How to create your return to travel plan

By |2021-03-15T20:38:25+00:00March 15th, 2021|Business Travel|

This post is part of our Return to Travel Sooner and Safer Series based on the 5 Steps to Return to Business Travel Sooner and Safer e-book.

Your company knows that getting employees back on the road to sell, service, support, or train is paramount to your organization’s success but you must determine how you can do this given the current COVID-19 environment and vaccine roll-out. Previously static factors have become increasingly dynamic and things like borders, vaccines, and self-quarantine requirements can change day to day, state to state, and country to country. Your travel policy can no longer focused on cost savings but instead, health and safety have to lead the way.

Creating a cohesive, aligned return to travel policy document is going to take a lot of work. Here are a few high-level concepts to start help you get cross departmental, cross-functional, and cross-hierarchical input to create true alignment around your priorities in order to return to travel sooner and safer.

Pick your true north

While there is a lot of nuance, your travel decisions have to be primarily driven by a measurable metric that your team and leadership can align around. What will you look at as the “source of truth” when deciding if and when to resume travel?

  • Border Closures
  • CDC/WHO
  • Vaccine Availability
  • Infection Rates
  • Employee Sentiment

Set your goals

You need to get alignment on the goals or objectives that travel moves forward and evaluate proposed trips against their positive impact on those goals.

Classify travel

Use your goal orientation to classify types of trips according to how impactful and critical they are. Create a scale to rank trip types to guide your decisions. For example, a recruiting trip is a 2 (optional) whereas an urgent repair is a 10 (business critical).

Audit your stack

Your travel tech stack worked for your in the ‘beforetimes.’ However, now is the time to take a step back and evaluate the value you are providing to your travelers with your booking tool, TMC, Duty of Care provider, plus other technologies. You need to ensure that these tools will help put your plan in action moving forward.

Prioritize approvals

Once you’ve classified which types of travel are permissible,
deciding who needs to get approval and who is responsible for reviewing and approving travel is key. Once you’ve identified primary approvers (eg. direct managers), it’s important to establish secondary approvers as well, in case the primary approver isn’t available.

Select your data

With so much data available, you need to decide where to receive information and how to make it accessible to your team.  Whether you receive or access information on your intranet, from the WHO, from API integrations, or from your duty of care providers, make sure you data is part of your overall travel program.

Get feedback

COVID-19 has created a once-in-a-lifetime travel environment so there is no precedent on how to manage your travel program through this time. As such, you should regularly poll your travelers and stakeholders to get their feedback and iterate your plan to fit the climate as well as the team.

This post is part of our Return to Travel Sooner and Safer Series based on the 5 Steps to Return to Business Travel Sooner and Safer e-book.

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