As travel and lockdown restrictions begin to ease in many parts of the world, many companies are starting look at when, and how, they can start to travel for business again. Travel will be one of the key elements in re-starting economies all over the world as companies seek new sales and export opportunities, assist partners on new and existing engineering projects as well as cementing business relationships that existed before the pandemic.
At Good Travel Management we surveyed our clients in May/June 2020 to get their opinions on when they might consider travelling, if they’d travel less in the future and what assistance they would need from us to travel safely and with confidence.
62% of respondents said they expected to start travelling again before September 2020 but over half anticipated that their travel budget would decrease by an average of 33% mainly due to increased use of virtual meeting solutions but also due to rebuilding confidence in their employees travelling overseas. Of the elements that they suggest would need to be in place in order to travel safely, and with confidence, the most important factors cited are:
- Information and advice from their travel agent on travel and lockdown restrictions before and during travel
- Flexible tickets and rates allowing the amending, or cancellation, of travel plans at short notice
- Details of hygiene and safety measures introduced by airlines, hotels, train operators etc.
Quarantine/Self-isolation restrictions, both for the U.K. and for destination countries, are likely to change on weekly basis as countries implement reciprocal Air Bridges or potentially re-introduce restrictions in reaction to localised increases in Covid-19 cases. It’s going to be key that travellers make sure they get this information before they travel and are provided with updates during the trip.
Flexible air tickets and hotel rates are slightly more expensive than tickets that do not allow any changes or cancellation before travel but, being able to adapt to changes to travel plans or cancellation will offer real benefits in the coming months. If you have to change or cancel a cheap, non-flexible ticket it’s likely that you will either not be able to get a refund or have to pay a large fee to make an amendment.
Safety of travellers, and their employees, is the top priority of airlines, airports, hotels, and all other travel suppliers. Good Travel Management are in constant contact with all travel suppliers to monitor their response to Covid-19 and we will make this information available to our clients. For example, we can advise if an airline has a mandatory requirement for passengers to wear Facemasks or if check-in time has been lengthened at the airport to cope with longer, socially distanced, queues.
One of the most important things for a company to do at this point is to review your company travel policy and make sure it includes any specific requirements relating to travel post Covid-19. If you don’t already have a travel policy, then it is worth creating even a basic policy so that your travellers are clear on what travel is permissible and when.
Travelling for business will certainly be different for a while at least but travel has always provided the ability to open up new markets and stimulate international trade. It encourages domestic and foreign investment and promotes the exchange of technology and ideas.
All vital elements in kick-starting the world economy in the next months.