The travel industry is getting back to normal, but it’s not where it was before COVID-19. Here’s a look at business travel tips to avoid bottlenecks and challenges.
The travel industry is revving back up again after shutting things down almost entirely in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vacationers are planning trips again, and so too are business Travelers who need to hold meetings, attend trade shows, follow up with prospects, plus more. But many are finding that they could use some business travel tips for the post-COVID-19 landscape.
There are traveling difficulties today that did not exist before the pandemic. What are they? And where do they occur? To help you enjoy the most streamlined, efficient and productive business trips possible, here’s a look at bottlenecks and challenges to avoid related to air travel, hotels and rental cars.
The best thing you can do when traveling by air is give yourself plenty of time. Most business Travelers are experts at efficiency. They know the last possible moment they can leave the office and still make it to their gate on-time. This is not the year to see how close you can cut it before takeoff.
The lines are long at airports right now. The lines for security are long, the lines at restaurants are long, the lines at shops are long. Throughout 2020, the travel industry drew down its operations, slashing flights and generally cutting back on services. As people have returned to business travel and vacations, the travel industry’s operations have not had the chance to scale back up. It’s created a mess of lengthy waits that business Travelers can’t afford to get caught up in.
If traveling internationally, check on the wait times to pass through customs and to clear any COVID-19-related protocols. In some countries, you may even need to add a full day to your trip just to ensure you have time to enter the country and move on about your business.
If you’re looking for details on the country you’re visiting, many airlines (like United) and booking platforms (like Kayak) have provided helpful maps that assist Travelers with planning their trips. You can also check the State Department’s website to get more information on advisories related to countries around the world and our travel and health restrictions page, powered by Sherpa, to search on specific details regarding your trip. Find a resource tool that works best for you and make sure you’re as informed as possible before leaving home.
Don’t show up at a hotel expecting all the services you would traditionally experience. If you’re on a short business trip, you may anticipate being able to do everything right from the hotel — eat, drink, exercise, ship packages, print documents, etc. But not all hotels in all locations have completely reopened their comprehensive services, even if they have reopened to guests.
Start by calling your hotel options during the booking process. If you need a certain service through the hotel where you’re staying, make sure that it’s currently available before you reserve a room. If you like to swim a few laps in the pool in the morning, make sure the pool is open. If you like to dine in your room at night, make sure room service is available. If you like to have your shirt pressed or your shoes shined overnight before a morning meeting, make sure they’re offering laundry and valet services.
In some cases, the absence of services is more due to a labor shortage than it is to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, no matter the reason services aren’t available, call and confirm ahead of time.
You may have heard: There’s a rental car shortage across the United States. Rental car parking garages and lots are so empty that some vacationers are renting U-hauls and other moving trucks to use as their primary modes of transportation. Unfortunately, this rental car shortage isn’t going anywhere, according to experts.
Why is this happening? There are two reasons. First, rental car companies started selling off their fleets when COVID-19 started and demand plummeted. And, second, demand is now on the rise as the pandemic fades and people start to travel for business and pleasure again. Rental car companies have not had time to grow their fleets again after the 2020 selloff.
This goes for all the categories on this list, but make sure to book your rental car as early as possible when traveling for business. If you’re planning a meeting and have options on where to gather, look for cities that have robust public transportation networks. No matter where you’re traveling, explore opportunities to use a mix of public transportation and cab/ride-share services. Not only are rental cars in short supply right now, but their prices are also sky high. You can save a bundle by finding alternatives.
Navigate Through Trip Disruptions
Trips get disrupted all the time, whether or not we’re in the midst of a pandemic. At JTB Business Travel, we are the travel management company that helps Travelers navigate through trip disruptions so that they get to their destinations and back home again as comfortably and easily as possible. Behind everything we do is a common-sense approach to business travel.
Get in touch to learn more about what we can do for your business and its Travelers.