Survey shows business travellers will take to the skies in 2022
Bonnie Smith, FCM general manager, says: “The years 2020 and 2021 will go down in history as the most disruptive years in business travel to date. But the Covid-19 pandemic has also resulted in innovation, resilience and agility. Instead of letting the pandemic get us down, travel management companies like FCM have taken stock, recalibrated, relooked traveller requirements and come up with innovative solutions that prepare us for a new and better era in travel.”
Smith outlines the top takeaways with lessons and trends that will make for a more robust corporate travel sector in 2022 and beyond:
1. The revival of the travel policy
Although the freedom and appeal of ‘unmanaged travel’ was all the hype in 2019, the pandemic has given the travel policy a well-deserved boost in popularity.
“Prior to the pandemic, we saw a move towards unmanaged travel with travellers wanting to book non-traditional accommodation and low-cost flights on their own terms. Two years later, the uncertainty of the travel landscape has prompted a return to the ‘safety net’ of a corporate travel policy,” says Smith.
In 2022, all companies – no matter how big or small – should have a solid travel policy in place. Not only will a policy help companies keep a handle on costs, but clear guidelines can help travellers feel comfortable and confident to travel again and it will help companies ensure the best duty of care.
The travel policy will also prompt companies to discuss important issues such as definitions of ‘essential’ travel. What warrants a business trip today? And how many employees are allowed to travel together at any one time? This document can also highlight Covid-19 protocols and open the discussion on whether travellers will be required to be vaccinated.
According to the survey, the following elements are rated as very important and should be included in a 2022 travel policy:
- Duty of care: 73%
- Travel tracking: 46%
- Expense reporting: 39%
- Approval processes: 31%
- Trip length: 17%
2. Technology forges the way
Today’s technology is smooth, intuitive and very much in the background. “Customers and consumers don’t necessarily care about the tech, or how it works, just that it does. Seamlessly,” says Smith.
Although a knee-jerk reaction has been to abandon online booking in favour of offline booking, in 2022, we can expect to see an adoption of blended technology. The vast majority of business travellers now opt for online booking tools provided by a TMC. In a nutshell, this means that they still enjoy the freedom of online booking while at the same time getting the expertise and peace of mind that comes with booking through a professional.
Smith explains that as business travel recovers, more and more companies are embracing technology to help them get back on the road with confidence. This includes easy access to information; instant alerts and travel updates; always-on communication channels; and AI-enhanced booking platforms.
Technology has the potential to support duty of care in unprecedented ways. Today, there are tools available to keep an eye on risks and developments in the world of travel. They can send alerts, track where travellers are and send relevant live information – straight to your mobile device.
3. The traveller comes first – always
Traveller safety and well-being still trump all other concerns in a post-pandemic world. After months of lockdown and social distancing, travellers need to know their safety comes first before they hit the road.
Courtesy of Bizcommunity – read full article here.