by Seth BUTERA June 14, 2021
We sit at a critical juncture for the future of business travel.
The changes to the way we work and think about duty of care as a result of the pandemic mean the business travel landscape will look very different at the end of this year compared to the start of 2020.
There can be no doubt though that business travel must resume in order for economies to recover, and I have been saying for some time that the travel industry will boom in the second half of 2021.
As the number of people who have received the vaccine increases and conversations progress about how vaccine passports can become a part of the roadmap to reopen international travel, this is beginning to look more of a reality than a hope.
However, we need to make sure that the momentum behind sustainable business travel in 2020 does not stall in 2021.
Before the outbreak of the pandemic, sustainability was a hot topic, as industry players realized we should and could be doing more to bring the environmental impact of business travel down.
COVID-19 has presented an opportunity for a lot of companies to review their travel policies and guidelines to prepare for the reopening of travel later this year, and we need to encourage these companies to make sure sustainability becomes a central guiding principle.
Any suggestion that because travel volumes are down right now means we don’t need to worry about making existing travel more sustainable would be misguided.
Some more transactional interactions will continue to be conducted post-pandemic over Zoom or phone.
But what the last year has taught us is that we need in-person interactions to build trust, relationships, and rapport in the lead-up to these moments.
And we’re likely to see additional new business travel needs arise in the future – for example, the increase in remote working means we will see more internal travel for companies that have moved to a distributed set up.
Travel brands MUST look at their efforts on the sustainability agenda now, during the recovery rather than as a line item to tackle once operations are back to decent levels.
This focus will ensure that some positive action is put in place, as well as brands and their executives with influence over strategy being able to look at people in the year 2030 and say they made the best use of their time and the opportunity a decade before