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Solutions for managing business travel in a crisis like COVID-19

COVID-19 is having an enormous impact on business travel - which is why now is the right time to review your crisis plan

  • How do you stay up-to-date with the latest information?
  • Do you have real visibility and control?
  • Which phases will you go through during a crisis?
  • How should you handle each phase of a crisis?
  • How can your ensure your processes are fit for the future? 

There are five phases that businesses who rely on travel in order to operate must go through when hit by a crisis such as Covid-19. You can find out what these phases are and how best to get through them by reading our advice below: 

Phase 1: Take the hit
When a crisis occurs, your response must be immediate. Travel managers need immediate knowledge about the size and complexity of the crisis. Are there travellers affected? Which existing bookings do you have and how can they be reorganised? How big is this crisis? Do you need to put together a crisis response team?

Phase 2: Manage the change
After the crisis first hits, there is an immediate disruption to travel that is often quickly overcome by amending flights. However, as the crisis extends and spreads around the world (like COVID-19), there is a knock-on effect and more travel gets disrupted. Travel managers need to be aware of the travel status and restrictions in each country so they can reorganize their bookings if possible. In addition to this, it is important to have control over the bookings made worldwide to ensure tickets are only booked when really needed, as refunds may have changed to credit vouchers. This can have a significant impact on cash reserve. 

Phase 3: Finding a balance
In the third phase it is important to find a working balance for your business. When a crisis is as profound as Covid-19, the constant change and upheaval can feel exhausting, so it's important for businesses to find what works for them in this interim period. 

Phase 4: Returning to business
Now that we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel it is important to make sure your business processes are up to date. Now is the time to change any cumbersome and manual processes and automate these as much as possible, so that your business is in the best postition to grow once things return to normal. Look at travel booking processes, invoicing and reconciliation processes and stakeholder notification processes as these tend to be the most intensive.

Phase 5: Grow!
Things are running again and it's now time to grow your business by developing a stronger margin than before. This is where nurturing a strategic relationship with your travel management company (TMC) is really useful. 

Crises are common in the travel industry - although thankfully not all of them are of the magnitude of Covid-19. Strikes, natural disasters and terrorist incidents can all occur at any time and when they do, they can seriously disrupt travel. However, with the support of the right TMC and with the right processes in place, your business will be in a great position to weather the storm. 

 

Click to read Solutions for managing travel in a crisis like COVID-19

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