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How corporate travel managers are preparing for business travel

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It’s a worrying time for everyone in the travel industry. We all thought we were potentially entering that ‘post-COVID’ phase when actually, we’re smack bang in the middle of it once again. Travel supplier confidence has been knocked over recent weeks, and attitudes are becoming increasingly pessimistic across the world. New restrictions have been enforced throughout the UK – with the North of England having been hit the hardest, there’s talk of further restrictions as Christmas approaches.

As we approach the coldest seasons in Europe, how are corporate travel managers preparing for future travel?

Business travel showed signs of recovery, but it’s since stalled

A poll was conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in July and found that many businesses are still cautious about corporate travel. With local lockdowns and restrictions being implemented quickly, it’s not surprising that companies are treading carefully.

95% of companies have cancelled or suspended most or all of international trips. And 77% have done the same with domestic travel within their own country.

But plans still remain positive, although 65% of people think business travel has resumed more slowly than expected, companies are still considering resuming travel in the near future.

Some companies outside of the US (40%) are resuming travel in some areas or regions while limiting travel in other regions – it’s very much a case-by-case basis for some. But the majority (45%) are waiting until they feel comfortable to resume travel anywhere in their country.

It’s a difficult time for everyone in the travel industry; what to change and implement can be challenging with an ever-developing situation.

How have other travel managers adapted their travel policies?

Most companies have revised their travel policies now (56%), we’re many months into dealing with this virus, after all. But what kind of revisions have they made? Here are the top three changes:

53% of companies created new rules about pre-trip approval.

35% engaged in more frequent ore detailed pre-trip communications or briefings.

And 24% are collecting health information from employee travellers – including virus exposure or preexisting conditions.

How should you prepare for future travel?

If it isn’t obvious yet, you should look to amend your travel policies – if not just for peace of mind.

You’ll notice that two of the top three travel policy changes business travel managers have made surround pre-trip travel. Pre-trip travel is just as necessary as the actual travel.

Making employees aware of the new rules and processes in your company can help reassure them that you’re looking out for their best interests.

Define permissible travel

A large part of making changes to your travel policies should stem from what your company defines as permissible travel.

  • All travel might be essential to your company
  • Select meetings or conferences could make up your definition of permissible travel
  • Or you might think you don’t need business travel at all right now

It’s about figuring out how travelling for business fits into your new framework.

Collect health information from employees

With only 24% of companies collecting this information from employees, it seems this figure should be higher. Being able to track employee health and, in turn, company health is important. It’s important in a regular business, but for an organisation who actively participates in corporate travel, it’s imperative.

Without this information, you risk spreading the virus unknowingly.

Consider working with a Travel Management Company or Travel Supplier

Working with a TMC or travel supplier you trust can help alleviate some of the stress you’ve been carrying on your should. Seventeen per cent of companies have written new rules about travel suppliers and how employees should be using a preferred supplier.

Working with a preferred supplier means you have a clear communication channel – you don’t have to keep up with different suppliers rules and restrictions – just focus on one. If you use a travel supplier you trust, you can rely on them to deliver safe, high-quality services for your travelling employees.

As a travel manager, we understand that there are many moving parts to your job. We’ve got lots of great advice sitting on our blog, just waiting for you! Check out the Gett blog.

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