We all want things to go back to normal, it’s just that none of us know what normal looks like anymore. One thing is certain, though: When it comes to business travel, normal isn’t the way we used to do things. Because while your business travelers want to get back out there again, they aren’t going to simply do as you say and make an unconditional return to the road.
Why? Well, safety, for one thing. And flexibility for another. But we’ll talk about that in a minute.
First, let’s look at their desire to get back out there. According to a recent Wakefield Research study of businesses under 1,000 employees, 95% of corporate travelers are willing to travel again. Sixty-three percent are very willing. They want to get going again, because they want to make sure they’re getting the job done – 81% of them are concerned about their careers if travel doesn’t increase in the next 12 months.
Specifically, they’re worried about developing and maintaining business connections (40%), about signing new deals (35%), about building new relationships (33%) and, frankly, about making less money (38%).
They are eager, in other words, to be face to face with the people who make it all possible.
Seeing customers comes with conditions, however. As the study states,
“Travelers want policy and procedural changes that give them
the flexibility and control to travel in the most safe and sustainable manner.”
Think about it. If you were told you had to visit a customer in a country requiring a two-week quarantine upon your arrival, perhaps you’d schedule a virtual meeting. Or if you weren’t sure if the political tensions had eased in the area you were planning to tour, you might want to postpone.
Maybe you only want to travel domestically. Maybe you want to rent a car instead of taking the train. It’s all about personal comfort, and that’s about personal choice. These choices go as deep as your approach to booking, too, because travelers want to be able to book trips on their terms – to ensure they’re able to control when, where, and how they’re traveling.
And, as competition for talent tightens, companies like yours are listening intently to travelers’ preferences and needs, because they simply cannot afford to alienate employees.
But with the right tools in place – tools that give travelers the flexibility they desire – you not only get happier, more confident, more productive employees, you get the information you need to manage trips, manage budgets, and support your travelers like never before. Because all of their booking and itinerary data gets sent directly into your system.
Simply put, you’re giving travelers what they need to feel safe in their jobs, and you’re gaining critical data in the bargain.
Putting the right solution in place – a lean, efficient solution that offers sophisticated travel controls without complexity – can turn your travel program into a simple, connected, digital process. And that’s exactly what the new normal of business travel demands.
For additional details regarding traveler concerns and requests, read the full report.