In a press release from Amadeus, the Spanish travel technology company, the company summarizes a recently conducted business travel survey (accessible through a link) that suggests business travelers are eager to get back on the road, but some things should be in place before they do.
Now that vaccines are more widely available, and expectations growing for international travel to more fully return by year-end 2021, companies with existing or new travel programs, if they have not already done so, should be thinking about how to improve the employee travel experience.
Through ongoing corporate card research, we have been advising about various employee travel preferences for years, so there are some repeatable preferences and now some new ones in the pandemic era. So the desire is there and the survey provides some insight as to what business travelers miss most, which will likely resonate with readers who have been cooped up for a year+.
87% of frequent travelers are keen to travel again for business.
One of the areas that companies have been focusing on for business travel is the duty of care concept, which implies a legal requirement by definition but when applied to business travelers, it means that companies are mitigating risk and ensuring travel safety for their employees. This has been a focus for years but the indicated survey says that employees now expect certain things to be in place for them to feel comfortable returning to business travel.
These things include COVID-19 medical coverage, accurate and available information about destination country restrictions, and a contactless hotel check-in procedure, among other things. We have been advising about demand for contactless payments in corporate cards for years, which pre-pandemic had a surprisingly tepid rate of growth.
That has changed as demand for mobile solutions will be high, which will likely include a high instance of virtual cards. Another area needing improvement is one that has been causing traveling employee dissatisfaction for years; which is the expense management process. The survey indicates that employees spend way too much time on the expense reimbursement process and often lose money in the filing due to lost receipts. Frankly, with today’s technology, this should no longer be an issue.
Interested readers should link out and take a look at the survey.
‘Rudy Daniello, Executive Vice President Corporations, Amadeus commented: “Our findings show that travelers are eager to travel if the right safety measures are in place, which is hugely encouraging for the business travel industry. Whilst vaccination will take time, there are a range of steps corporations and travel companies can take now to protect and reassure travelers….New innovations in mobile payment and expense are coming online that allow travelers to pay contactlessly using their mobile, directly from the company bank account. This removes the need to touch payment terminals or handle paper receipts whilst expense reporting is automated in the background. Travelers can also access information relating to travel restrictions, COVID-19 prevalence and hygiene factors at the point of booking. While it may be difficult now, technological innovations can make business travel even better than it was in 2019.” ‘
Overview by Steve Murphy, Director, Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group