The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has reverberated worldwide. As governments work out the best way to contain the virus, country-wide lockdowns are rife and travel is extremely limited. Airlines are seeing unprecedented cancellations and are significantly reducing ticket prices.
For a lot of businesses, employee travel was essential before the COVID-19 outbreak, but now, most companies have imposed complete travel bans to ensure they keep employees safe and curb the spread among the population.
In this new environment we’re in, it’s become critical that organizations fully understand travel disruptions globally and can ensure any essential journeys have round-the-clock support by a team of travel consultants who speak an extensive array of languages.
No one is quite sure how long the effects will last, but what we do know is that a lot of businesses have struggled with their existing travel management capabilities during the pandemic.
Therefore, it's critical that organizations learn and adapt from the immediate COVID-19 outbreak so, when the world is back up and running, they can use corporate travel effectively to get back to differentiating and competing.
Learning today can help us tomorrow.
By having a travel policy that can be easily and instantly adapted across all geographies according to the latest data and insights, organizations can better make decisions regarding essential travel during a crisis. This has never been more important than with COVID-19.
A goal for business leaders facing today’s pandemic should be to ensure they are prepared and not in a position to be without the resources they need to handle another huge global travel disruption.
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Any organization needs to make sure it is completely up to speed on the various regions it operates in. Not just for the logistics of its local offices there, but to actually understand the local situation, as well as what local governments are advising.
Different countries are responding and easing restrictions related to COVID-19 in different ways, especially in Asia, so as businesses prepare for recovery and restrictions to lift, a travel program needs to be in line with government recommendations.
As we prepare for recovery post-COVID-19, it will become increasingly important to reassure and support travelers that return to the road, re-establish peace of mind and continue to gain as much value from a travel program as possible.
Getting businesses back on track and keeping employees safe will be the top priority. Data can be our greatest assets during this time to help us put make informed decisions.
Be agile and communicate to build confidence
Of course, you can’t underestimate the importance of communication post-COVID-19. It must be two-way, regular and relevant.
Employers need to know where staff are at all times in case circumstances change and employees need the latest advice on where it is safe to travel and where they may still be at high risk.
This level of communication will often require some form of automation to make sure it happens in real-time, with messages going out as soon as the situation changes to ensure the safety of the employees still traveling, as well as to alert others as soon as it’s safe again to do so.
Be savvy with budget
Many companies across the globe will have experienced some sort of financial impact from this pandemic. Business travel is a strategic lever for any business if treated as such, so organizations need to make sure they manage their travel budget wisely to maximize the value of each and every trip. Having access to exclusive rates and offers from a travel management company also helps to stretch your budget even further.
When the time comes to get moving again, the right travel program and support will go a long way. As travel bans start to lift, companies can feel confident in asking their employees to travel again with all the data and insights at their fingertips.
Through 24/7/365 support wherever they are in the world, employees can begin to ease back into society and on to the road as we put this difficult chapter behind us.
Those who prepare now will get back to normal operations quicker and, ultimately, be ready to compete for business.