5 Things You Need To Consider Before Booking Travel In The Future
Never before has ‘Duty of Care’ been so difficult to sustain, with a myriad of new workplace measures required to ensure cleanliness and social distancing is maintained for the safety of our people. Building confidence for staff to return to the office is a challenging task in itself, let alone the prospect of sending employees back out on the road when government restrictions allow.
Not all businesses will need or want to resume travel for some time, and many travellers themselves could be unwilling, at least until a vaccine is readily available. However, for some companies getting people out and face-to-face with prospective and existing customers, suppliers and colleagues will be an essential part of the road to economic recovery and they may not have the luxury of waiting for a vaccine.
As the business community contemplates if and when to resume travel, one thing is certain: travel will be different! There is now much more to take into consideration than just whether travellers will get free breakfast and wifi at their hotel or qualify for reward perks like frequent flyer points.
If your business does need to travel in the near future, what should travel bookers be mindful of to ensure everyone travelling for work stays healthy and safe? Here are 5 areas to consider before making your first booking.
The most obvious aspect to consider when booking your travellers is whether or not they are at risk of infection from contact with the virus as they travel out in public.
- What hygiene protocols are in place for the chosen airline/hotel/car hire company, and are those measures sufficient to keep your travellers safe?
- Do travellers need any PPE for their trip, and do they have access to what is required?
2. RESTRICTIONS & EXEMPTIONS
Keep up-to-date with the latest on restrictions, airline routes and traveller information when planning potential trips.
- Is travel permitted to/from the destination? What about any transit points?
- If restrictions are in place, does your business qualify for any exemptions?
- Are there mandatory quarantine requiremnts at either end which might make the trip unfeasible due to time or cost?
- Even when permitted to travel, there may still be additional paperwork and permits required in advance of flying
- Have any requirements or restrictions changed between time of booking and departure?
A useful resource to answer these questions is our constantly updated travel news hub, which you can access here.
3. TRAVELLER CONFIDENCE
A happy workforce, is a productive one - have you considered whether your people are personally prepared to get back to business travel yet?
If some of your travellers are wary of hitting the road, it may help their confidence to see more about how travel partners are keeping them safe in a post-COVID world.
Giving your travellers information will help alleviate anxiety and they may be open to travelling sooner. Here are a few useful articles and a video which will prepare them for the new world of travel:
4. CHANGES & CANCELLATIONS
With the ever evolving pandemic landscape, having flexibility to change travel plans is a necessity, and ideally with minimal cost. When planning a trip, take some of the following into consideration:
- If restrictions are reintroduced after you book, what options will there be to postpone or cancel the trip?
- If changes happen outside of business hours, who do travellers go to if they need to rearrange their trip?
- If a supplier is only offering credit instead of refunds, how and by when do they need to be used to avoid losing them?
- If travellers are authorised to make their own arrangements, does the company have a record of these bookings, and authority to manage changes or credits, especially if the workforce has been reduced?
5. CONTINGENCY PLANS
Even if travellers are willing to travel for work, and can get to their destination, businesses should still have a contingency plan to cover what to do if the worst happens while they’re away.
Communicating with your travellers the contingency plans and contact details may reduce their travel anxiety, and allow for quicker action in worst case scenarios, limiting further risk to employees and the wider community.
The plan should include what to do and who to contact if:
- there is an outbreak in a traveller’s location
- a traveller is exposed to an infected person
- a traveller feels unwell while away
It is also vital to know where your travellers are at all times, and how to get in contact with them in an emergency.
- Consider how you can manage bookings for travellers who are authorised to make their own arrangements