How Companies Can Prepare for the Future of Business Travel
We are in the midst of one of the greatest paradigm shifts the modern world has witnessed. And, for those of us in the travel and hospitality industries, what we are experiencing is especially unprecedented.
While some have tried to draw comparisons to the impacts of other events and natural disasters, it is far from the same. Some examples to consider:
- Eight in 10 hotel rooms are empty.
- 2020 is projected to be the worst year on record for hotel occupancy.
- ARC (Airlines Reporting Corporation) reported that, compared to one year ago, airline ticket sales ending the week of April 5, 2020 fell 95.7%.
We believe it fair to say that post COVID-19 we will be dealing with an economic recovery that will require a ramping up for the foreseeable future. What’s certain is that we are facing a landscape filled with new and evolving challenges -- be it further health risks, social distancing considerations, new travel restrictions, or company budget impacts – that the travel and hospitality industry needs to be ready to address.
What can travel professionals do now?
While it’s possible that the full ripple effects of the global health crisis have yet to be felt, there are many questions to be answered now. What can you do as the travel manager to stabilize your company for the present and prepare for what is to come? How do you take a leadership role during this time of crisis and be the voice of logical reason? What will be your plan of action be to communicate with you sr. management to prepare for the gradual return of business?
Whether your business is large or small, below are some action steps you may wish to consider as an initial checklist. As every company is different, we designed these areas of key topics for your review and discussion with your business partners. And while many may have already been in place in your T&E program, they will now need to be revisited as a result this business disruption.
- Paradigm Shift: Adjust your T&E program to support the changing business environment.
- Transparency is Optimal: Is your reporting comprehensive?
- Build Bridges, Break Down Silos: Align with stakeholder needs and new local and international regulations and requirements.
- Get Ahead of the Next Disruption: Stay vigilant on preparedness and develop improved duty of care as a part of your travel program.
- Partners of the Future: Build stronger relationships with internal stakeholders and external supplier, TMCs, and partners.
Our focus more than ever as travel managers needs to be as thought leaders to prepare our companies for the future. Your visibility matters now, as does your leadership expertise! Communication with your leadership and travel community is essential to understand their needs, as well as to further elevate the travel manager role at your company.
While we can’t predict what a post-COVID19 world will look like, I believe we will emerge stronger -- as individuals, as service providers, as companies, and as a global community. The ways in which we conduct business may be forever changed, but we will find a new way of business as usual...however un-usual that seems!
For more, download our checklist 5 Things to Think About Now to Stabilize Your Travel and Expense Programs, and watch the video below.