure and business travel.
Employers must take an active role as leaders, offering solutions, acknowledging and adhering to health requirements, and ensuring that their employees are in excellent hands.
The COVID-19 outbreak will not be covered by any prior standard insurance plan. If an employer is unsure about their travel insurance coverage, they should examine the policy’s fine print for further information.
Reducing the risk of losing money
Companies can buy independent travel insurance, especially with “cancel for any reason” or “change of mind” coverage, to increase their chances of being covered. This way, if they have to cancel their trip, they’ll be able to recoup at least some of their expenses. Although travel insurance can be acquired up until the day of departure, some coverages, such as “cancel for any reason,” must be bought as soon as the trip is paid for.
In current unpredictable times, predicting trends in business travel relies upon more than one facet of travel, with employee safety being the most important. Business travel will return in 2021 — slowly but gradually – as the world accelerates its immunisation drive. It does, however, necessitate a well-thought-out strategy to make corporate travel safer, easier, more seamless, and more adaptive than ever before.
If the pandemic has revealed anything, it’s that travel industry players are rapidly adapting to match the shifting expectations of “new normal” consumers. Visitors will continue to face a variety of travel restrictions and processes in different countries.
To Sum Up
Corporations will concentrate on implementing policies and procedures that assure employee safety, improved technology usage, and engagement with Travel Management Companies to assist them in personalise travel experiences while increasing cost efficiency and productivity.
A pandemic like the one we’re experiencing has prompted a slew of changes, some of which are here to stay for the conceivable future. However, there is a silver lining: it will train us to be ready and ahead of the game when it completely opens!
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About the author
With 10 years of experience in operations and training, Parth is a go-to person for his team and even a multitude of growing start-ups. His knack lies at spotting and supporting start-ups, helping them streamline their processes and even take their ventures to the next level.
After successfully establishing two start-ups and exploring the start-up landscape up-close Parth has learnt the nitty-gritty of the industry, which he now shares with fellow entrepreneurs.