11 Steps for a safe return to travel
Travel is back! But we know that health and safety is the top priority for everyone right now. Naturally, some travellers will be worried about getting back on the road. They’ll need more hand holding than normal and together we can renew their confidence in travelling again.
There are steps we can all take to ensure a safe return to travel. 11 steps actually – all outlined in the attached blog. The number one has to be insurance; it’s easy to forget about but it’s so important.
1. Travel insurance
Surprisingly, travel insurance is often a second thought when it comes to corporate travel programs. If the changing nature of travel in the last twelve months has taught us anything, it’s the importance of assurance and insurance. We’ve seen more land and intrastate travel than ever before, and it’s important to know that while your people are on the road, they’re covered.
2. Border declaration and passes
With each Australian state operating on separate sets of rules, it can be a challenge keeping up with the entry requirements for each state. Even more challenging if you’re responsible for several travellers. We encourage you to utilise a one stop shop for travel updates, like Corporate Traveller’s Travel News Hub.
3. Immunisation status and requirements
While domestic travel does not require vaccination, many countries and even airlines such as Qantas have indicated this could be a requirement for international travel. An idea being investigated is a digital vaccination passport that allows people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel, enter venues and attend events. If you’re lucky enough to be crossing international borders, don’t forget to ensure you’ve checked local regulations.
4. Pre-trip COVID test
COVID tests are increasingly becoming part of our day to day life. Alongside checking declaration and pass requirements, ensure you have also completed any pre-trip COVID test requirements. Ensure you’re not travelling from, or into a COVID-19 hot spot by using Corporate Traveller’s travel map.
5. Choosing policy fit, hygiene compliant suppliers
With many lessons learned during the last twelve months, a focus on keeping travellers both safe and happy has outlined the importance of benchmarking your current policy. A big part of this is engaging suppliers with clear hygiene requirements and safety protocols across air, hotel, and transport. Have you considered if the hotels you’re staying in are meeting hygiene standards, or if your travellers know the policy on utilising public transport or Uber for Business?
6. Ground transportation, Uber, cab or public transport
With COVID safe regulations changing from one state to the next, so do the COVID safe requirements for respective ground transport. For example, physical distancing and face coverings on public transport and in rideshare may differ depending on where you are and which rideshare service you utilise. Is it time to mandate a supplier or method to ensure you and your travellers stay safe?
7. Emergency contact and 24/7
Pandemic or not, it’s important to have an internal emergency contact when you’re travelling so you know who to contact if you run into trouble. If you need to get home in a hurry, having someone to call on can alleviate pressure so you can focus on getting home. It’s important to ensure you know your TMC’s 24/7 assist number, or can access assistance via an app any time.
The success of every business comes down to who we partner with; from a travel perspective, the importance of those relationships have been highlighted more than usual in the dynamic environment brought on by the pandemic. It’s not until you’ve experienced the importance of an after-hours service or have your Travel Manager move heaven and earth to get you home, that you truly appreciate the partnerships you have. Having a valuable travel partner means having the security to pick up the phone when you’ve got a question or need help!
Did you know it’s compulsory to wear a mask at all domestic airports and on all domestic flights? Make sure you have adequate masks and some personal hand sanitiser ready for your trip.
10. Check cancellation policies
Many airlines and hotels are now offering free changes and easy cancellation if travel plans need to change last minute (or mid-trip!), however some are still inflexible. If you are booking through a trusted travel partner, they can make sure your bookings are made with the greatest flexibility and inform you of cancellation policies for each part of your trip to make sure you don’t get stuck paying unnecessary fees.
11. Risk policy
The 2020 pandemic highlighted nothing more than the importance of duty of care and traveller safety. Part of this is a trusted supplier with 24/7 assist, the other is evaluating risk and ensuring you’ve got a risk management strategy and duty of care plan in place.