“The future of business travel is secure because the personal and business need is paramount and undiminished. It’s an enabler of business, a driver of competitive advantage, and perhaps just as importantly, it makes us ‘feel’ again in a world that has been two-dimensional for too long.”
83% of travel decision-makers are optimistic that business travel will return to previous levels over the next two years.1
For travel managers and those preparing to return to business travel, the challenges are clear. We are re-entering a world very different from the one we all left over a year ago. Those in charge of booking, managing, and budgeting corporate travel have a whole new set of concerns to deal with, and those that are hitting the road again will be returning under a whole new set of circumstances. We’ve put together an e-book on the topic, which you can download here.
Understanding and managing the impact of business travel on both businesses and those that do the traveling is going to be key to keeping employees and organizations safe. It’s important that whether you’re a business owner, leader, decision-maker, or a traveler, you are #TravelReady and have taken into consideration the primary changes that have arisen over the last year.
85% of travel decision-makers believe that their organization is responsible for the safety and well-being of an employee traveling for work.1
These changes mean you’ll need to make decisions based on both logistical and emotional reasoning so, listed below, we’ve compiled a short checklist of things to consider.
- Whether you’re a travel manager or a traveler, you’ll need to be prepared for dealing with each journey, booking, and decision on a case-by-case basis. Domestic or international restrictions are different from region to region and territories are opening up at different paces.
- Empathy will be key as every individual you deal with will have had different experiences over the past year. As inclusivity becomes a bigger part of an organization’s remit, awareness of different levels of anxiety, interaction, and comfort with returning to previous activities will mean that each person may react differently to situations that were previously part and parcel of their day-to-day job.
- Consider the potential of creating engaging mixes of virtual meetings and events alongside in-person meetings, if possible. Lowering the carbon footprint of a business is just one of the ways in which companies have an opportunity to come back greener.
- The anxiety of returning to regular life also extends beyond business travel. Having spent extended periods of time indoors over the last year, many of us are having to relearn things we considered normal a year ago. Consultation and consideration will be key here to make sure each person’s situation is treated on its own individual merits.
- More support for returning staff will be needed. Travel managers will need to regularly update policies, making sure they are conveyed with clarity and authority. And travelers will need to be reassured that the work they are doing has been risk-assessed from end to end.
- Be prepared for closer scrutiny. Whether it’s internal or from external regulators, travel managers and travelers will have to expect heightened attention when corporate travel resumes at scale. This won’t last forever but may add extra hoops to jump through until the pandemic is behind us and we’re moving from location to location without a second thought.
As we return to business travel, the challenges for those responsible for getting colleagues back on the road, or in the air, are significant. At American Express Global Business Travel, we’ve been exploring these challenges – and their solutions – to better support the global community of business travelers, travel managers, and travel consultants.
1 Back to Blue Skies report from American Express and American Express Global Business Travel, May 2021.