Coming out of COVID a stronger business travel manager

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As we struggle through the aftermath of COVID and deal with widespread economic and personal ramifications, in the corporate world, the spotlight is well and truly focused on the travel manager. Not only are they under immense pressure to keep employees safe while travelling – but they’re in charge of leading the business-wide implementation of strategies and robust processes to adequately prepare for the unexpected. How can you plan for the unexpected? It’s a tall order.

Keeping travelling employees informed with relevant and trusted information can be stressful. Corporate travel brings with it a lot of moving parts – it doesn’t just stop at local travel – as employees travel around the world, each country is facing its own challenges post-COVID – it’s a lot to handle. Keeping up to date with the latest coronavirus developments across the globe while reassuring travelling employees you have everything under control is tough.

So how can you come through COVID as a stronger, better-equipped business travel manager? We’re sharing some tips to help you become more confident in a post-COVID world.

Equip yourself with knowledge

You need to become the person everyone comes to for travel advice. And for this to work, you’re going to have to know your stuff. Know which sources are trusted and limit consumption of false news. Find your dedicated and trusted source, and stick with it.

So what sources are the most trustworthy? A report by PwC found that Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is the most trusted news source claiming 59% of consumer confidence. Close behind at 49% is state government – you can visit the government websites for up-to-date travel information.

As a travel manager, having sites like these bookmarked, checking in with them every day, can start to play into your daily work routine – helping you make smarter, more confident decisions.

Communication and confidence go hand in hand

In a crisis, communication is always essential. You need to keep everyone informed of your new processes and travel frameworks – making sure travelling employees are confident in your abilities to notify them is crucial to building and maintaining a trusting relationship.

Without communication, confidence dwindles. Communication is important to us, too. Did you know that our live chat app can be accessed 24/7 by our riders? Riders can speak to a real person about any queries to do with their ground travel needs.

You should always aim to update your travelling employees – even when there’s nothing significant to report! Just keeping in touch regularly, can remove unnecessary stress and doubt from the traveller’s mind – they know you’ve got everything under control.

Understand employees’ needs and respond effectively

Understanding what your employees need from you plays a big part in delivering a solution that supports everyone. Now is the time for transparency – it is not the time for concealing true feelings of anxiety and worry about tackling business travel once again. We need to encourage conversation around these issues; otherwise, they’ll hold our organisations back in the long run.

The more your employees can (honestly) share, the better equipped you’ll be at identifying the best path forward for all business travel into the future. After all, if you don’t know what’s troubling them, how can you even begin to help?

Work closely with all employees and heads of department, ensuring all their needs are met. Each department will have differing travel needs – how often will they travel, how will they be travelling and where are they travelling to? Your travel policy needs to take every aspect of business travel into account and support travelling employees as much as possible.

To determine employees’ true feelings about returning to travel, consider running an anonymous feedback survey or questionnaire. Collate these ideas and suggestions and factor them into your travel policy.

Your travel policy needs to be able to respond reactively to updated travel information. We understand there might be a lot of stress and worry on your shoulders, so don’t hesitate to seek support from your corporate travel management agency or business travel provider.

Travel managers must be able to trust their providers

You should lean on your travel providers for support – that’s what they’re there for. Some providers can offer you up-to-the-minute information surrounding the destination you’re travelling to or notifications about your ride.

Travel providers have been quick to adapt to government restrictions and remain at the forefront where health and safety are paramount.

As business travel resumes and employees return to the road – how can you help encourage healthy and productive habits while they’re on the move? We’ve gathered some of our top tips in this blog post: Healthy and productive habits we’ve learned during COVID.