There’s no doubting that this year has been a challenging time for every industry. Uncertainty in the future is crippling the global economy, but what are the positives we can take away from this experience? And will it enrich business travel as we move forward?
In this blog post, we’re discussing the changing attitude to business travel over this period, and how it can help us positively impact our businesses from now on.
Business travel will pick up in 2021
Although we’re getting closer each day to a viable vaccine, businesses are still cautious about rebooting their travel programme; with some companies unsure how to restart business travel, and others just testing the water.
We might be more cautious right now, but data suggests that business travel will start to pick up again in 2021. Business relationships will need to be rebuilt, and we need to reconnect with our clients and customers around the world.
No one can deny the vital role virtual video conferencing has played since March, but business travellers are itching to get back to some form of normality (well, we all are).
With a handful of vaccines being distributed at the end of this year, into next year, it’s hoped that the world will be able to get back to some normality by Easter next year. Which means travel, domestically and internationally could well be on the horizon.
Travel is more mindful and more impactful
Although we’re all itching to get back to normal, travel has already become more mindful and considered than it once was.
The time granted to businesses recently has offered time to reflect on travel processes.
This period might have highlighted some inefficiencies in your business when it comes to travelling, and that’s ok. But it will have also highlighted the significance of important meetings that just cannot be conducted effectively over conferencing apps.
Video conferencing apps are fantastic tools for catching up with employees, conducting personal reviews, and connecting with people on a more frequent basis. But it removes the natural process of building a business relationship.
We’ve noticed that conversations aren’t as natural or as personal. You don’t find out more about the person you’re talking to, you talk just business, and the call is over.
In-person meetings are crucial to building an effective business relationship. Reading non-verbal cues is essential; they make the conversation more natural and more enjoyable. Emails can be taken bluntly, but when you meet the person, they seem entirely different – they might be enthusiastic – an enthusiasm that didn’t translate well over email or, indeed, a conferencing app.
Business yearns for in-person communication.
Domestic travel will resume first
With countries around the world still tackling local COVID challenges, domestic travel will resume quicker than international travel.
The Global Business Travel Association (GTBA) surveyed companies back in July about their thoughts on resuming business travel. And although 16% were hoping to resume international travel within 2-3 months, 44% of organisations said they were planning on resuming domestic travel in the same period.
Even from these findings, it’s clear that companies view domestic travel as easier to manage.
Domestic travel presents an opportunity for businesses to dip their toe back into business travel. Visiting clients can improve communication and encourage a sense of unity amongst suppliers, customers and your organisation. And let’s not forget that local travel means employees can quickly return home should a problem arise.
With the second wave of coronavirus plunging European countries into a second, shorter lockdown, making plans to restarting local travel is a must. Not only will it go some way to restarting the economy, but it will also encourage travelling employees to find a new normal.
It’s been a difficult period to cultivate and nurture significant business relationships, but with confidence growing and vaccines imminent, now is the time to start rebuilding and reconnecting with those around you.
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