Blog photo 9.20.21

For travel managers and those preparing to return to business travel, the challenges are clear. We are re-entering a world very different from the one we all left over a year ago. Those in charge of booking, managing, and budgeting corporate travel have a whole new set of concerns to deal with, and those who are hitting the road again will be returning under a whole new set of circumstances.

Understanding and managing the impact of business travel on both businesses and those who do the traveling is going to be key to keeping employees and organizations safe. It’s important that whether you’re a business owner, leader, decision-maker, or a traveler, you have taken into consideration the primary changes that have arisen over the last year. These changes mean you’ll need to make decisions based on both logistical and emotional reasoning. Here is a short checklist of things to keep in mind:

  • Whether you’re a travel manager or a traveler, you’ll need to be prepared for dealing with each journey, booking, and decision on a case-by-case basis. Domestic or international restrictions are different from region to region and territories are opening up at different paces
  • Empathy will be key as every individual you deal with will have had different experiences over the past year. As inclusivity becomes a bigger part of an organization’s remit, awareness of different levels of anxiety, interaction, and comfort with returning to previous activities will mean that each person may react differently to situations that were previously part and parcel of their day-to-day job
  • Consider the potential of creating engaging mixes of virtual meetings and events alongside in-person meetings, if possible. Lowering the carbon footprint of a business is just one of the ways in which companies have an opportunity to come back greener
  • The anxiety of returning to regular life also extends beyond business travel. Having spent extended periods of time indoors over the last year, many of us are having to relearn things we considered normal a year ago. Consultation and consideration will be key here to make sure each person’s situation is treated on its own individual merits
  • More support for returning staff will be needed. Travel managers will need to regularly update policies, making sure they are conveyed with clarity and authority, and travelers will need to be reassured that the work they are doing has been risk-assessed from end to end
  • Be prepared for closer scrutiny. Whether it’s internal or from external regulators, travel managers and travelers will have to expect heightened attention when corporate travel resumes at scale. This won’t last forever but may add extra hoops to jump through until the pandemic is behind us and we’re moving from location to location without a second thought

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A version of these tips previously appeared on American Express Global Business Travel’s blog, The Atlas™.