The global pandemic has devasted several industries, but none has been hurt as badly as travel and tourism. The impacts have been felt from Orlando to Las Vegas, to Hawaii, and everywhere in between.
While there is a sense that the worst of the pandemic is behind us, many experts are concerned that this is not the case. Recent flare-ups in the U.S. and other destinations have raised the specter of COVID being something that could push many travel operators over the brink.
But what does the pandemic mean for corporate travel? The reality is that no one knows for sure. In the U.K., the airlines are suing the government to get rid of travel restrictions, and even though many companies have shifted to remote working, the reality is that some activities need to be done in person. This could include maintenance and repairs, installations, and client meetings.
With that in mind, here is some insight into how COVID in changing corporate travel.
The Next Normal
There is a lot of talk about the “new normal” in the press, and while this might make sense, one needs to question what is normal. For corporate travelers, this often meant the ability to book last minute tickets, limited security screenings thanks to the TSA’s pre-check program, and racking up miles and other rewards points.
While frequent travelers have had their wings clipped in recent months, most never get the see the world at their employer’s expense. But does this mean that the normal has changed? The answer is yes, and no.
What has changed is that airlines and hotels are under stricter supervision from public health authorities. Also, the reduction in the number of flights has made it harder and more expensive to book travel to some destinations. This has made it harder for some corporate travel booking offices to meet the last-minute demands of their customers.
Another change is the equipment travelers need as facemasks and other protective gear have become almost a requirement for anyone getting on an airplane or a train. And if you are planning on traveling internationally, you might even need to go so far as getting a doctor’s certificate, tests, and undergo quarantine when you get to your destination. When you’re on the go, it isn’t always easy to get tested COVID-19. You can easily get tested in your home, hotel, or office with Drip Hydration. They bring appointments directly to you for your convenience, helping you keep yourself and others safe during your business travels.
Will these measures last forever? The most likely answer is no, as we will either have a vaccine or reach herd immunity. The only question is when and will the way we work to change so much that the next normal in a world were immunity from COVID is possible to look so different from just six months ago that we might never get back to the way things were.
Some Things to Consider
COVID might be here, but you probably still need to work to pay the bills. As such, here are a few things you might want to consider when planning your next trip.
Given that we are most likely in a world where rolling lockdowns will continue for the foreseeable future, being flexible might be the most important thing to remember when planning a trip. This is because you might be forced to delay or cancel your trip, or unforeseen events might mean that you will not be able to return on time. As such, you want to make sure that any reservations you make can be changed or canceled without penalty.
Even though the number of travelers has fallen precipitously since the COVID pandemic reached America, prices for air tickets have not fallen much. This is because airlines have reduced the number of flights and available seats per flight.
As such, you might need to rethink how your corporate travel budget is being spent. Maybe you link visits to client locations to reduce the overall cost, or even you book a multi-city air ticket with the idea of driving or taking a train between cities to reduce costs.
Also, you will need to shop around and look at ways to find the best price for the entire trip. While your options for air tickets might be limited, you could search out hotel deals, which then could be used to offset any increase in airfare.
3) Travel Insurance
While an increasing number of travelers are aware of travel insurance, few purchase this sort of protection regularly. This is a shame as some insurance policies will not cover expenses incurred when outside your home state, much less outside the country. Also, we are amid a global health emergency, so it makes sense to get added coverage.
4) Protecting Yourself
One of the simplest ways to stop the spread of the virus is to wear a mask. This could be anything as simple as a cloth mask to a new mask developed by Israeli researchers, which can be heated to help kill bacteria and viruses. If you need to travel, then make sure you have the right equipment – wear a mask.
COVID will inevitably change corporate travel in the short-term, but this does not mean that you need to have your wings clipped. Instead, be flexible, search out the best deals, get travel insurance, and wear a mask.