The travel industry ground to a halt during the COVID-19 outbreak. What will travel after COVID-19 look like?
In the wake of COVID-19, both business and leisure travel virtually stopped. Once bustling airports and hotels sat nearly empty. People will travel again, of course, but traveling after COVID-19 is likely to be different.
Different in what ways? As you head back out on the road for work, look for the following 7 trends:
Masks, gloves, social distancing and other preventative measures are going to be with us for a long time. When you return to airports and hotels, you’re going to see a concerted and conscientious effort to prevent the spread of viruses.
This is a good thing, even if COVID-19 had not spread around the world. Airports and hotels have always been cesspools for the spread of illnesses. Preventative measures will help stop the spread of COVID-19 plus the flu and other viruses. The conscientiousness you will see in airports and hotels will also unite travelers. We’re all in this together, after all, and you will see that unity in action once you’re traveling again.
2. A Slow Acceleration
Yes, we will start traveling again. But the reignition of the travel industry is going to move slowly. At first, you’re likely to see Business Travelers almost exclusively, as leisure travelers will be more prone to wait for their trips.
Again, this is a good thing. Airports and hotels will be less populated, which will help prevent the spread of illnesses. The slow acceleration will be inconvenient in some ways. For example, restaurants, shops and other vendors may be harder to find. But, overall, Business Travelers will enjoy a better and more efficient experience during this slow acceleration.
3. Great Deals
Airlines, hotels and rental car companies are desperate to get more business. That creates a buyer’s market for Travelers traveling after COVID-19. Amazing prices and easy upgrades are going to be plentiful for the foreseeable future. When you start traveling for business again, you could find yourself flying first class, sleeping in a hotel suite and driving a luxury car. This won’t last, naturally, but it’s a perk to get back into the swing of things early.
4. Flexibility and Refunds
As noted above, companies operating in the travel industry are anxious to get customers flying, staying and driving with them again. That’s means more flexibility and refund options. Airlines are notoriously obstinate when it comes to changing itineraries and canceling trips. That’s not the case right now. Take advantage of this flexibility as you look to travel for business.
5. Contingency Plans
While airlines and other travel vendors are more flexible right now when it comes to changes and cancellations, when it comes to traveling after COVID-19, navigating the landscape can still be complicated. Make sure you have a contingency plan as you book travel for work. What will you do if you need to cancel the trip? What will you do if you need to shift the dates?
Your travel management company (TMC) will become invaluable during this time. As a busy Business Traveler, you don’t need to spend your time worrying about and managing trip changes and cancellations. Lean heavily on your TMC to handle the trip management. That’s why you have them in the first place.
6. International Travel as Exception
As the travel industry slowly accelerates, expect domestic travel to ramp up first. International travel is likely to be more exception than rule for the time being. Why? Because various governments have in place stringent travel restrictions in response to COVID-19.
If you choose to travel internationally, you may find that some countries are not available for travel right now. If you can book a trip, you may find that getting through customs and into the country takes up such a disproportionate amount of time that the trip isn’t worth it.
Again, this will change at some point as things get back to normal. But, for right now, think of international travel as something that should be planned only in the most necessary situations.
7. Travel Medicine
Look for travel medicine to become a prominent practice in a post-COVID-19 world. And, if you often travel for work, you should find and develop a relationship with a doctor who specializes in travel.
Travel doctors will be able to make recommendations, prescribe medication, and evaluate patients in a way that takes into account COVID-19 and other viruses. Frequent travelers have always needed doctors who deeply understand the health effects of traveling. The rise of travel medicine will be a silver lining to the COVID-19 crisis.
JTB Business Travel Can Help You Start Traveling Again
Traveling for business again shouldn’t be taken lightly. If your work requires frequent travel, you deserve a travel management partner that can help you do so safely and efficiently.
At JTB Business Travel, we help travelers maximize their comfort and convenience while helping businesses maximize their return on investment. Behind every service we provide and every recommendation we make is a common-sense approach to business travel.
Contact us today to talk about how we can help you start traveling again.