How should your corporation travel during COVID19? Some borders are closed. Many flights schedules have been slashed. A lot of us are postponing the trips we’d been looking forward to. Safety is the first priority. But should corporate trips stop? Certainly not. When important, they should be done but always strictly controlled and certainly limited. Safe corporate trips during COVID19 is an objective. Avoiding (but certainly not stopping) trips until the full successful rollout of vaccinations (1st semester of 2020 as estimated) is a must *.
Economy and business cannot stop. Business trips cannot wait when business itself needs it. Corporate trips boost economy and create jobs**. The great come back of 2021, needs a good support and corporate trips play this role. Lets see how to do this safely for your company:
7 points that guide you step by step to the actions you should take in the next 6 months when arranging safe corporate trips for your organization:
- Create an inhouse “Guru” travel team
Select a team of 3-4 persons and do them a diligent training.
Have as an objective to create COVID19 travel gurus, with perfect knowledge of each detail.
Worst case scenarios should be made. Immediate actions should be prepared. They should be able to answer quickly questions like:
- Travelers finds out she/he is sick about it when he is on travel
- Travelers finds out she/he is sick when is back
- When and where is the next vaccinations taking place
- Who is entitled to vaccination
- Which country requests a quarantine
- What if you get sick abroad
Prefer some employees already arranging the trips of your company. Upgrade their role to a COVID19 travel consultant. In their role they will have to direct the staff and be informed daily on what is taking place regarding the pandemia. Make them create routine reaction to any COVID19 incident (during trips).
Include in the team 1 person from the security dept. of your company (if such a thing exists). One more should be from the insurance agency (if you travel agency does not offer you insurance). Name it GTT (Guru Travel Team / you love acronyms and you know it).
Alternatively you can outsource this job. You may ask from your travel management company to take this task (it is their job after all). Descent corporate travel agencies already provide this service to their existing clients (Figame.com clients enjoy 24/7 intense COVID19 customer service free of charge for all its existing clients).
2. Adapt your travel policy
It is time to temporarily change your travel policy. Usually this happens for cost reduction. Now reason is safety.
Create an importance scale of the company trips and sort the trips that are to be done respectively. Allocate all your trips in the following scale:
- Urgent and must be done asap
- Urgent but can wait
- Good to do
Do a second allocation between domestic and foreign. A board like this should be made:
3. Provide an online source for immediate COVID19 updates for all your employees
Create a web portal with all the travel information needed (have in mind that for the latter you need to allocate minimum 2 people for the continuous updates). You can update it daily internally. Alternatively have your travel management company to do it for you.
4. Standardize your travel management partner
From time to time it is good to try different travel partners (in case you are allowed to do so by the contract you have signed). It’s the golden rule for checking the service level you get.
Now, and at list for the next 6 months, it is not such a time. Allocate all your services to one corporate travel provider. You will need one point of contact for any crisis scenario. Do a good assessment and check which corporate travel agency is more convenient for you and give all your trips there. They need to be quick and precise. Do they have a corporate booking tool? Does this tool provide real time COVID19 updates (corporatefigame.com does both)? Zero mistake tolerance is what should be applied by your end now.
5. Travel insurance becomes a must
Under normal conditions a travel insurance is a good to have. Now it is a must. COVID19 is proved lethal. All the travelers should be adequately insured by an established insurance agency. BUPA and Mondial (and they are not the only ones) have already released packages especially tailored to COVID19 needs. Don’t consider to travel without a travel insurance under these circumstances. Risk is high.
6. Don’t worry about flight rates
Many corporate travel agencies insist on being very careful with the booking class you reserve. There is a high possibility of change/cancellation of flights due to COVID19. This is certainly not a point to worry about. Same rules that apply in normal periods apply now as well. If the flight gets cancelled the ticket is full refunded. All related rules apply. Use the same rate booking policy as the pre COVID19 period.
7. Be strict
It is not a moment to allow freedom and generally be elastic about following company’s policy with your staff. It is not a matter of budget. It is not a matter of discipline. It is a matter of health and this is certainly the 1st priority for any company. If someone gets infected all your company would be affected.
There might be cases when you allow your employees to surpass the travel policy. Statements of non-conformity appear in all the organizations. Generally the reaction of the company is quite smooth. This is not such a case. EVERYONE has to follow these rules now. Even if employees don’t know, the GTT (Guru Travel Team) and the corporate travel manager does. Make them accountable and have zero tolerance to “infringers”.
Trips have never stopped in economy. Now that we are running the first months of post vaccination period we should continue to travel. But ONLY when we absolutely have to. Follow the guidelines above and manage your people so as to do what they have to for their own safety. Safe corporate trips during COVID19 is certainly number 1 priority. We will do it together.
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