As the year comes to an end, travellers are faced with a difficult task when they attempt to budget and plan for business travel in 2021. Picture: Pexels.
As the year comes to an end, travellers are faced with a difficult task when they attempt to budget and plan for business travel in 2021. Picture: Pexels.

Should you book your 2021 business travel trip in advance?

By Travel Reporter Time of article published Nov 17, 2020

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“Challenging”, “uncertain”, “difficult”, “quiet”, “non-existent”.

These are the most common words used by travel procurement managers to describe the travel industry following the Covid-19 outbreak, according to a recent survey conducted by Corporate Traveller.

GM Corporate Traveller Oz Desai said that as the year comes to an end, travellers are faced with a difficult task when they attempt to budget and plan for business travel in 2021.

“The task is daunting not only because finances are tight, but also because nobody has any inkling regarding what the world is going to look six to 12 months from now,” he said.

Desai shares a few tips to keep in mind when planning their corporate travels for 2021:

Look back

Desai suggests that travellers find the middle ground between their travel spend in 2020 and your corporation’s ‘normal’ spend and use that as a good general estimation for 2021.

“You cannot possibly look to the future if you have little idea of what has occurred in the past. Review corporate travel spend over the course of the last two to three years, watching out for trends that could provide an indication of what to expect next year,” says Desai.

Find smart ways to save

Countless corporations will be hunting for opportunities to cut costs, and many will decide to reduce the funds that are usually reserved for backing business travel. Instead of reducing business travel, however, companies should rather use the services of a reliable travel marketing company (TMC) to keep travel-related expenses to a minimum.

“There are many ways TMCs can save businesses money. Firstly, they can assist in improving travel policies in light of current times. They can also negotiate rates and benefits with travel suppliers.TMCs know which fares and rate to book that will allow clients to cancel or alter bookings without incurring too many penalties along the way," he said.

Update your travel policy

“The travel landscape is constantly evolving, and the pace has only increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. To ensure your travellers’ safety, meet your business’ duty of care obligations and make your budget work harder, you need to make sure your travel programme keeps up. This could mean creating a temporary travel policy, updating your supplier agreements or implementing a travel risk management tool,” explains Desai.

Based on data from Corporate Traveller’s State of the Market Report, travel policy priorities are transforming. To get their policies Covid-ready, decision-makers need to be focusing on guidelines on Covid-conduct and what to do if travellers start to feel ill ahead of or during a trip and travel must be deemed essential and permissible before it can take place, information on changes and protocols at airports, accommodation check-in, and a list of suppliers taking Covid-related safety seriously.

Ask some difficult questions and make informed decisions

The implementation of a new travel programme presents the ideal opportunity to review the entire travel process: from travel policies and procedures to new technologies and even a new TMC. As your travel programme changes, it’s important to consider a provider that offers a proactive and innovative approach to your changing travel management needs.

Desai explains that in today’s ever-changing world, your business needs to move quickly. This includes switching over to and getting set up with, a new travel management company. In its latest pledge to customers, Corporate Traveller make sure all its clients are set up with our online booking tool and have access to a travel expert within 48 hours.

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