A focus on duty of care has prompted companies to allow their travellers to upgrade on flights and rail journeys during the pandemic, according to research by Egencia.
Based on data captured between October 7 2020 and February 19 2021, in which almost 5,000 policies were created and over 19,000 were updated, Egencia found the majority (60%) of policy changes were in air travel.
The most popular policy change was to cabin class policies and restrictions, with data showing that travel managers allowed their travellers to upgrade from economy to premium economy or from premium economy to business class, to enhance comfort and reduce risk.
This trend was also reflected in rail travel with travellers allowed to book seats in more spacious business class carriages.
The data also showed travellers were allowed to buy tickets later, giving them more time to adapt to changes in government travel restrictions.
Companies also provided travellers with more flexibility to cancel flights and trains at the last minute.
Meanwhile, companies also made changes to their policies relating to hotel rate caps worldwide, showing organisations were prepared to provide a degree of flexibility on hotel room rates in light of the pandemic.
Other key changes related to out-of-policy locations, suggesting that during the pandemic travel managers were actively adding out-of-policy locations to prevent employees staying in potential Covid-19 hotspots.
“Our data clearly shows that organisations are proactively changing their air, hotel and rail policies to adapt to a highly fluid travel environment,” says Francisca Zanoguera, Vice President of Data and Analytics at Egencia.
“It’s more evidence that duty of care is a top priority for companies as business travel ramps up and travel managers plan their organisations business travel strategy.”