If You’re Managing Travel as You Did in 2019 Then You Need to Read This
Many organisations require business travel to engage in personal, face-to-face interactions that lay the groundwork for future or existing relationships with clients, partners, and other businesses. For years, business travel has been an important part of building a successful company. However, when the pandemic rocked the world, corporate travel was put on hold.
Not only was business travel suspended, but many businesses were financially affected. With limits and strict implementations, the whole world has rules and regulations in place to ensure the safety of travellers. The Covid-19 pandemic altered history. Many businesses didn’t even want their employees travelling.
In 2021, when the world slowly began to recover and some travel restrictions began to lift, the new era of business travel began. Today, COVID-19 is still present, and complete elimination doesn’t seem to be any nearer. However, many limitations and criteria imposed earlier in the crisis are being withdrawn, allowing business travel to rise again.
Corporate travellers can adjust to the new normal and fully embrace the future of business travel.
The Power of Change in Corporate Travel
The Covid-19 pandemic and the emergence of the hybrid workforce have altered the meaning of business travel for the future. According to Business Insider, the position of a corporate travel manager has changed in the last two years.
It seems like almost everything has changed in the past two years, and there are many things that business travellers and travel managers have to take into consideration for the future of travel. Given that so many global factors were disrupted, what is the most important change?
The pandemic compelled travellers to entirely change their mindsets and demands more quickly than at any other period in history. It shifted the playing field around travellers' behaviours and routines, forcing them to reconsider their mission and reassess what's important in their lives.
When it comes to travel, individuals are less concerned with how things used to be and more concerned with what they want from experiences now and in the future.
Business Travellers Demand Policy Changes
The days of restrictive hiring practices for office employees are long gone. The shift to remote work and travel is quickly becoming more common and even expected. Companies are having to adopt workplace practices to meet the needs of digital nomads and hybrid workers, putting them firmly on the people risk management agenda.
Most companies have improved their focus and confidence has risen that they can keep their employees and travellers safe and prepared.
Travellers, particularly business travellers, are demanding better travel rules that will give them more certainty that they will be safe while travelling for their company. Travellers want better travel policies in terms of protocols to account for COVID-19, risk assessment and management, travel insurance, and other elements that give them peace of mind.
The Demand for Sustainable Travel
The world has begun to recognise environmental impacts, including harmful emissions from air travel, the social harm caused by over-tourism, and environmental degradation that can be caused by the expansion of tourist infrastructure.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down tourism, there was a record of 1.4 billion foreign visitor arrivals across the world. According to Statista, business travellers from the United Kingdom took around 8.98 million business travels abroad in 2019. The majority of international business visits took place in Europe, mainly in European Union countries.
The impact of all these travels was felt in a variety of ways in various locations around the globe. Today's travellers, particularly business travellers, seek to travel sustainably.
The Demand for Secure Corporate Travel
Today's travellers have health and safety concerns that they never considered previously. Many individuals take strong measures to ensure they travel safely. It has become a critical factor that determines how they make travel selections and what they think about their travel experiences.
Travellers want new, contactless interactions with travel firms and are prepared to pay more to companies that deliver these experiences. Pandemic fatigue has made the well-known bleisure travel more relevant than ever as individuals resume travel.
Demands on Digital Solutions
Travellers today are more digital than ever before. Advanced insights into travellers’ behaviour and the intelligent use of data are built on the foundation of digital solutions. Today’s travellers demand available digital if and when they require support.
According to Accenture, 61% of travellers prefer to contact a customer service representative digitally, on a website or live chat, for their travel needs. Only 31% want to call the customer service centre.
Demands for Improved Travel Management
Travellers expect better corporate travel management that keeps up with the new era of business travel. Travellers expect corporate travel management to focus on improving their safety, efficiency, time management, and overall business travel experience while helping them achieve their business travel goals with ease and convenience.
Travellers increasingly demand more transparent, flexible, digital, and simple travel management for the benefit of both the traveller and the company for which they are travelling.
