Now that COVID-19 vaccinations are being distributed worldwide, outbreaks of the deadly virus are on the decline. While the pandemic isn’t officially over, business-related travel is most definitely picking up.
While most business travel was halted in 2020 and some of 2021, many businesspersons relied on Zoom calls for face-to-face meetings with company executives all over the globe. While this proved a convenient and cost-effective method of doing business, in the final analysis, nothing replaces real human contact and interaction.
So what does this mean? It means business travelers are taking to the skies again. Big time. A new report states that there’s no doubt, COVID has initiated big changes to the travel industry for both tourists and businesspeople. As the lockdowns are eased worldwide, businesses are able to manage travel for their employers more easily. They are also making their employees feel both safe and comfortable while on the road.
Even airport valet parking is getting in on the act. Says the professionals at Valet Connections, a company that specializes in DTW airport parking, convenient and easy parking services have always been essential for both short-term and long-term business travel flights. In the post-COVID era, fully insured drivers, CCTV security cameras, plus clean and sterilized transport not only guarantees a safe airport parking experience, but it also means you will be safe too as you are transported to and from your terminal. The service also includes the interior and exterior cleaning/detailing of your car, making it more safe environment upon your return.
That said, there’s no doubt businesses the world over will be expected to adapt to the many safety-related changes brought about by COVID. But how exactly do they prepare for the post-COVID era where the virus still exists but is no longer considered a full blown pandemic? Here are a few ideas that can help.
Listen to Employees
How quickly your business gets back into the game of business air travel is really up to you and your employees. Talk directly with them. If no one feels confident about traveling the friendly skies as of yet, then don’t purchase any airline tickets for the time being.
You should also look into government recommendations. If you’re working with companies that are located in areas that are still very restricted, concentrate more on the countries where restrictions have been lifted. You shouldn’t pull out the company credit card and dive head-on into business travel in the post pandemic era, but instead take it slow, and be sure that the trips you plan on taking are worth the cost of travel.
Pay careful attention to your staff. Everyone should be in agreement in how to proceed with travel going forward. Perhaps discuss new traveling procedures and safety protocols before buying those plane tickets.
Travel Policy Updates
Your pre-COVID business travel policy is going to look a lot different than a new, revised and updated travel policy. Naturally, you will be encountering different and time-consuming, if not anxiety provoking scenarios like getting COVID tested within 72 hours of travel, then getting tested once more when you arrive at your terminal, and then getting tested a third time when it’s wheels down at your destination. You will require testing yet again, upon leaving the country. The fact that you have been fully vaccinated does not come into play! It’s the testing that counts.
You should also make a new determination as to what will qualify as essential travel and what does not.
Travel Management Updates
New policies will naturally mean that management teams must update their travel management system. This includes new technologies and apps for your smartphone. The countries you enter will want you to use your smartphone to fill out forms that must be sent on to the proper authorities prior to leaving the airport. Your test results will also be texted to you via your smartphone.
If you get a positive test result, you could either be turned away at the airport or be subject to a 10-14 day quarantine. These are all semi-complicated processes that will further encourage travel management teams to determine what kind of international travel is essential and what’s not.
Health, Safety, and Well-Being
New health and safety checks must be established prior to engaging in international business travel. If you have employees who are still at risk, they should be grounded until their situation improves.
Those employees deemed eligible to travel will need to undergo health checks prior to leaving for an international destination, and upon their return. This not only guarantees the business traveler’s safety, health, and well-being, but that of the entire office.