Where Does Business Travel Stand In 2020?
During the last few months, COVID-19 has moved from a localized outbreak to a total global health emergency. It has therefore caused grave damage to healthcare providers, the stock market, and especially, travel. In the last few weeks, the global travel and tourism industry spun into a state of complete confusion, disarray and outright panic. Tons of travelers have canceled and cut back on discretionary travel as they try to weigh the relative risks.
Whom Has The Pandemic Impacted? When it comes to corporate travel, several questions must be asked, with the most common being: how are companies and business travelers managing trips that are seen as essential to their work? The simple answer is that there are many cancellations and refund requests to be dealt with. For some, travel is an integral and unavoidable part of the job. From travel bloggers to airline workers, their work life has come to a standstill. The pandemic has ceased not only the worldwide travel industry, but also the paychecks of thousands of business travelers. In the U.S. alone, The Global Business Travel Association pegs the number of business trips taken annually at 405 million. which translates into an estimated 1.3 million business trips every day. Why Is Business Travel Important? There are several reasons as to why business travel is extremely important to many workers in our day and age. To begin with, face-to-face meetings are important for closing deals or signing new business. Oxford Economics has found that once a face-to-face meeting is added, the rate of converting prospects to actual customers nearly doubles. In several trade sectors, it can mean closing nearly 100% of the business deals. Moreover, travel-based networking mobile applications assist in business networking. When visiting different destinations, one has the opportunity to interact with other individuals that one would not meet otherwise. Business travel can also significantly boost one’s leadership skills. Since the key components of leadership are the ability to inspire others to have confidence in you and to motivate others; by taking the time to meet with people in-person, one becomes a more socially visible person. However, the outbreak results in the destruction of the many benefits of business travel.
To Travel Or Not To Travel? Deciding whether or not to continue on with business plans depends on various factors. Since the situation is changing by the hour, corporate travelers must decide whether or not the trip is critical, along with reviewing the national and international guidelines. Additionally, those managing business travel must review all upcoming trips and conduct a risk assessment. Those trips that do not pass the risk assessment must be cancelled. They must create new guidelines on allowable trips during this time and work with respective travel management companies or directly with vendors to get refunds or credits. It is also important to keep track of vendor credits for future use, including expiration dates and transfer restrictions. It is particularly imperative to take an analytical approach to planning business travel during COVID-19 and taking the opinion of the worker involved. In scenarios where business travel is an absolute necessity, workers must follow strict guidelines which include: frequent washing of hands, wearing masks, practicing social distancing when not engaged in critical business activities, maintaining distance from others, taking good care of one’s health, and watching out for Corona virus symptoms.
Although no one is completely sure when business travel will bounce back, it will surely take nothing less than a year. Nonetheless, it is important that the priority of all companies should be to do whatever they can to flatten the curve. After all, our homes are the shelter from all sorts of storms.