Business travel beyond the third wave explained
Share this article:
Bonnie Smith, the general manager of FCM, said red lists and quarantine remain the biggest barriers to business travel.
Smith explains what business travellers need to do and the challenges beyond the third wave:
Reconnect in person even if it means you do so with masks
Covid-19 protocols will remain in place for months, so mask-wearing is vital for travellers to adhere to, as well as other Covid protocols.
Smith said business trips are coming back faster than expected in the US.
“This is in part to Zoom fatigue. But the reality is that decision-makers are keen to connect through in-person meetings once again. More is accomplished with the right people around a boardroom table than meetings via a virtual platforms could ever accomplish.”
On the whole, people miss the warmth, spontaneity and connection of face-to-face meetings.
“For many companies in the mining, energy, engineering and pharmaceutical sectors, business travel is essential travel. Think of rotational teams, research and development, meeting suppliers, connecting with prospects, or visiting projects. Multinational companies are desperate to reconnect and kickstart their travel programmes,” she said.
Questions around vaccinated travellers – and vaccine certificates – need to be resolved
Smith said there have been questions around what “fully-vaccinated” means and how travellers apply for Covid vaccination certification.
She said the biggest question remains around vaccination certificates.
“Travellers will require a digital vaccine status certificate to prove that they are fully-vaccinated to travel internationally. Unfortunately, until there is a standardised system, different countries will have different requirements, apps, and digital health passports. You’ll need to discuss your destination’s requirements with your travel expert, so they can help guide you through the process," she said.
Sustainability will become more important
Post-pandemic business travel will see sustainability firmly back on the table, said Smith.
"Expect companies to build their overall sustainability goals into their travel policies, looking to airlines, hotel programmes and travel suppliers to help them reduce their carbon footprint.
"There are a number of different tools that companies can use today. These include carbon calculators to measure your climate footprint and carbon offsetting programmes to mitigate the impact of those emissions that you can’t reduce," she said.
According to Smith, soon you’ll be able to add filters to your online booking platform that allows you to book flights in a more sustainable way, or choose greener accommodation options. Bookers will even be able to choose the most environmentally-friendly route, calculated on the distance between two locations and how many layovers are required.