The Ultimate Guide to the New Age of Business Travel
The Covid-19 pandemic has altered many aspects of life, which include corporate travel. There have been numerous disruptions, causing traveller demands to dramatically shift.
If you're a corporate travel manager or in the finance department that manages corporate travels, it is increasingly necessary to eliminate old corporate travel management practices that were common in 2019, and instead adapt this guide to meet the needs and demands of your travellers.
This is a guide to the future of business travel to ensure your travellers have a better travel experience and benefit your organisation overall.
Ultimate Guide to Corporate Travel Policy Changes
A company travel policy is intended to lay out a company's travel arrangement methods, processes, and rules, including how employees should approve, book, and expense travel, which travel expenses are covered by the company, how the reimbursement process is handled, and more. As a result, your travel policy will influence your travellers’ experiences.
With so many changes happening around the world and the increasing demands of travellers, your company's travel policies will probably need to be updated and have specific changes to cover and fulfil the needs and demands of your employees. This will assist you in adapting to the new normal of travel, as well as provide a better travel experience for your travellers and benefit your organisation as a whole.
Improve Risk Assessment and Management
Improved risk assessment and management is one of the primary demands of travellers to be in a travel policy. As employers, enterprises, and organisations, you have a legal responsibility to ensure that your employees are healthy, safe, and secure while on the job, particularly while on a business trip.
Because travel risk levels are always changing, travel risk assessments should be done before each trip to address all potential dangers that employees might face while travelling.
A travel risk assessment should contain the following:
- Employee's health: Confirm whether the employee faces any medical hazards or needs medical attention during the trip.
- Traveller’s profile: Include gender, religion, ethnicity, and other traits that may potentially put them at risk in the country of destination.
- The employee's travel patterns: Include their trip itinerary and how this may affect them. Confirm if it is safe, convenient, and doable for them.
- Solutions for unforeseen events: Include all the steps that your traveller can make in the case of problems such as lost baggage, accidents, and cancelled flights, hotels, or transportation.
- High-risk factors in the destination: Include illness and disease, catastrophes, political issues, terrorism, war, and crime rates.
When travellers read a strong and reliable risk assessment on their travel policy, they will feel more safe and secure about travelling and will be confident enough to achieve business travel goals.
Upgrade Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will become a new permanent fixture in the discourse about travel-related expenses, as well as a significant boost to travellers' confidence. Travellers feel more assured and protected if you make a simple change to your travel policy, such as emphasizing and upgrading their business travel insurance.
Depending on the insurance plan, Business travel insurance covers unexpected travel-related expenses such as:
- Emergency medical care
- Emergency medical evacuation
- Interrupted travel
- Terrorist activity
- Lost or stolen baggage
- Delayed trip
- Missed connection
- Accidental death
Improve Accommodation Policy Guidelines
Incorporate your company's lodging policy and accommodation fees into your business travel policy. Every company's corporate lodging policy has its own set of restrictions for accommodations, so it's necessary to spell them out.
As a financial officer, you can always choose the cheapest accommodation to save money. However, traveller preferences have changed, and many people now want a pleasant, high-quality hotel. Numerous affordable hotels can be ideal for business travel.
In your travel policy, you can emphasize that the hotels available are environmentally friendly, affordable, and provide excellent service, accommodations, safety precautions, and more.
Additionally, be specific about what amenities are eligible for reimbursement. These can include things like room service, cleaning service, gym, swimming pool, and more. This will give transparency to the travellers and set their proper expectations.
Flexible Travel and Entertainment Policy Guidelines
Although corporate travel is mostly for professional purposes, it is still a good idea to allow your employees to enjoy and improve their travel experience. While your travel policy will include entertainment guidelines, give your travellers additional leeway so they can completely enjoy their travel experience while still meeting their corporate travel objectives.
Here are some changes and enhancements you can make to your travel and entertainment policies:
- Increased meal expense spending limitations.
- More liberty in terms of what is permitted when employees entertain clients.
- Clear instructions on when alcohol can and cannot be expensed, and the maximum amount each person can spend on alcohol.
