When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 a global pandemic earlier this year, it put the whole world on hold. Lockdowns and quarantine measures quickly followed and businesses from various industries had to comply and adapt.
As travel industry starts to show hints of recovery, companies that cancelled their business meetings, trade shows, corporate travel, and long-planned conferences will have to learn to navigate through the “new normal”. While more firms are open to remote work setup and replacing face-to-face interactions with video conferencing, many stakeholders are still pushing through with essential business trips.
Here are some tips to keep in mind about travelling now to help you plan your journey more effectively:
1. Evaluate your business travel need
Before you proceed with any planning, it is good to take a step back and evaluate whether the trip is critical. Consider virtual setup to avoid unnecessary travel that unavoidably presents some risk. Additionally, gauge the overall sentiment towards the travel from your employees. Make sure everyone is comfortable with the idea before proceeding.
2. Keep up with the latest business travel policy
If your company has decided to go ahead with the business trip, it is important to note that not all countries in the world are equally affected by the virus. Many countries have successfully curbed the number of cases. Some have even recorded being clear of community transmission. The problem, however, is that the situation is highly variable and can change by the day.
With that in mind, before booking your ticket, make sure to check the travel restrictions set by the government of both your present location and destination; some locations will have quarantine and self-isolation policies you may need to adhere to.
It also pays to monitor news and information from trustworthy organisations like WHO and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so that you and your team can communicate timely updates. Always consider recommendations from authorities when you develop a business travel policy and restrictions.
3. Choose a safe mode of transport
There are plenty of questions surrounding the safety of air travel. Thankfully, most airlines around the world have stepped up their health and safety protocols to ensure travel after COVID is as safe as possible. Most planes are equipped with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters that cleans, recycles, and refreshes the air every 2 to 3 minutes. The cabins are also cleaned and disinfected between flights for a safer travel experience.
Tips to stay safe during your flight:
Always carry a hand sanitizer or alcohol (60% to 90%) and disinfecting wipes.
Sanitise surfaces on your seat like the armrest, tray table, etc.
When using the lavatory, make sure you close the lid when flushing.
4. Allow additional travel time
As many airlines and other modes of transport may lessen their service frequency, it would be best to allocate more time and flexibility for your travel dates. Additionally, head to the transport stations earlier where necessary to allow extra time for security or checking processes. You will also want to avoid mishaps by monitoring the airline or transport you plan to use of potential last-minute changes in schedule.
5. Get a travel insurance
Check with your insurance provider and read the fine print. Many travel insurance companies will not cover losses incurred after the end of January 2020 (when the outbreak started).
Make sure you and your company are protected against potential losses from a cancelled flight or trip, or consider an independent travel insurance for your best interest. There are insurance companies out there that offer special travel insurance for business travellers who experience cancellations or any changes more frequently than other consumers.
6. Maintain hygiene in the hotel
Upon checking in at your accommodation, you will want to wash your hands and disinfect common touchpoints and surfaces in your room for greater peace of mind, taking note of door handles, remote control, phones, switches, etc. If possible, request for new or freshly cleaned bedding, or if you are carrying your own, opt to replace with what the hotel has provided.
Given the current state of affairs, it is completely understandable to have many questionmarks pertaining business travel post-COVID19. However, it doesn’t have to be a tricky thing when you are well-prepared. When you do pick up your corporate travel activities, bear in mind the points in this article and you should be able to manage your trip better. We wish you safe travels wherever you go.