September 26, 2021

Business travel in a post-pandemic world

Longer immigration queues, certificates of immunity, and hand gels in hand luggage will be just some of the new realities of business travel after the pandemic has passed, according to experts in the sector.

Sharing his predictions for a post-Covid world, Avi Meir, Co-founder and CEO of Barcelona-based TMC TravelPerk, believes that alongside stringent new entry requirements and additional carry-on items, in the short-term travel will become more defined by purpose.

“Any business travel will need to be strictly validated as an economic activity, with companies tightening the numbers of employees who travel for them,” he said.

“Countries will likely only open their borders where there is merit and it’s safe to let travellers through. This may mean temporary visas and more documentation that you’ll need to take with you when travelling.”

More travellers will also wear masks and, in order to reassure travellers, airlines will start sharing information about their in-flight air quality in their advertising. Many began emailing customers about their filtration systems in the early days of the pandemic.

Meir also predicts that once lockdowns in Europe are lifted, people will be more inclined to take a train, because they are ‘less crowded, have windows that open and are more environmentally friendly’.

Meanwhile, some in the industry are expecting a shift towards private air travel.

“With more consumers wary of returning to crowded commercial flights, we’re predicting an uptick in first or business class flyers shifting to flying private,” said Ian Moore, VistaJet Chief Commercial Officer

Luxury apartment group, AKA, believes business travellers will be looking for higher levels of cleanliness, space and security. Larry Korman, President and Co-CEO, said: “Our feeling is that travellers will now be more selective and think more carefully about details in service, cleanliness, space, size and security – whereas in the past, price may have driven a traveller to sacrifice on some of these key elements.”

Sonia Michaels, Head of Business Travel Services & Events for travel agency consortium The Advantage Travel Partnership, predicts there could be more use of conference call technology, which has been heavily relied upon during the crisis, but believes face to face business will still be regarded as essential.

“It is however likely that the entire supply chain will come under scrutiny and existing processes and policies will be questioned,” she said.