- Clear instructions on how to process reimbursements, including documentation, original receipts, and other evidence.
Standard corporate travel is still effective and can be implemented, but with these easy changes in your travel policy, you can vastly improve your travellers' experiences. Your company will experience a boost in productivity and loyalty, increasing your bottom line.
A Guide to Making Business Travel Programs More Sustainable
As many organisations and individuals partner to protect Mother Earth and slow the effects of global warming, sustainability has become a vital aspect of business planning and corporate governance procedures. Especially in today's times where more people push for sustainability solutions in nearly everything, there are great prospects for travel program managers to contribute to your organisation's sustainability goals.
Now is the best time to review and refine your travel policy to meet the needs of a more sustainable future while continuing to support business continuity and growth. Here’s how you can keep travellers safe, secure, and happy while staying within your operational budget and supporting your company's sustainability goals.
Approve Direct Flights
Flights with layovers are often cheaper and more financially cost-effective, but they come at a greater environmental cost. Direct flights are better for the environment since they are shorter and consume fewer resources because they have fewer takeoffs and landings.
Aside from the environmental advantages, nonstop flights are less likely to cause fatigue to your traveller. They won’t have to worry about changing planes, racing around the airport, or trying to catch a different flight. Shorter flights ensure your traveller remains refreshed and ready to go as soon as they land.
While not every route can be direct, it's important to determine which destinations, based on volume, cost, and regularity, are the greatest prospects for direct flights. In collaboration with your travel management partner, negotiate the best corporate deals on these services for maximum environmental, employee, and financial benefit.
Choose Economical Flights
Travelling economy rather than business class reduces emissions since economy accommodates the most passengers on a plane, and the more people on the plane, the lower the overall emissions.
Booking economy flights for a large number of travellers that are flying to one area, especially for a group of representatives to attend huge meetings like conferences, will not only minimize their carbon footprint but also the company's. Moreover, an economy flight is less expensive and many airlines offer great economy flights.
Book Eco-Friendly Hotels
Consider green hotels in your travel plans. Sustainable hotels use environmental best practices in maintenance, services, operations, commodities, and supplies to dramatically reduce their environmental effect. The main components are waste reduction, energy conservation, and water conservation.
More hotels are embracing green practices and developing sustainability through innovative approaches such as:
- Automated energy control
- Paperless communication methods
- Clean-tech food management systems
- Green roof technology
- Smart water-saving systems
- Water collection systems
- Reusable towels and linens
- Local food from farmers and producers
You can book green hotels for your travellers that have these types of features for sustainability and eco-friendliness. This will help your organisation to contribute to the environment without compromising the quality of the traveller's experience, while also supporting eco-friendly initiatives.
Choose Eco-Friendly Solutions for Land Travels
Land transportation has a significant environmental impact, so it’s critical to plan ahead for booking your travellers’ land transportation.
Your organisation can reduce its carbon footprint by booking an electric vehicle for your travellers. Include electric automobiles in your company's travel policy so that your employees may help the environment both globally and locally.
Consider using car-sharing options and carpools to reduce carbon emissions. You can also encourage your travellers to take advantage of multi-person public transit, such as the tube and bus, which save resources, improve fuel efficiency, and reduce traffic congestion.
If your traveller's meeting is only a short distance from the hotel, you can also encourage them to walk or rent a bicycle. This has a significant environmental impact while also enhancing physical wellness during business travel.
Encourage Travellers to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
As part of your travel program, encourage travellers to reduce their use of paper and plastic, and recycle as much as possible.
Educate travellers about avoiding single-use plastics by carrying a reusable water bottle or bringing their own tumbler, if the water in their target country is safe for their consumption. Refilling their water bottle at the office or on a business trip is one small way to reduce plastic waste.
Encourage travellers to bring their own toiletry items instead of utilising the hotel or airline's single-use, disposable products. Advise them to use business-approved electronic and mobile services instead of printing their itineraries, business materials, and other documents.
