Traveling during a pandemic like COVID-19 is different than normal. When business travel starts to increase at your company, every effort should be made to make travelers feel safe and comfortable in taking a trip.
Our own team has shared their own experiences and photos from traveling during the pandemic, such as Nicole Wilcock travelling back from Asia to London, and Barbara Yarar cutting short her London trip.
In May 2020, we surveyed 100 travelers that have still been traveling in the last few months, and have used this information to provide tips on what those managing travel at their company should be advising travelers as travel starts to pick up.
Across all journeys it is wise to remind travelers to have a mask and hand sanitizer and remember any distancing measures in place. These will vary depending where the traveler is going.
Travelers that responded to our survey found that sometimes no food outlets were open in airports, or at minimum only the fast food outlets.
Airlines are changing their offerings too, limiting meal services on flights and scaling back the food and beverage options in lounges.
You should be advising travelers to take snacks for journeys, and to think about a meal at home/the hotel before leaving for the airport. This will be especially important for those that want to make healthier choices.
Where flight availability has been reduced, more travelers have opted to travel by car. While more services are starting to open up, the traveler may have to consider which car rental locations are open and will have to carefully think about their stops and which garages will be open.
If a traveler is on a flight, it is likely they will get into a taxi or car rental when they arrive at their end destination.
In both scenarios it is important to think about cleanliness. You should be aware of car rental and taxi supplier policies during COVID-19. Select a preferred supplier and inform your travelers what that is.
In our survey, 75% of travelers found hotel food services were closed during their stay. Instead 83% were offered information about delivery options and nearby open restaurants.
Until more services open, you will see more takeaway and supermarket receipts in expense reports when it comes to business travel.
While options remain limited in a city, you could offer travelers apartment-style accommodation that is generally larger than a hotel room, and often have a kitchen where they can spend time making their own meals, perhaps some home comforts.
With restaurants and bars closed, travelers are also finding they cannot socialize in their down time. This will mean fewer entertainment expenses.
But what does it mean for their mental health? Travelers might feel lonelier and stuck in the four walls of their hotel room. As well as reminding travelers to keep in touch with home, there are a host of apps and videos available to help with mental and physical health, including our own Boost TV with psychologist Dr Lucy Rattrie.
During a time like this people naturally feel more concerned, especially amid the uncertainty and complexities that come with COVID-19. Travelers may appreciate a check-in from their company, simply saying “are you okay, do you need any help?”, so that they know that someone is there for them, if it’s needed.