Business travellers saw many changes during the pandemic, some that will remain years in a post-Covid-19 world.
GM of Corporate Traveller Oz Desai shares 4 business travel changes likely to last post-pandemic. These include:
Heightened safety protocols
It is unlikely that anybody will ever travel the same way again, at least from a health and safety perspective. "Passengers will likely continue to opt to wear face masks long into the future, even once it’s no longer mandatory," said Desai.
“Airlines will continue to prioritise biosafety. As such, stringent disinfection procedures are sure to remain when preparing an aircraft for departure and shortly after arrival.
“There will almost certainly be access to hand sanitiser on board at all high-touch points for the foreseeable future," he added.
Touchless technology – often referred to as “contactless” or “contact-free” technology – is playing a significant role in helping to restore traveller confidence.
“He said the technology includes biometric boarding, contactless check-in, contactless lifts and digital check-in at hotels.
"The focus is to reduce a traveller’s risk of physically coming into contact with pathogens, and many of these technologies also strive to automate the passenger journey as much as possible.
"Along with optimising safety, these technologies maximise convenience, too. Companies are encouraged to join forces with a travel management company if they are uncertain of how to fully embrace these available, ever-advancing technologies for the benefit of their employees," he advised.
Flexible booking solutions
The pandemic has given rise to flexible booking options that cater to Covid-19 cancellations and give people the option to change plans if need be.
"The majority of travel suppliers have adopted more flexible booking policies and solutions.
“It is now easier to make a booking and to postpone or cancel that booking should a Covid-related event or problem get in the way ahead of an employee’s departure.
"As Covid-19 is likely to hang around for the next few years, these flexible booking policies and solutions will likely remain in place for a long time to come in an effort to boost company and corporate traveller confidence," he said.
Improved loyalty programmes
Desai said airlines and hotels have turned to their loyalty programmes with the goal of enticing a return to regular corporate travel, which fills empty seats and rooms faster for the duration of the travel industry revival.
"It is likely that these travel suppliers will continue putting more effort into value-adds for business travellers for a lengthy period of time, offering bonuses such as double qualifying miles, middle-seat blocking for optimised social distancing, and shortcuts to qualify for ‘elite’ status," added Desai.