As part of your travel program, you can also encourage travellers to seek out locally-owned dining establishments that use locally-sourced ingredients. According to research conducted by the Waste and Resources Action Programme, the food industry in the UK alone discards 1.3 million tonnes of packaging and 0.66 million tonnes of other non-food wastes per year, with over half of these wastes not being recycled.
Encouraging your travelling reps to have their meals at cafés or restaurants rather than taking them to go or having them delivered. It will help reduce the amount of plastic, napkins, cups, and other disposable materials and packaging associated with to-go orders.
Offset Carbon Emissions
Participate and donate in carbon reduction initiatives, programs, and a genuine organisation to make up for your company's emissions. It is used to compensate for these emissions by funding emission reductions in other parts of the world.
Here are some of the best carbon offset programs to look into:
Track Your Progress and Footprint
Measuring travel footprints and progress is an important part of your company's travel program. Calculating each employee's carbon footprint using real-time data about their travel habits can also be beneficial. This will allow you to see its full impact and determine the steps necessary to even reduce it more.
By encouraging travellers to adopt environmentally responsible decisions and track their individual carbon footprints, you may not only improve travel efficiency but also reduce your company's total environmental effect. It is always possible for companies to have a beneficial environmental impact and work to be more sustainable.
A Guide for Safe Corporate Travel
While corporate travel is picking up steam with its new normal, Covid-19 is still present, and so are the many risks of travel. Many corporate travellers are willing to travel for their company, but they want assurance that their travel will be safe and secure.
According to the Global Business Travel Association, 90% of business travellers believe safety and security concerns influence their personal activities while travelling. 81% say that safety worries have reduced their business travel frequency. Lastly, 80% of corporate travellers said safety concerns have hampered their productivity.
With how impactful safety and security concerns are, make sure your travel policy covers, highlights, and ensures the security of your travellers.
This guide will show you how to promote and emphasize secure corporate travel for your employees.
Highlight Common Safety Risks for Travellers
Corporate travellers are now more vulnerable than ever. The number of security and safety alerts issued by International SOS has climbed by 80% since the beginning of 2019. Every month, 400 high-security alerts are issued around the world. On top of the Covid-19 virus, these security and safety alerts can be caused by many factors that differ in every country.
Here are the common security and safety risks to consider if you have a corporate traveller that frequently travels to different regions of the world:
- Covid-19 cases
- Illness and disease outbreaks
- Political instability
- Sanitation and health
- Accommodation security
- High crime rates
Most travellers are aware of these common high security and safety risks and request assurance and security from their company.
Highlighting your corporate travel safety plan for these types of risks can provide travellers with the information they need and offer peace of mind. They can travel knowing that they’re in great hands.
Create a Company-Wide Travel Security and Safety Policy
Employee health and safety should be one of your top priorities. It is one of the best methods to satisfy your duty of ensuring care, safety, and security to employees when they're travelling.
As with any policy, assigning specific duties to ensure accountability is best. Create a standard process that all of your employees can follow in the event of an emergency and create a policy specifically for travellers.
The following are important items to include in your security and safety policy:
- Pre-trip preparation
- Safety items
- Required travel documents
- Covid-19 protection
- Local customs
- Medical support or healthcare
- Emergency contacts, including local authorities
- Ground transportation safety
- Emergency response plan and methods
Monitor Potential Threats for Every Business Travel
Before corporate travel, carefully monitor your employees' travel location to be aware of any active or prospective risks in the area. Travel safety maps are one effective approach to visualize the hazards in various regions, and a threat intelligence system with a threat history can give you an indication of recent incidents in a certain area.
It's a good idea to keep an eye on an area even after your employees safely return from a business trip. You can become aware of any typical incidents or common patterns for the country or area. If your employees regularly travel to the area to visit a store branch, office, partner, or client, make sure to keep a close eye on it, as situations can change at a moment’s notice.
With this initiative, your travellers will feel much more confident and secure, knowing that their organisation is going above and beyond to ensure the safety and security of all employees and travellers.
