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The New Normals of Business Travel

After several months of lockdown in response to the coronavirus, we’re starting to see the country — and the world — reopen. This process is happening not all at once, but rather in phases, and the pacing of each phase varies across cities, states, and countries.

So what will it look like as business travelers start to get back on the road? Read on for some insight into the “new normals” we can expect from the travel industry.

Flying

For some, the idea of sitting in a confined space with potentially hundreds of other people is a no-go. But for business travelers that don’t want to spend long hours in a car and feel comfortable flying, here are a few of the recent changes that could impact their trip.

First, travelers should plan to get to the airport early. More and more airports are adopting health and safety measures, such as temperature scans for all passengers and sanitizing checked bags.

These new procedures should move quickly as airports remain relatively empty. However, as air travel begins to pick up, we can expect these health checks and practices to back up and cause delays. Business travelers should plan ahead in the event of longer waits for health checks at airports.

Once on board, business travelers should be advised to wear a mask even if it’s not mandatory. Airlines have announced rigorous cleaning and sanitation procedures, but most flyers are still going to have some level of anxiety about being on an airplane.

Wearing a mask will help put other travelers at ease and should be considered good etiquette.

Ground Transportation

While some business travelers will feel perfectly comfortable on an airplane, others will opt for ground transportation. There is minimal contact involved in renting a car, and they don’t need to worry about sharing their space with other travelers.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to aim for more domestic (and especially regional) travel. The closer the destination, the easier it will be for employees who aren’t ready to fly. This will also make it easier to bring travelers safely home in the event of an emergency, which will bring peace of mind to both your travelers and your crisis management team.

Thankfully, we’ve seen many rental car companies announce new health and safety policies to encourage business. For example, Enterprise has introduce their Complete Clean Pledge to reassure renters that every car has been rigorously cleaned and sanitized.

These policies help ensure that your employees will not be putting their health at risk when they get on the road.

Hotels

No matter how a business traveler chooses to reach their destination, they will still need a place to stay once they arrive.

Much like the rest of the travel industry, most major hotels have announced specific updates to their cleaning and sanitation procedures. There’s Hilton’s CleanStay, IHG’s Way of Clean, and Marriott’s Commitment to Clean, just to name a few.

By booking with a major hotel chain, business travelers can be assured that their room is safe and public spaces are being regularly cleaned and sanitized. While small and boutique hotels are likely offering similar guarantees, knowing that the major hotels’ new policies are being monitored by a larger corporation may bring travelers more reassurance.

As the world beings to reopen, the most important part of travel will be to make sure your employees feel comfortable and safe. Be sure to check in with your team to ensure that they feel ready to get back on the road and put their best foot forward for the company.

For more information regarding travel or the health and safety practices of businesses within the travel industry, please reach out to your designated Professional Travel team.

We’ve been providing corporate travel management services for over 50 years.

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