Business Travel News 5/20/2020
More than half (54 per cent) of companies are considering resuming all business travel in the near future, though they do not currently have definitive plans for restarting trips, according to the latest coronavirus survey by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), which took place between 13-15 May.
Of those with plans in place to get employees back on the road soon, one in four want to resume travel to the US (28 per cent) and Canada (24 per cent). Meanwhile, four in ten are considering restarting trips to the US (44 per cent), Europe (43 per cent) and Canada (41 per cent) but do not have definitive plans for when this will happen.
GBTA said its members appear to be taking a strategic approach to the resumption of domestic business travel, with 35 per cent of those in the US saying they will return to some states or regions but will continue to limit trips to other areas. Four in ten (43 per cent) said they will wait until they feel comfortable resuming domestic travel anywhere in the US. Thirty-six per cent of those outside the US said the same, while half said their company will wait until they feel comfortable resuming business domestic travel.
While 62 per cent of those polled believe most or some employees will be willing to travel after restrictions are lifted, the survey reveals travel managers will be looking to their suppliers to reassure travelers. Nearly half (48 per cent) said they feel they have enough information about suppliers’ cleaning and sanitation practices, while 36 per cent would like more. However, only 32 per cent of companies based in Europe said they feel they have received enough information about suppliers’ protocols.
When it comes to hotels, 80 per cent of companies will expect increased cleaning standards to exceed current protocols, while 55 per cent want staff to be required to wear facemasks and 53 per cent would like hotel staff to receive additional training about Covid-19 sanitary practices and incident reporting. Forty-four per cent would like to receive increased communication about hotels’ sanitization procedures, 43 per cent would prefer guests to be required to wear face coverings in common areas and 43 per cent want properties to enforce social distancing guidelines.
They will also expect ground transportation providers to increase cleaning protocols (70 per cent), provide hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to passengers (68 per cent), require drivers to wear masks and gloves (58 per cent), install a partition to separate the passenger from the driver (52 per cent) and train drivers about sanitary practices (43 per cent).
For airlines, travel managers will be looking for increased cleaning standards to ensure every traveler touchpoint is sanitized before each flight (76 per cent), requiring passengers to wear face masks (60 per cent), requiring employees to wear facemasks and gloves (52 per cent) and for carriers to provide all passengers with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes (47 per cent).
Controversially, 59 per cent of respondents said they want airlines to leave middle seats empty on flights – something IATA claims is not financially viable or effective.
GBTA chief executive Scott Solombrino commented: “People aren’t going to travel until they feel safe. Our member companies want to see several health and safety steps taken at every stage of the travel process – from ground transportation to airlines to hotels. As restrictions across the globe begin to lift, small green shoots of optimism are sprouting in the industry… That is a positive, albeit small, sign that we are finally headed in the right direction.”
Air passengers will now scan their own boarding passes, separate their carry-on food items for screening, and remove their own prohibited items.
The guidelines feature principles such as physical distancing, use of facemasks, and encouraging passengers to practice “scrupulous” hygiene.