Most PAs and business travel arrangers will only resume booking business travel if their organisation deems it safe to do so, according to a ‘State of the Market’ study by SME specialist travel provider Corporate Traveller.
They will also take a phased approach to resuming domestic and international business travel over the next 12 months.
A total of 950 business travel decision-makers, bookers and travellers at Corporate Traveller’s SME customers in EMEA, Asia, the Americas, India, Australia and New Zealand took part in the survey in order to give the company greater insight into their customers’ prevailing sentiments on business travel conditions as countries emerge from lockdown restrictions, implement quarantine periods or air corridors, and airlines and hotels introduce hygiene measures.
Asked to rank which triggers would prompt resuming business travel, easing or lifting border restrictions came top with 93% of respondents saying it has significant or some impact. However, the second trigger (89%) is ‘our organisation deems it safe to travel and this is reflected in our travel policy’. 70% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that they expected to increase business travel gradually over a period of time with consensus peaking in business travel returning domestically in one to three months (40% of respondents) and internationally in six to 12 months (32% of respondents).
As a result of these findings, Corporate Traveller is ramping up its duty of care support significantly, starting with the launch of Traveller Hub, an interactive resource providing extensive up-to-date Covid-19 travel information. PAs, EAs, office managers and travel arrangers can search by supplier category, country or region for the latest news on border changes and restrictions; airline routes and safety procedures for travellers; hotel re-openings and hygiene measures; as well as rail travel and car hire announcements.
Traveller resources also include tips, frequently asked questions and useful links to help plan and pack safely for a business trip. The Traveller Hub also features a live interactive map, delivered by travel safety specialist Sitata, which shows areas to avoid, number of Covid-19 cases per country, recovery rates, and local social distancing rules.
In addition, Traveller Hub incorporates an innovative AI conversation-based messaging tool on the home page provided by cutting-edge technology developer Landbot. This powerful chatbot is embedded in the site and enables users to seek answers to any coronavirus-related travel questions in a live chat environment.
The Traveller Hub is fully integrated within Corporate Traveller’s Your.CT technology platform and can also be accessed via Sam, the AI-based mobile app used by Corporate Traveller clients’ business travellers.
“The global pandemic has immeasurably changed the way people view business travel, and we want to ensure our services continue to meet companies’ evolving travel needs” said Andy Hegley, UK General Manager, Corporate Traveller. “PAs and travel arrangers are frequently the key business travel decision-makers at many of our SME clients and are on the frontline when it comes to booking travel for their organisation. Information we’ve collected in our State of the Market survey gives us a deeper understanding of their concerns and objectives, and how we can best support them when they’re ready to book travel again.
“There is definitely an increasing sense of companies needing to travel, but whilst the situation around Covid-19 remains unpredictable, with possible second waves and local lockdowns, it’s clear that duty of care, hygiene and safety are going to be the dominant considerations going forwards. We are therefore even more focussed on giving clients the best possible support and resources in this respect and are excited to announce the launch of Traveller Hub as just one new development in our enhanced duty of care offering. Traveller Hub will enable our clients to quickly find out anything and everything they need to know about planning a business trip in these challenging times.”