Maintain Open Communication With the Traveller at All Times
Have a dedicated team or point of contact for travellers to update and communicate with while travelling. This is an excellent idea for assuring travellers that they have someone to call if they have any worries or problems.
Constant communication will assist both your traveller and your company in ensuring everyone's safety. It's also useful for getting updates on the progress of their corporate travel and getting reports on their objectives.
Provide Safety and Security Training for Travelling Employees
Employees can benefit from safety training by gaining situational knowledge and learning how to respond to a variety of risks, including natural disasters, political instability, terrorism, and more. Because it is generally easier to avoid a harmful situation than to resolve it, training should emphasize prevention.
Providing training to your team and providing fundamental safety and security travel guidance can provide them with knowledge about how to respond to common risks and keep them as safe as possible while on a business trip.
In a life-threatening circumstance, the correct education and training can save a traveller's life. Travellers who are unfamiliar with the culture, rules, or laws of the country they are travelling to might quickly find themselves in difficult situations. Give them practical training and educational courses on these dangers, and they'll have a greater chance of avoiding them.
A Guide to Digital Corporate Travel Solutions
Technology has the potential to improve safety while also streamlining the travel experience. It's just one of the many reasons you should consider your own digital transformation journey to improve corporate travel.
Nothing will completely replace travel managers. However, technological advances provide managers with tools that enable them to reduce risk and stress for business travellers. Digital solutions result in more rapid and efficient solutions, freeing up time for strategic and analytical decisions.
Digital solutions provide travellers with a contactless experience, which is critical as the pandemic continues.
Self-service check-in at airports, for example, is a digital solution that is shown to save time and hassle for travellers, especially those on a tight schedule.
To help people navigate the post-COVID environment, digital solutions such as contactless technology have now become the standard in business travel, from airports to hotels.
Smart locks are another digital solution that many travellers appreciate because they are an excellent example of enabling a self-service, contactless experience. They feature software that allows for keyless entrance by smartphone, as well as guest identification, payment, and room unlocking.
Reducing contact is not only safer for travellers but it is also more convenient for both the travellers and the business that implements it.
Digital Payment Options
While the majority of corporate travellers' expenses are covered by their employer, there are things they have to pay for on their own, like food, transportation, etc.
Corporate travellers today often prefer digital payment options. There are benefits to digital payment methods, even for things such as paying for a cab, buying train tickets, or travelling to and from the office.
Many travellers believe that digital payment methods are safer than using cash or swiping a card. Malware prevention is also built into digital solutions, ensuring payment security. Instead of providing cash as pocket money, you can send money to your travellers through a digital bank account or wallet for them to use digital payment options.
Furthermore, the advancement of digital payments can supply your company with real-time, accurate data and reporting on travellers' spending habits and histories. This will save your traveller the trouble of collecting receipts and proof of spending and will allow the accounting team and finance department to correctly track spending on every corporate travel.
Digital Booking and Management
While travel managers are often the ones who book and manage flights for travellers, unforeseen events such as flight cancellations, hotel reservation cancellations, and much more can occur.
In these situations, corporate travellers want to have the ability to make changes and revisions to their itinerary rather than having to rely on their manager. The best solution is to offer the technology that allows them to update their flights, hotel reservations, and ground transportation through their phone or laptop.
Having the power to solve their problems in real-time without waiting for communication delays will empower your travellers and help them feel more confident and prepared for their travels.
These digital platforms make booking business travel more seamless, time-efficient, and productive. Providing travellers with a digital platform to view, track, and manage all of their business travels in real-time via their phone will reduce the need to email travel managers, wait for a response, wait for confirmation, and do other time-consuming tasks.
Instead, travellers will have complete control over the booking process and be more productive with their time.
Guide to Improve Corporate Travel Management
With the shifting future of business travel, travel management is experiencing a massive transformation, moving away from micro-managing and leading toward transparency, simplicity, and innovation.
Here are some ground-breaking guidelines on how to improve travel management and stay on top of the future of business travels:
Use a Smart Booking Platform
Smart booking is the most significant development in the future of business travel. Travellers can use smart booking technologies to book hotels, flights, ground transportation, and more using an internet-based system.
