MIAMI – COVID has brought changes to the travel industry for tourists and businesses alike. But as lockdowns across the world ease, how can businesses manage travel for employees better, so that everyone can feel comfortable, organized and safe? 

Businesses across the world were expected to respond and adapt to the constant changes the pandemic brought, but how do they prepare for the next phase? Well, if you are looking for the answers, keep reading as we are sharing a framework to get you back in the skies. 

British Airways Business Class Club Suite. Photo: British Airways

Discuss the Status Quo

How quickly your business heads back on corporate trips is really up to you. You need to evaluate how confident you feel arranging business travel, and how comfortable your employees feel about travelling. Without the employees on board, there should be no flights booked. 

It is also worth looking at what the government is recommending, and how you can use this to your advantage. If there are certain countries you work with that are on the red list for travel, perhaps this is the moment to work and improve relationships in countries without restrictions in place? 

Before diving in with a variety of business trips, it is worth taking things slow and incorporating just a few at a time, so as not to overwhelm staff or your budget. 

It is here that staff engagement is so vital. Listen to staff, HR and stakeholders to understand everyone’s feelings and ideas, so that the business can work in perfect unison to get things back to normal. Then, when everyone is on the same page, it is worth providing training or discussions about new policies and scenarios so that everyone is onboard beforehand.

LATAM Business Class. Photo: LATAM

Upgrade Your Travel Policy

While your pre-COVID travel policy probably covers a lot of different scenarios, this side of the pandemic will likely require your policy to be updated. Although you cannot highlight every possible situation, you should aim to incorporate policies regarding ‘what counts as essential travel’ and ‘who can travel and for why?’

United Airlines Polaris Business Class. Photo: United Airlines

Update Your Travel Management Company

With new policies come new updates for management teams and technologies. If you already use a corporate travel management system, the team should be updated with new policy terms and scenarios, so they can be put in place for when employees attempt to book travel. That way, non-essential travel can be flagged and other policies can be incorporated into the point of sale. 

IATA Travel Pass passport. Photo: IATA

Health and Safety

Of course, there will undoubtedly need to be new health and safety checks in place for anyone looking to travel. Those considered more vulnerable should avoid travel and everyone booking in for a flight should be required to provide a health check pre and post travel. This ensures the safety of that member of staff, as well as prevents spread within the workplace.

These four steps to managing business travel after the pandemic is the bare minimum. But with these simple suggestions, your business can be fully prepared to book for your first business trip, knowing everything will go to plan. 

Featured image: Lufthansa First Class inside a Boeing 777-9. Photo: Lufthansa