Nervous trepidations or confidently excited? What’s going on inside the mind of your travellers right now.
Earlier this year business travel as we knew it came to a complete stop and travellers the world over found themselves at grounded. Since then employees have learned how to communicate with their team members and check in with their customers via video conferencing, and the thought of taking a business trip feels like a long distant memory.
Now that some borders are opening up, businesses have started to test the water of business travel – but how are travellers feeling about returning to the skies and roads?
The case for returning to travel
While video conferencing can help your employees stay in touch with clients, it can’t replace the value of meeting a client in person – especially when it comes to building trust.
So this means many employees will be feeling anxious to get back out on the road again to see their customers and colleagues. But for every person waiting to get back on a plane, there are many others who will be worried about their health or simply glad to avoid the stress of travel.
What travellers are saying
To get to the heart of what businesses and travellers are feeling, we conducted a global State of the Market survey. A total of 1600 business travel managers, bookers and travellers in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, The Middle East, , Asia, and the Americas took part in our survey, in order to give us greater insight into our clients’ prevailing sentiments on business travel conditions as countries emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.
The survey showed that there is definitely an increasing sense of clients needing to travel, but whilst the situation around COVID-19 remains unpredictable, with possible second waves and local lockdowns, it’s clear that duty of care, hygiene and safety are going to be the dominant considerations for customers going forwards.
Key Highlights – Traveller Sentiment
- Business Travellers will look to their employer for reassurance:
- 88% said their organisation deeming it safe to travel would be a key trigger to resume travelling.
- Customers are at the heart of a desire to travel:
- 87% want to travel to resume to help win new business.
- 84% want travel to resume to help manage existing customer relationships.
- 62% want travel to resume to facilitate conferences and events.
- But for travellers to feel safe and secure while travelling, travel policies need to adapt to a changed business travel environment:
- 69% want to introduce traveller and suppler health and hygiene considerations.
- 54% want stronger duty of care considerations.
Want to learn what other companies are doing to prepare for a return to travel? Download our 2020 Global State of the Market Report.
Responding to traveller concerns around Duty of Care
As a result of these findings, FCM has ramped up our duty of care support for customers significantly, starting with the launch of Traveller Hub, an interactive resource providing extensive up-to-date COVID-19 travel information.
Key benefits for travellers
- Users can search by supplier category, country or region for the latest news on border changes and restrictions; airline routes and safety procedures for travellers; hotel re-openings and hygiene measures; as well as rail travel and car hire announcements.
- Traveller resources also include tips, frequently asked questions and useful links to help customers plan and pack for their next trip safely.
- The Traveller Hub also features a live interactive map, delivered by travel safety specialist Sitata, which shows areas to avoid, number of COVID-19 cases per country, recovery rates, and local social distancing rules.
In addition, Traveller Hub incorporates an innovative AI conversation-based messaging tool on the home page provided by cutting-edge technology developer Landbot. This powerful chatbot is embedded in the site and enables users to seek answers to any coronavirus-related travel questions in a live chat environment.
Restoring Traveller Confidence
It’s clear that travellers will eventually have to learn how to be comfortable around people, especially in large airports, on crowded planes, and in very large convention hotels and resorts.
So it’s vital that businesses become focussed on giving their travellers the best possible support and resources when planning a business trip in these challenging times.
Following hundreds of conversations with our clients and our travel partners, as well as the results of round one of our global State of the Market survey, FCM has built our Return to Travel Framework to remove confusion, create direction and empower customers to take confident action. Download your copy here.
Here’s FCM’s Top 5 tips to restore traveller confidence:
1. Update your travel policy and review regularly.
Having a clear, up to date and well-defined travel policy will ensure expectations are clear regarding the type of travel allowed and maintaining visibility of traveller whereabouts.
2. Vet your suppliers carefully.
It’s important to use reputable suppliers, particularly for hotels, airlines and car hire companies, because this will affect a traveller’s overall travel experience and the ability to assist in emergency situations.
3. Consider providing PPE kits.
Providing employees their own PPE to take with them can go a long way to calm nerves around potential health risks. This could be as simple as providing a mask, sanitiser bottle and wipes, through to a more comprehensive kit with a travel thermometer.
4. Provide access to up-to-date travel news sources.
Equipping travellers with information and resources to support their trip is a must. FCM's Traveller Hub is an interactive resource providing extensive up-to-date COVID-19 travel information.
5. Implement traveller tracking, notification and communication tools.
Make sure your travellers have the latest version of your TMC’s mobile apps, like FCM's award winning app SAM, so they can receive push notifications if there is an emergency.