COVID-19: Preparing for travel reentry
With airline fleets across the world grounded and most people now working from home, to describe the current global situation as challenging would be nothing short of an understatement. With most travel programs at a standstill due to the COVID-19 crisis, there are lots of things that you can do to stay ahead of new and unique issues you may face when the world starts to heal, and business gets moving again.
We’ve highlighted some key areas Travel Managers should think about when planning for the next three to six months. Taking the time to re-evaluate and implement changes will help benefit you and provide a more detailed oversight of your travel programs.
1. Cancellations and Unused Tickets
At the moment, every organization wants to know the cost of all of those cancelled flights; the financial impact to business travel, cancellations and rebooking’s, delays and repatriations. Having an unclear picture of the value available to your company through unused ticket credits, vouchers, and airline charge cards makes it very difficult to look ahead financially but creating transparency around refund and waivers covering your reservations, CTM can help.
CTM has created efficiencies to assist our clients in the assessment and future application of tickets that went unused due to COVID-19. These efficiencies and transparency can be useful in managing internal expectations, reporting back to stakeholders, also allowing you to make decisions more quickly, once you have the information in hand. Rest assured that CTM will be here to support in the way we always have and will work through these changes with you.
2. Program analysis
We always encourage clients, in the same way we do our internal teams, to review booking practices and program goals regularly. It’s going to be imperative moving forward you look at your end-to-end processes and policies and establish what worked and what didn’t in managing this crisis. It will afford your business a wealth of information and allow you to mitigate against anything like this in the future.
A deep dive into your group security processes and full review of traveler tracking, risk alerts, and comprehensive global reporting is the best place to start. This retrospective analysis should look at the biggest picture possible for your organization.
Based on your program analysis, it’s vital to update your company policies. This is likely to be an ongoing measure over the coming months while a new normal is established but understanding what has worked and what hasn’t will be critical. While many CTM clients are shifting operating models and business goals rapidly, consider staged policy levels for a controlled return to travel or additional approval processes and risk assessments to support travel moving forward. When working with CTM, these policy conditions can be built into our customer’s travel program and reflected across online booking tools, as well as bookings via a travel consultant.
4. Supplier programs
Reviewing your supplier program will be a very sensible move over the coming months. There will undoubtedly be lots of changes and we anticipate some businesses will want to re-evaluate their preferred supplier relationships.
For larger businesses that hold more leverage with suppliers, ensuring your programs are well sewn together will allow you to move most quickly when things become more operationally ‘normal’.
For smaller businesses, there has never been a more critical time to lean on CTM as your TMC partner. Lacking leverage with suppliers at a time when there is so much noise and challenge will be tough.
Negotiating the most cost-effective supplier agreements is just one way that CTM delivers unbeatable value to its customers.
5. Information sharing
Whatever the size of your organization, information sharing over the coming months is going to be paramount. It’s also going to be a huge hurdle. Things will continue to change at such a pace, it will make understanding the business travel landscape extremely taxing. Establish processes now for communicating with your travelers and unique user groups will be paramount. Spend the time now to ensure you have open communication channels not only with travelers, but also with your travel stakeholders in finance, administration, risk management, and procurement. These peers will lean on you for critical updates to drive the strategy behind your business’s next steps. Also reach out to peers and colleagues within your travel network, attend industry webinar and panel series events, and share ideas, challenges, and solutions.
WE’RE IN IT TOGETHER
Governments and communities around the world have used the phrase ‘we’re in it together’ to help people and businesses know we will come through these challenging times; there will be great times again – and that’s certainly true of travel. Taking the time now to step back and re-evaluate will let you move your programs forward more easily when that time comes. We at CTM will be here to help you through every stage.
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