Woman getting her temperature taken at a check point in airport.

TOP 6 THINGS FOR COMPANIES TO CONSIDER AS THEY PREPARE TO TRAVEL AGAIN

We all know that travel for business will happen again, and we also know it will definitely not be the “same” as before.

But it begs the question: “What should a company be considering so as to be successful in the “new normal” of corporate travel?

Over the past few months, AAA Corporate Travel has been diligently watching trends, planning outcomes and strategies, and sharing thoughts with partners and clients.

What has surfaced for us are 6 things companies should be considering as they prepare for business travel to shift into higher gear.

  1. Require pre-approval to travel (at least initially).
    This is for everyone’s safety and to fulfill duty of care requirements as well. Have eyes on who is traveling for your company through a pre-approval process. This also allows you to collect input and insight into the mindset and needs of your traveling employees.

  2. Use this time to check travel vouchers and refunds. Earlier this year, your Travel Management Company was tasked with processing thousands of cancelled trips due to the current crisis, which resulted in thousands of credit vouchers for unused tickets. Consult with your AAA Account Manager to execute an automatic application of applicable unused vouchers for additional cost avoidance. In 2020 alone, AAA Corporate Travel processed over $1M in refunds.

  3. Decide with your management team, who can travel and where they can go.
    Establish a hierarchy of travel locations and be aware of COVID-19 hotspots to lessen the risk of employees traveling into an area that has had a recent spike in illnesses. Also consider if you will mandate employees to quarantine after traveling out of state or to certain cities or countries that require quarantines when travelers arrive or return. For detailed information on travel restrictions in the US, access this map that was custom developed by AAA.

    As part of the pre-approval process mentioned above, consider temperature checks and a health screening questionnaire prior to travel being approved. A few questions to consider for the questionnaire includes:
    • Does the traveler have any known health risks?
    • Are they a caretaker or live with an immune-compromised person?
    • Have they recently been exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus?
    Also consider if travel is even necessary at this time or if meetings can continue to be handled via video conference or phone.

  4. Provide travelers with safety tips and expectations when they do travel.
    Put together a package of information or host a travel training class that covers how to safely travel. A few things to consider covering includes:
    • Access to PPE provided by your company
    • Major airlines and airport restrictions
    • Changes to airport carry-on allowances (i.e. 12 oz. of sanitizer can now be carried on board a flight)
    • Reinforce the basics like minimizing face touching, sanitizing hands, usage of anti-bacterial wipes, wearing a mask when around others, and maintaining safe distances from people.

  5. Revise your travel policy and consider mandating the use of your Travel Management Company.

    Because of duty of care requirements, we recommend mandating that traveling employees use your TMC for all accommodations to ensure you know where they are going and where they have been. As a company that puts the safety of their employees first, you want to make sure your employees can be located in the event of an emergency. Read this article for more information on risk management.

    Consider creating a COVID-19 clause in your policy that requires safety prevention such as the use of appropriate PPE. Also consider supplying travelers with a mask since most major airlines and some airports currently require masks to board a plane. A new report from SAP Concur found that among travelers polled, 97 percent expected new hygiene and safety behaviors to persist for the long term.

    Encourage traveling employees to review their current traveler profile information to ensure their contact information is up to date and correct in your online booking tool.

    The SAP Concur study also found that when it came to hygiene concerns, 29 percent of travelers want the shortest route to a destination when deciding on a flight. So also then consider the “how” of travel. Will you forgo lower airfares for more direct routes? Will you now provide access to extra perks like airport lounges and clubs? What about travelling via car instead?


  6. Reassess your preferred travel vendors for their protocols and safety practices. Maintaining your duty of care responsibilities means making sure the vendors you use for travel are also keeping up with safety protocols. We just reported on Delta Airlines and their increased safety measures here. But what about rideshare companies, trains, rental car companies and others?

We are all ready to get back to some normalcy in business and that includes traveling. In the process, it requires some new thought processes and policies. We’re here to help you update your policies and also suggest technologies that can tighten up transparency and locating travelers for your DOC requirements. Let us know how we can be of service to you. And if you’d like to read the entire SAP Concur study, go here.