The landscape of corporate travel has been forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. From the need to rethink corporate travel policies to an overhaul of airline policies to the rise of touchless travel, 2020 will always serve as a major turning point for the travel industry.
This is just as true for travel managers who must adapt to new ways of thinking as their organization resumes travel. Here are the ways we see their priorities shifting after 2020.
Focusing on the travelers
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, travel managers are giving their business travelers’ experience greater priority. First and foremost, this means ensuring that travelers’ health and safety come first. Travelers need to feel secure and comfortable while on the road. For some organizations, this could mean upgrading airline tickets to business or even first class where travelers will have more space. For other companies, this could mean only allowing travelers to book from an approved list of vendors that are committed to upholding new standards of cleanliness and sanitation.
While the coronavirus is still active, it’s critical to ensure that team members feel comfortable traveling. And if they do, providing them with a safe and comfortable experience is just as important.
Re-thinking emergency preparedness
Many travel managers found themselves in a difficult situation when shutdowns began and their travelers could not be located. In the event of another crisis, organizations need to be prepared to immediately locate travelers and create a concrete plan to bring them home. This means ensuring that travelers’ emergency contact information is current and that their travel itinerary is accurate.
This is why more and more travel managers are choosing to partner with Travel Management Companies (TMCs) that provide real-time employee tracking, crisis tracking, and threat assessment on a global scale.
Increasing efficiency while remaining cost-conscious
Travel managers often feel pressured to cut costs and improve the company’s bottom line while still prioritizing Duty of Care and ensuring that their travelers feel safe. For example, manually tracking unused tickets is a serious drain on resources, but expired credits equal money left on the table. That’s why one of the top ways travel managers are streamlining efficiency and saving money is to work with a TMC that can help travel managers manage unused tickets.
Travel managers are also quickly learning which TMCs provide all-inclusive service and which provide a more a la carte approach. For example, some TMCs will charge a $25 “contact fee” any time a manager or traveler needs to speak to an agent. In the event of another emergency, this could cost a company thousands of dollars just to get their team members safely home.
In the wake of the coronavirus, travel managers are prioritizing not only Duty of Care, but also the comfort, happiness, and safety of travelers. The key is to balance these shifting priorities with cost-saving solutions that have a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.
Are you looking for a travel management company that will help you keep your travel program moving forward? Contact Professional Travel (a Direct Travel company) to find out how we can help you save money while still prioritizing Duty of Care and crisis management.
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