According to a poll of 1,600 member companies conducted by the GBTA in mid-April one in three companies are planning for some recovery in business travel in three months or less. 62% expect domestic travel to resume in the next two to three months. A majority (88%) of members expect employees will be willing to travel once restrictions are lifted.
Whatever the time-frames, when restrictions are lifted and companies start to travel, Duty of Care responsibilities and Travel Risk Management have never been more important, ensuring that those willing to travel are supported from both a medical and travel safety perspective.
The numbers will be fewer and travel more expensive and the days of “bleisure” travel may be over but business essential travel will resume and in order to do this employees expectations will be higher with regards what their company is doing to support them before and during travel and, just as importantly, upon their return should they have to self-quarantine.
Generic, tick box Travel Risk Assessments are no longer fit for purpose.
Pre-travel support should focus on in-depth, personalized and dynamic Travel Risk Assessments surrounding complex and fast-moving entry and re-entry requirements and guidelines which vary from country to country and state to state. Additionally, they should consider the medical infrastructure in the destination country / countries – do they have the capability to treat staff members to international standards should they fall ill? This will continue as the Corona Virus ebbs and flows around the world until a vaccine is developed and delivered.
Critically risk assessments should be conducted or reviewed by individuals and teams with specialist skill sets to identify and mitigate health and safety risks and authorization to travel signed off not just from a financial but also travel safety perspective.
Pre-travel safety training should be available, either face-to-face or via e-Learning, focusing on the specific destination and informed by the Travel Risk Assessment.
Whilst travelling an organization needs to be able to locate and communicate with their travelers in real-time, and have access to relevant, up to date information and advice surrounding changes in the health and safety landscape.
Just as importantly companies will now need to know where their staff have been historically if they have visited a newly infected country and need to take precautionary measures.
There will be an expectation that the traveler’s organization has the capability to respond and support them from a medical and safety perspective should things go wrong.