Recently we’ve been looking at what business travel may look like post COVID-19 and what you can do to plan and prepare. In this post we look at how businesses can approach internal stakeholders to build confidence, achieve buy in and successfully relaunch their travel programmes, while ensuring the safety and wellbeing of travellers.

Data Data Data

As we navigate a very different travel world post COVID-19, you may feel overwhelmed with the wealth of information out there.  It can be difficult to decipher what’s relevant to you and your business. Now is a great time for travel managers to cut through that noise and prepare their corporate travel programmes for the ‘new normal’.

We recommend that you review two important data points as a priority. Firstly, take a look at the locations of both your offices and your travellers. Second is to review the most visited destinations by your company.

Trying to keep up with the evolving travel rules and border regulations of every country across the globe is both time consuming and unrealistic. By focusing on places your corporate travellers visit the most you can be more productive and narrow your focus. Finding out the latest guidance for your top routes and then communicating this with your travellers will help show that you are planned for the majority of business travel requests. Don’t forget, the Destination Status Guide in our new Traveller Toolkit will give you the most up-to-date information for any country in the world.

Duty of Care

Now is a great time to review your health and safety processes and procedures. Working with us, we can ensure that all airlines, hotels and land transportation have clear hygiene and sanitation practices in place as well as the relevant certifications from accredited health organisations. This will help to build confidence, both for your company and your travellers, that their safety and wellbeing is of the upmost importance when considering travelling again.

Another thing you many need to consider is understanding the state of mind and wellbeing of your employees. Many businesses are having to balance ‘business as usual’ with caring for their employees’ mental and emotional wellbeing. The most successful organisations will identify this is the case when a return to normality ensues. Therefore, think about what procedures you need to put in place now, to safeguard your employees when they begin travelling again.

Work with Key Stakeholders

It is important that you get input from various stakeholders around the business when looking to relaunch your travel programme. It’s crucial to achieve a broad understanding of requirements across your business in order to avoid any potential issues before they arise.

Depending on your audience, you’ll need to tailor your conversation. Whether it’s mitigating travel risk or managing travel expenses, each department will have different wants and needs before they allow staff to travel on business again. Listen to these wants and needs and use this to feedback to put together a strong business case for your relaunch.

Relaunch Steps

We suggest talking to the following steps to successfully relaunch your travel programme:

Speak to Other functions:

Feedback from other departments will be key to relaunching your travel programme. Take time to hold cross-functional meetings that concentrate on security and HR, looking at worst-case travel scenarios for your top visited destinations. This risk mitigating exercise will allow you to set goals and procedures with the input of experts in those areas. Explain the need to find a balance between virtual and in-person meetings to get your business travel back on track. This is a great opportunity to also discuss what amounts to essential travel versus permissible travel. Build some clear guidelines for your corporate travellers.

Survey Your Travellers:

We are strong believer in employee surveys. They give your travellers the opportunity to feed back any issues or concerns anonymously. A good survey, in this case, should include questions such as how many trips your travellers take in a year, if they are comfortable travelling in the current situation and what would ease their travel anxiety. You can then use this qualitative research to help update travel policies. By showing that your travellers’ opinions and feeling matter helps with engagement and builds confidence.

Write a Business Case:

Really take the time to assess and analyse everything you have learned from the above and then put it down into a short and concise business case, which you can put forward to your internal stakeholders. This business case needs to instil confidence by clearly covering the key points which will help ensure that your travellers are safe. Again, transparency is key here so don’t leave out anything which you think will be relevant to the person reading it.

Present to Executives:

You may not always have direct access to the executive decision makers. That’s why the business case needs to do the talking in order to get management buy-in. Remember, your corporate travel business case needs to present clear and concise data which supports the safe relaunch of your travel programme

We understand that getting your business back on track is at the front of your mind. A confident relaunched travel programme can certainly help that. By using our easy to follow tips, we’re sure you can get back travelling, safely. That’s exactly what our client, Joerg Hoffman did, when he started regularly flying again between Munich and Heathrow – click HERE to read about his experience of travelling during the pandemic.

If you’d like any further tips or help with getting your travel programme back on track, please get in touch; our experienced team would love to help!

To help you navigate the changes of business travel, we’ve created the brand-new Traveller Toolkit. This invaluable online resource is packed full of easy-to-use guides and checklists for every stage of every journey. We detail exactly what you need to know and do before, during and after your trip.

You’ll also find innovative and interactive virtual trips, which walk you through each step of  being at the airport, on the train and in the hotel. You can even check the travel restrictions and health status of your destination with our comprehensive COVID-19 Country Tracker, updated five times daily to ensure you have the very latest information to help keep you and your travellers safe.

Travel is changing. With common sense and a good TMC behind you, travellers can have the confidence to once again take to the skies. It’ll soon be back business as (un)usual.