Global Travel Mandates: Boon or Hindrance?
At a time where remote working trend is bound to keep rising, travelling to different locations might seem like an unnecessary and logistical nightmare. Personalised travel itineraries have been replaced by Zoom calls. Losses felt by the companies have been tremendous, but these pale in comparison to the losses borne by the travel industry due to the various travel restrictions and quarantine/lockdown related troubles. On the other hand, the travel expenses saved by the companies are boosting the profits in their balance sheets. Then are global mandates a hindrance or a boon?
How Are Global Travel Mandates Affecting Indian Organisations?
- Different countries and cities are currently witnessing various lockdown and curfew restrictions. Business travel managers are required to be on their toes to stay updated about the restrictions and rules that need to be followed as violating curfew regulations might attract a hefty fine.
- In most places, only fully vaccinated people are allowed entry. Therefore, the company needs to conduct vaccination drives to protect their employees and make them eligible to travel. A non-vaccinated person will not be allowed to travel, irrespective of how urgent the requirement is.
- Travelling employees also need to be vaccinated with the vaccine that has global approval. For instance, United States of America will not allow people into their country who have taken Covaxin in India.
- The quarantine period is also longer in some countries. For example, if an individual is travelling to Brazil, they will have to stay in isolation for 2 weeks before they can conduct any business. The same is also true for people travelling for business in Australia and Canada.
- More often than not, the quarantine facility will charge money from the business traveller. This charge will be borne by the company and might eat into the profit margin of the company.
- Air travel has become extremely risky. Hence, insurance companies covering the travelling employees have also raised their premium rates to offset the risk. The companies will also have to pay significantly more to protect their employees.
How Has This Pandemic Changed Business Travel for the Better?
- Using Zoom calls for inconsequential meetings is one of the biggest boons bestowed by the global pandemic. The companies are now able to focus their travel budget to maximise their ROI.
- Ticket booking policies have become extremely flexible. More airlines are promising to refund the entire booking amount if one is unable to travel due to COVID-related reasons. Uncertain lockdown and curfew times have also been responsible for making airlines change their policies.
- Airlines and hotels have become more vigilant than ever before. They realise that making business travellers feel safe and valued is of utmost significance.
- We’re witnessing that companies are prioritising the health of their travelling employees by compensating them for the risk they are undertaking during their working hours. Travel managers are being trained to put more emphasis on the duty of care. They are ensuring that the airlines and hotels that they are arranging are thoroughly inspected and ready to receive the travelling employees.
- Travel managers are also trained to track the location of the employees on the business trip in real-time. This will allow them to warn the employees if a certain area has been declared a containment zone or if any sudden lockdowns have been announced.
- Travel insurance policies have taken precedence. Companies are taking travel insurance which specifically covers the employees travelling for business purposes. This type of insurance is comparatively inexpensive and offers comprehensive protection to the employees.
However, organisations will need the assistance of an efficient travel management company to extract the most out of the boons and navigate through the hindrances. Quest2Travel is a travel management company that focuses on managing the risk of business travel while maximising the profit of the company.
Quest2Travel maintains a record of all global lockdowns and restrictions to make it easier for companies to book tickets. Businesses can integrate Quest2Travel business travel management platform with the ERP system of the company. The software will be periodically updated with the list of employees who have been vaccinated. The personalised itineraries and associated travel details are also maintained in a log. Apart from providing all the essential safety features, Quest2Travel also offers a dashboard through which businesses can monitor the travel activities of their employees.