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The New Normal: An Overview of Business Travel Following COVID-19

The New Normal: An Overview of Business Travel Following COVID-19

A small infection has completely upended the world, especially the global business travel sector.. The GBTA is now forecasting that the business travel industry will have a revenue loss of $820.7 billion, compared to an earlier prediction that the spend on business travel would surpass $1.7 trillion by 2022.

Business travel has virtually ceased as a result of corporations focusing their efforts on transitioning to remote work. Nevertheless, not all organizations can benefit from these solutions. Due to a lack of face-to-face encounters, several businesses have lost clients or contracts. Meetings in person offer unmatched value and have always been more effective at fostering long-lasting relationships with clients and great trust.

Whenever COVID-19’s severity lessens and limitations around the world are loosened, businesses will need to shift their priorities away from remote work in order to resume corporate travel. As travel resumes, you’ll need to understand the new business travel standard, what it comprises, and how it affects your workers.

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1. Consistent increase in domestic air travel

Domestic business travel will reshape the travel industry first. Cirium reports that as of July, domestic travel demand has increased significantly in the Asia-Pacific region, which now makes up half of the top 20 markets. Due to the lower cost, better safety and ticket availability, international travel restrictions, and reduced risk, business travelers will prefer domestic travel to foreign travel.

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2. Fewer foreign flights

On the other side, growth in international travel will be slower. You’re undoubtedly already aware of how airlines are consolidating and sharply reducing their flying schedules. There will be fewer flights overall, and more critically, fewer direct flights, even as international travel picks back up. Business passengers will have to wait for their connecting flights for a long period of time. In addition, with fewer flights coming, there will be fewer seats available, increasing the cost of air travel. By leaving middle seats vacant in accordance with social distancing guidelines, airlines are just reducing the supply. An increase in airfare of up to 54% is possible if the middle seat is left empty, according to an estimate by the airline industry association IATA.

3. Demand for car rentals and train travel will surpass that of air travel

Car rentals are becoming more popular as nations continue to struggle with the pandemic because they spare passengers from the delays and dangers of flying. After their car has been professionally cleaned, sanitized, and left alone for a few days, business travelers feel more at ease. This has supplanted travelers’ former preference for ride-sharing applications.

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The pandemic has also improved people’s understanding of the railroads. European business travelers are prepared to switch from flying to taking trains, especially those that provide sleeper service with private compartments. This strategy works effectively in Europe since the continent’s extensive train network connects a number of important business travel hubs.

4. A stronger focus on the duty of care

Travel managers must be ready with a comprehensive duty of care program that combines best practices and cutting-edge technology in order to give travelers the security they deserve. Knowing the risks associated with the trip, the traveler’s physical and emotional well-being, how the tickets and accommodations have been reserved, and who to contact in case of emergency (whether it be the traveler’s family or the person they are meeting with) are all important factors. Most importantly, travel managers need technology that can keep tabs on their whereabouts in real time, provide a bird’s eye view, and streamline communication channels to send urgent notifications as needed.

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5. Possibility of updated trip documentation

The recovery rates will vary, just as they did when the pandemic peaked in each country, and each government will have the final decision on who is allowed to enter and leave their country. Foreign tourists will need medical certifications attesting to their testing and virus-free status. If and when a vaccine is available, passengers may be asked to show documentation of their vaccination in order to stop the virus’s spread and protect others.

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6. Flexible reservation procedures

Policies that business and leisure travelers have been requesting for some time will be quickly adopted by airlines and hotels. Passengers flying after COVID-19 should expect flexible travel booking, refund policies with decreased or no penalties for cancellation, and enhanced customer support. In light of the uncertainty surrounding the potential implementation of travel restrictions, Skyscanner advises that this is an important consideration at the moment. Travelers must have the flexibility to amend their plans if restrictions are suddenly changed. To help with this, many airlines have already adopted flexible booking policies. As a result, customers can now plan their vacations without worrying about any changes in travel laws in the future.

7. The need for travel insurance is greater than ever

Packages for travel insurance were once thought of as add-ons throughout the booking process and frequently ignored. But many passengers have lost out on non-refundable flights, lodging, and deposits since the pandemic’s start. Due to this, businesses are forcing employees to get insurance in accordance with their new travel policies, and the travel industry as a whole is treating travel insurance more seriously.

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You’ll note how thoughtful and well-planned business travel has become as it becomes the new norm. When businesses take their time assessing safety precautions and reevaluating rules to maintain business travel, it will rise gradually and steadily.

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