As COVID-19 lingers around the world, countries, state governments and others are negotiating travel with others. As an Executive, you have an opportunity during the pandemic to turn negotiating travel into serious savings.
When COVID-19 first started spreading around the world, citizens were asked to shelter in place and to quarantine in an effort to limit transmission. Many countries, and even some states here in the US, closed travel to outsiders. Now that the world is slowly starting to reopen, negotiating travel has become a valuable bargaining chip.
Below, you’ll see a rundown of how different governments are negotiating with one another. You’ll also learn about possible travel-related incentives that governments may offer, as well as guidance on how you can use the process of negotiating travel to save money over the long-term.
While the United States represent a single nation, that nation includes 50 states with their own governments — and their own policies on COVID-19 and travel. In June, for example, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut entered into a Tri-State COVID-19 quarantine agreement that limited travel from other states experiencing outbreaks.
Similarly, high-traffic tourism states have considered or have implemented bans on tourism. New Mexico instituted travel restrictions to limit out-of-state visitors in July. Hawaii extended in August its full suspension of visits by tourists until October.
Of course, negotiation rests at the heart of these agreements and restrictions. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut bound together in an agreement that would allow travel across their borders — while limiting travel from other states. In the future, we may see similar regional agreements, between states with similar ideologies and/or political leanings — like New Mexico and Colorado, for example.
Negotiating travel between countries has been even more intensive than negotiations between states. Right now, holders of US passports are severely limited in where they can go. While Mexico and some Caribbean destinations are available, travel to Europe is almost impossible.
In some cases, negotiations between countries have broken into the media. For example, Spain has offered to open its border to Morocco, but only if Morocco reciprocates and opens its border to Spain. Behind the scenes, these types of negotiations between neighboring countries are likely ongoing.
Travel is an important part of the economy, especially in local areas that thrive on tourism. Senator Martha McSally of Arizona has proposed a $4,000 tax credit for travel 50 miles beyond one’s home. In McSally’s home state, there are likely communities and businesses that survive on tourism to the Grand Canyon. With fewer people traveling during the pandemic, those communities and businesses are suffering through an existential threat.
Of course, as evidenced by Hawaii’s ban on tourism noted above, some governments see reducing the spread of COVID-19 over the long-term as more important than the short-term sustenance of the economy.
Negotiating Corporate Travel Agreements
Right now, airlines, hotels and rental car companies are seeing significant downturns in their volume of business. If your business is getting close to the end of a contract, or if you’re interested in an early renegotiation of an existing contract, now is the time to start those conversations.
When you start negotiating travel in 2020, you essentially buy low on future business trips. Travel vendors are going to be more flexible and more generous if you can commit to future flights, stays and rentals — providing more certainty for vendors during an uncertain time.
Let Us Help You Negotiate Travel
At JTB Business Travel, we provide a full suite of services to companies large and small. We can even help you identify the best vendors to meet your needs — and negotiate favorable contracts with your preferred vendors. Behind every service we provide is a common-sense approach to business travel. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your business travel needs.