Tips for Travel Managers Planning Beyond COVID-19 08 May 2020
What will travel look like once the world reopens for business after coronavirus? Here are some best practice tips based on our recent conversations with Key Travel customers.
Over the coming weeks, we will share more information on each point to help you stay safe and plan ahead.
1. Set up a post-COVID-19 task force
A small, centralised team representing different skills and perspectives, such as human resources, finance and risk/security, can map out the road ahead and agree a well-thought out, shared approach to suit your organisation’s size and needs, reflecting current employees attitudes to travel and putting their safety first.
2. Decide what ‘essential’ business travel means during the transition period.
As borders open and restrictions ease, many people might feel they have urgent reasons to travel. Define your organisation’s overall criteria and triggers: who will be authorised to travel (both domestic and overseas), when, to which destinations and for what purpose?
3. Communicate your plan for resuming safe travel to all stakeholders
Setting out clear expectations and definitions of what ‘essential’ and ‘urgent’ travel means. Explain alternatives, such as using a car instead of public transport and technology for virtual meetings. Also, keep in mind that some people might not feel ready to travel at all.
4. Establish a clear process for organising travel
Including simple guidance for how to apply for and organise travel, well-defined risk controls and ideally one-step approvals.
5. Review your risk and crisis management procedures
Making sure they reflect new learnings from tackling COVID-19, such as evacuation and repatriation and protecting travellers during border closures and quarantine restrictions. Our recent webinar covers many different aspects of risk and crisis management that are worth considering.
6. Review your travel and duty of care policies to reflect new learnings, criteria and processes for end-to-end travel
Consider adding new criteria for sustainable travel. Your duty of care policy should cover all eventualities, including a future health crisis, also setting out expectations for travellers’ own behaviour and duty of loyalty.
Allow more time for travel. With fewer flights available and more safety procedures in place, bookings and airport queues will take longer than before. Planning ahead will avoid travellers missing out.
7. Book flexibly, online
During the first wave of coronavirus, organisations with flexible online travel bookings benefited from being able to easily rebook or cancel. Our unique non-profit fares include free changes and cancellations, extras such as additional bags, and are nearly always cheaper than published airline fares.
8. Work closely with your travel management company
Key Travel’s new COVID-19 webpages are aimed at keeping in touch, sharing learnings and updating our customers with the latest news – from airline and hotel policies to international border information.
9. Protect your travellers’ health and well-being
With fewer flights, less flexibility, new risks and restrictions, travellers’ stress levels can easily rise. Make concrete plans for supporting your colleagues’ emotional well-being and mental health, including as part of your duty of care policy. Consider any potential protective equipment needs and how to comply with isolation/quarantine procedures.
10. Review your emergency assistance and insurance providers
Including their financial health and stability, and make sure your colleagues know what precautions are in place. If you work with third party providers, make sure your task force members are clear on the role they play and how they can add value.