Many countries are still reeling from the peak of the ongoing pandemic, while others have the situation fairly under control. New Zealand’s fierce reaction from the start has enabled the country to keep their numbers under strict control, whereas the US has a long way to go to reach anything resembling an equilibrium. With the lockdown still in play and many other restrictions enforced to slow the pandemic, many businesses have had to change their operational models to facilitate remote work.
As for business travel? The future seems uncertain and we will certainly have to make adjustments. We have a unique chance to define what the new normal will be in terms of business travel, and we still have time to prepare ourselves for this new normal by adjusting our business plans, travel budgets, and client and vendor interactions. Here, we’ll cover a few expected post-pandemic changes in business travel that we will all need to embrace.
Wherever Virtual Can Step in – It Will
Even the most avid business travelers know that traveling can be stressful at times, and if you add the Coronavirus into the mix, we can safely say that stress will only grow. As a response, companies will reduce their travel to the bare minimum, mindful of their employees’ travel needs and the potential risks of going abroad, no matter if it’s a weekend trip or a month-long training seminar. What’s more, since large-scale events will likely be replaced by their virtual counterparts, many businesses will also replace frequent business trips with virtual get-togethers.
Whenever possible, companies will organize video conferences, online workshops, and enable other forms of online communication to reduce international and local travel. This will reduce the stress of travel in the post-pandemic era, and it will also keep businesses safe and their reputations intact.
Relying on Reputable Travel Partners
Loyalty programs and long-term travel partnerships will become the basis for all future business travel. Companies will seek out reputable hospitality and travel companies in order to enable safe travels for their employees, but also to put their clients’ minds at ease when the time comes for a personal visit. In different countries, different companies and trends will emerge as the most trustworthy.
For example, for visitors coming to New Zealand, researching reputable car rental in Christchurch and other local destinations will allow you to build a network of trustworthy local businesses to rely on whenever you travel to that region. This way, you’ll know that you’ll always have a clean, safe vehicle at your disposal, and that the company in question has taken all precautions to empower safe business travel to these regions. The same will apply to hotel chains, boutique hotels, air travel, and the like.
Your Packing List Will Change, Too
Before the pandemic, the greatest travel concern you’ve likely had was which suit to pack and which shoes to wear on the plane. Alas, those carefree days are officially behind us, and we now need to revisit our business travel essentials so that we include the post-pandemic must-haves such as hand disinfectants.
Face masks have also become a common prerequisite for entering closed spaces, but as the pandemic ends, we might still see this particular trend persevere. If it has been a norm in many Asian countries, and in fact deeply woven into their culture to wear masks when they get a cold or the flu, we can follow their lead and wear masks as a precaution when we travel, too.
Health Screenings as the New Normal
So far, we’ve learned just how contagious the Coronavirus can be and how potent crowded places are for its spread. That is why the lockdown has been introduced in so many countries, but once it was been lifted, people still needed to take prevention into consideration. Naturally, one of those prerequisites for safe business travel will include health screenings and regular medical checkups to ensure that you can safely enter a country.
Once you can prove you’re not a threat and that you’re not carrying the virus, you will most likely need to present the documents every time you travel. We can expect mandatory quarantine to become part of the new normal, especially for high-risk countries. However, we can hope these measures will get less cumbersome over time. We can also expect airports and other travel zones to include digital screening solutions such as digital thermometers placed at different checkpoints, as well as decontamination zones for luggage cleaning and disinfecting your hands.
While it will take time for travel and hospitality industries to recuperate, it will take even longer for everyone to fully adapt and discover what exactly it will mean to travel for business in the future. Some restrictions will persist even once the pandemic officially ends, but different preventative measures will sprout across the world, with each country finding new ways to protect its residents and visitors alike. In the months to come, we’ll all need to step up to the challenge and embrace the responsibilities of traveling in the post-pandemic era.