What will business travel look like post-COVID-19?

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COVID-19 has changed the world as we knew it. We woke up suddenly to a new world where flights are grounded, offices are closed, and where our partners, kids and pets are our new co-workers.

Online work is the new ‘normal’. Despite some fails, most people have become well accustomed to meeting virtually and discussing important work matters online. Where does this leave business travel?

Few industries have been hit as hard as travel, with bookings dropping to zero overnight. Even post-COVID-19, we can expect a shift in demand as the exchange of information will increasingly take place in the virtual realm. However, that doesn’t mean people will stop travelling for business altogether.

As an experienced business traveller, what are you finding difficult during this lockdown period? Are you struggling to engage your team? Are you finding it hard to strike that personal note with your client? Are you battling to convert that critical sale?

Although information can be shared online, building and maintaining personal relationships – which is ultimately at the core of any company’s future growth – remains difficult to achieve in a virtual world. This is where the real value of business travel lies.

With endless data at their fingertips, TMCs are ideally placed to help companies identify where business travel adds context-specific value. They are an indispensable ally to help streamline and increase the return of investment of any company’s travel programme.

Working with a TMC who has both technology and offline support to help travellers and companies in times of need is critical. From providing travellers with expert, human customer service and support to structuring and implementing a managed travel programme, the benefits of enrolling a professional travel team are numerous.

A reliable managed travel programme will not only help a business better manage the disruption to business travel today, but can also help get the business moving again as soon as travel bans begin to ease.

Once business travel resumes, the importance of communication can’t be underestimated. A new set of regulations is likely to be implemented – varying per destination, as lockdowns will not be lifted simultaneously across the world. This information needs to be shared in a clear and succinct way as information overload can lead to confusion and anxiety. More than ever before, companies will need to know where their employees are at all times, while road warriors will need the latest advice on regulations and high-risk destinations. This information needs to reach the right people in real-time with relevant updates as soon as the situation changes.

Travel consultants have their finger on the pulse and can help companies make sense of the overload of information. They’re the experts in helping companies implement practical and reliable duty of care and corporate travel strategies. And once this is all over, you’re going to be grateful for that expert guidance.

What will business travel look like post-COVID-19? Nobody has the answer.

However, at ASATA, we believe we will see a more meaningful form of business travel emerge – one that will deliver true return on investment.