It features built-in company travel regulations in addition to giving a straightforward and hassle-free approach to organising travel. This will allow travel managers to provide visibility over employee spending, the duty of care, and compliance for the company.
Importantly, smart booking features will allow your travellers to make modifications to their itinerary in the event of unforeseen circumstances, such as a cancelled flight or hotel booking. Rather than waiting for the travel agency or manager to update or make changes, the traveller will save time by making changes themselves, and management will be able to track the changes.
Leverage Platform to Improve Data Transparency
Real-time travel and spending data aggregated in one platform will allow you to see who is booking business travel the most and how cost-effective their decisions are by the individual, team, and department. It can also identify irregularities in expense claims, whether due to user error or intentional fraud.
A travel management platform that gives you more data transparency will help you see non-compliant behaviour and allows you to dig deeper into the data to see if it's happening elsewhere. It can help you better understand the reasons for non-compliance and improve the alternatives and processes to provide a better user experience.
Seamless Calculating of Travel Cost with Data Transparency
Pre-paid transportation and lodging costs alone don't provide the whole picture of travel costs. To show the whole business travel cost, you must include spending on food, local transportation, and miscellaneous items from other receipts and documentation.
It can be difficult to calculate expenses using receipts. Travellers are frequently unable to offer accurate and exact proof of spending. Manually calculating expenses allows you to physically confirm costs but can cause delays when waiting for travellers to produce the necessary documentation.
With a platform that records expenses and offers better access to data, all of the required information will be stored in one single repository with an integrated corporate travel booking and expense system, making it simple to compute the overall cost of travel.
Checkout Locomote, a Cutting-Edge Corporate Travel Management Platform
Locomote is the gold standard and future of business travel. Locomote is a top-of-the-line corporate travel management system that includes all of the processes and solutions required for successful corporate travel management in the future of business travel.
Every travel management program can utilize Locomote to satisfy their travellers’ needs, as well as the needs of their travel manager, finance team, and other significant departments.
Locomote's platform involves integrating their technology with your systems, such as HR and finance integrations, and ensuring secure data transmission. This will allow you to easily get real-time visibility and updates on employee travel. It gives finance teams and travel managers total visibility over business travel spending and budgets, as well as flight modifications, unused tickets, and other data, all in one easy-to-use dashboard.
Because all operations on Locomote’s platform are transparent, you won’t have to manually track costs and calculate totals. You have access to everything you need to develop, manage, and track high-performing travel programs, including invoices, bookings, and receipts, right at your fingertips.
Provide Up-to-Date Travel Alerts
Locomote’s platform goes beyond simply calculating expenses. It's integrated into all travel searches and provides you with vital information like current travel alerts and limitations, COVID-19 transmission levels, local guidelines, and more.
- International and domestic health and safety alerts
- Accessible COVID-19 safety information
- Notifications about passport expiration and visa requirements
With these travel management platform capabilities, your travel manager won’t have to perform time-consuming research and preparation and will be able to dedicate more time to ensuring the safety and security of your travellers and providing them with a flawless corporate travel experience.
Helps With Company-Wide Reports
Locomote assists HR departments with corporate travel management process reports and data. With one simple dashboard, you can quickly identify any system flaws and make necessary changes to boost overall business efficiency and corporate travel.
Locomote’s technology simplifies and expedites the entire process for everyone involved. It can manage all of your travel, hotel, and vehicle bookings. You'll always know where your employees are, and you'll get information on your company's spending trends, which will help you save money on travel.
24/7 Global Support
With Locomote as your travel management platform, you and your travellers will have access to a dedicated team of travel experts who are always accessible to answer any inquiries or address any travel issues.
Your travellers are all covered, no matter where they are travelling across the globe. Locomote can support your travellers wherever they are if there are issues such as airline delays, re-bookings, cancellations, and more.
One of the most important demands for today's travellers is dependable customer service. Travellers will feel safe and secure when travelling since they know they can rely on a dependable team.