By Taylor Randolph
At the moment, non-essential travel is heavily discouraged to prevent transmission of the Coronavirus. This means that business travel during the Coronavirus pandemic should be avoided because there are risks of contracting the disease, becoming trapped in a country that goes on lockdown, or being placed in quarantine for two weeks upon return.
Fortunately, this pandemic will eventually end and business travel will be able to resume. Although the way we travel after the coronavirus will undoubtedly change. Company travel policies are bound to change, as well, in order to adjust to this new way of life. It’s important to note these changes ahead of time so that we can be prepared for the day when the coronavirus is behind us.
1. Travel Insurance Will Become Commonplace
In 2018, an AAA Travel survey showed that 4 in 10 Americans (38%) opted for travel insurance. More than half of Americans decided to forego travel insurance because they did not expect anything to disrupt their travel plans.
The number of Americans purchasing travel insurance will skyrocket after the coronavirus. Business policy will likely reflect this trend as they provide travel insurance for their employees. Most travel insurances previously have not covered pandemics; however, this will probably change as consumer’s demands will require it. Cancellation policies provided by flights, hotels, car rentals, etc., will also need to provide more flexibility in the event of another crisis.
2. Hygiene and Air Quality of Airlines Will Be Essential Factors
Price, convenience, and loyalty memberships have been the main factors in choosing an airline for business travel. After the coronavirus, companies will be more concerned about the sanitation policies of their airline partner. Hygiene and air quality will become the top features that airlines advertise. If business execs feel their current airline partner is not properly cleaning the planes or providing high quality air filtration, then they could decide to select another airline.
3. Driving Will Be Encouraged
Businesses will want to discourage the use of public transportation and taxis to lower the risk of infection for their employees when they travel abroad. Driving and parking at the airport will be the approved method of arrival at the airport. Car rentals at the destination for all business travelers will be encouraged as this cuts down on contact with others thereby lowering the risk of contracting the disease and bringing it back to the office.
4. Consumers Will Avoid Bargain Brands
The collapse of Flybe left many travelers stranded without an alternate way to return home. The coronavirus could bankrupt several other airlines, cruises, hotels, and travel-related companies.
Going forward, consumers will be wary of choosing a bargain brand just for the sake of a cheaper price. These bargain brands are more at risk of going bankrupt during a crisis and the cheaper prices may be more indicative of a going-out-of-business sale. Consumers will want the security of booking with a more well-known and established brand in case there is another outbreak. Business travelers should consider the same risks and avoid booking with bargain brands. Small businesses in the travel sector might struggle with this new trend.
5. More Technology and Less Travel
Business travel may not recover fully for many years until the risk of coronavirus is fully mitigated. Business travel will still be important, but it will be judged with the lens of “essential vs. nonessential.” We are getting used to working from home and conducting meetings online. Companies may choose to invest more in telecommunication technologies in order to expand their capacity for conducting meetings and trainings online instead of investing in travel.
6. Customs Lines at Airports Will Be Longer
Business travelers should be aware that lines for airport customs are going to be much longer for the foreseeable future and should plan their itinerary accordingly. As countries start opening their borders, they will do so will abundant caution and will institute checks to prevent importing the virus. Two-week isolation upon arrival, temperature checks, and COVID-19 testing will become more commonplace. Until we receive a vaccine for COVID-19, the lines at customs will be much longer than prior to the outbreak.
7. Required COVID-19 Vaccinations
Once the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, some countries could require proof of vaccination for entry. This is already in place for some vaccines such as Yellow Fever for travel to affected countries in Africa and South America. It is possible that the COVID-19 vaccine is added to this list of mandatary travel vaccinations for many countries around the world. Businesses should encourage their employees who need to travel to receive the COVID-19 vaccination to prevent any trouble at airport customs.
How do you think the Coronavirus will affect business travel? Let us know in the comments!