In what feels like an overnight change, the world has been transformed from a hectic pace, wondering how we will fit everything in to the day to a dramatic dual existence where Key Workers are working every hour and most other people are either furloughed or working from home. 
 
What will the world be like when things get back to the new 'normal'? 
 
How will this impact Business Travel? 
 
What will your Travel Policy need to consider? 
 
How will you fulfill your Duty of Care? 
 
Read more here... 
What will be the new normal? 
 
Whether the exponential growth in online meetings has signalled the end of travelling to meet prospects and customers face to face, or indeed travelling to the office, or not remains to be seen. Initially, whilst the world is getting to grips with getting back to work, it is probable that many meetings will continue online and travel will be restricted to 'absolutely necessary' only, which is very difficult to define. 
 
As most business in the world is still done on a relationship basis, we are likely to see a return, if not fully, towards previous levels of travel for meetings over an indefinite period of time. As with most things, the pace will be determined by first movers. As soon as a company with an 'online only' meeting policy loses a contract because their competitors' made the effort to travel and meet in person, then the definition of 'absolutely necessary' will start to take a more normal definition. 
 
What will be the impact on Business Travel? 
Undoubtedly, there is going to a short-term reduction in travel, forecast to be up to 90% in the short-term. Business travellers are likely to find an even steeper time/ price relationship (flights get more expensive the nearer to departure date they are booked), so forward planning is going to be even more important. 
 
Business Travel is more than just individual meetings, so once Conferences, Exhibitions and other Events recommence then this is likely to push up demand considerably, as these are events that many companies use to meet clients, prospects and suppliers and are unlikely to want to miss these. 
 
What will your Travel policy need to cover? 
Historically, travel policies were driven by finance to primarily control, or reduce, expenditure and it was very much 'after the event' in terms of checking and authorising. This has developed over recent years with the increasing Corporate & Social Responsibility requirements and increasingly, employers are motivated to ensure they fulfil their Duty of Care. 
 
A modern Travel Policy will do more than define Air ticket Class and Hotel room rate, defining acceptable behaviour and minimum standards of accommodation, rest periods and Covid19 will now need to be considered for any travel, whether it be domestic or international. When and how travel is authorised will need to be a key decision, so that risk can be assessed proactively. 
 
Probably never considered previously, will your travellers need to carry PPE when travelling on business going forward, whether in the car with colleagues, customers, or sitting on a plane. There's a lot to be considered. 
 
How will you ensure you meet your Duty of Care? 
Many organisations will be looking at their markets, forecasts, business structures, operations, etc. working out what the world looks like for them after the first wave of the Covid19 pandemic. Predictions suggest a huge drop in short-term GDP, with some recovery in 2021. It is likely that many organisations, especially SMEs, will have to reduce headcount in order to survive once the Government support schemes have ended. 
 
A question to ask yourself is not only will you have the appropriate Travel Policy, how will you administer it, ensure compliance and provide 24/7 support to protect your company from the human impact of Covid19 and the PR and Legal implications that follow? 
 
At Beverley Travel, we can provide you with complete Travel Management services, helping develop your Travel Policy and ensure you meet your Duty of Care and your Financial targets. 
 
Karl Douglas can be contacted on karl@beverleytravel.co.uk, or on 01482 33 44 50 
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