Travel Managers’ primary role is supporting travelers on a day-to-day basis. But what are the best ways to do that in a post-COVID-19 world?
The economy is starting to open up again after the COVID-19 outbreak, which means that Business Travelers are getting back onto planes for trips. As a Travel Manager, supporting travelers is a huge part of your job. How does that job change given the current circumstances?
While the nuts and bolts of travel management remain the same, there are additional ways that you can help your traveling team members navigate their day-to-day work and maximize the time they spend away from home.
Here’s a look at 5 ways you can support your travelers as they get back on the road again.
1. Focus on Health and Safety
No trip is worth sacrificing a team member’s health and safety. Just as Travel Managers have always had a duty of care responsibility to keep their Travelers safe and secure, they now have a responsibility to help them travel safely in the age of COVID-19.
Start by providing trainings for your regular travelers — even virtual trainings if you’re not in an office together. These trainings should focus on safety measures they can take while traveling, who to contact for support and assistance while traveling, answers to frequently asked travel questions, plus more. To help your business get back to traveling with confidence, JTB Business Travel has created a Be Travel Ready guide that you can download and share with your team members.
During this time, some team members may not feel comfortable traveling. Ideally, anyone uncomfortable traveling at this time would be allowed to postpone trips. You’ll need to craft additional language for your travel policy that addresses travelers who are not yet ready to get on a plane or stay in a hotel.
2. Help With Stress Management
COVID-19 isn’t the only threat right now. There’s also the COVID-19-related stress to deal with. Most of your team members have been stuck at home with little to do for an extended period of time. Some of them may have spouses or significant others who have lost jobs. Kids may be in home school situations. Generally, there’s a lot to deal with. And it’s stressful.
Travel Managers can help their team members right now by helping them manage stress. As a Travel Manager, you can provide your travelers with mental health resources and services. Managing stress can help your team members return to travel with confidence.
3. Explore Virtual Meetings
Now is a great time to evaluate whether or not a trip is really necessary. At JTB Business Travel, we’ve always believed that skipping an unnecessary trip is the best way to save on your travel spend. And that still holds true today.
Travel Managers can support their team members by becoming experts on remote meetings. What defines a truly essential trip? What’s the best way to facilitate virtual meetings for non-essential trips? Are there opportunities to make a virtual meeting even better than an in-person gathering? Answering these questions can help travel managers expand their responsibilities and influence while providing valuable support to their employees.
4. Emphasize Communication
Communication is always important for Travel Managers, but it’s more important now than ever. Make sure that you’re communicating with your Travelers on a regular basis. Communicate about COVID-19 news, communicate about travel policy changes in response to the pandemic, communicate best practices and wellness tips, etc. The more you can communicate, the more comfortable and confident your travelers are going to feel.
5. Keep Travelers Engaged
As many companies continue to work remotely, engagement can be difficult. Travel Managers should strive to keep their travelers engaged in the absence of gatherings at a central office.
Try running contests or giveaways. Schedule a virtual happy hour for your road warriors. Host a town hall-style video conference for questions about travel or related topics. Face time with your travelers will go a long way toward keeping them engaged and maintaining a sense of camaraderie.
Start Traveling Safely With JTB Business Travel
Supporting Travelers and Travel Managers is our business at JTB Business Travel. During this unprecedented time for your company, our team is here and ready to help you manage your travel program in a way that keeps travelers safe and delivers return on investment for your business.
Contact us today to learn more about how we support travel managers.