The Journey Out Of Lockdown - How The Business Travel Industry Is Set To Change
Over the last few decades the business travel industry has dealt with many upheavals, from 9/11 to the financial crisis, but nothing has come close to the COVID-19 pandemic. Overnight everything changed and even the most essential travel plans were cancelled indefinitely. As the business world scrambled to adjust and learn new skills to navigate remote working, the move to increased digitalisation has been as dramatic as it has been instant. From back to back video conferences to using new online services and applications to help complete admin tasks, the way we work has changed overnight.
Sebastien Marchon, CEO of Rydoo, the hassle-free business travel and expenses management solution, gives us his predictions on how the workplace will change as we emerge from lockdown and how the world of business travel will have to adjust in the second half of 2020 and beyond.
SAFETY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER The fallout to travel as the scale of COVID-19 hit was a real wake-up call. Knowing where and when people have travelled is going to be more important than ever. The better we collect and share data on travel, the faster we will be able to get back to business once the lockdown is over.
THE DATA TRAIL OF REPORTING Ensuring that appropriate pre-trip approvals and risk authorisations have been obtained is crucial for future critical travel. This will allow companies to re-evaluate their travel risk management strategies. Businesses will also need to quickly adapt and enforce travel policies based on advice on where it is safe to travel or not, to help protect the safety of employees.
PLAN B (AND C) While travel will resume it is likely that there will be further restrictions coming in and out of effect throughout the rest of 2020 as the pandemic ebbs and flows in different regions globally. The ability to obtain refunds, track these balances and make changes to travel plans at short notice will be key.
ALLOW MORE TIME Longer trips and travel won’t be as easy with expected longer waiting times at entry/exit controls in territories, potentially, new documents required in addition to the passport to travel to areas where COVID-19 is no longer active. Temperature checks at airports, for example and more sanitary facilities means that even relatively simple trips will take longer than before and our itineraries will change to reflect this.
MAKING THE RIGHT DECISIONS It’s clear that even post-lockdown many of us will be less inclined to travel, especially to destinations that have been heavily impacted or have poorly developed medical infrastructures. Where we travel and when will become a much more socially and personally responsible decision that will fall on employees’ shoulders as they choose where they need to be or not.
KEEPING IT DIGITAL The increased use of digital solutions during the disruption will continue. At Rydoo we have seen an increased uptake and use of our digital expense management solutions to help staff get their expense claims reimbursed even though their paper receipts are all in the office. Companies will continue to transform their processes to ensure any future issues have a minimal impact on the way the business operates.
As different nations across Europe begin to tentatively emerge from their at home lock-down everyone’s desire to get moving again is clear. As we pull back the curtains and look out onto the world, it’s just as clear that the world which we re-enter isn’t quite the same as the same we left. While travel will resume and the business world gets ready to meet each other once again we will have different priorities and concerns for quite some time to come.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Rachel Robins.