Young girl traveler walking with carrying hold suitcase in the airport. Tourist Concept.
For most people, the likelihood of business travel in the near future is minimal. Right now, businesses are rightly focusing on keeping employees safe.
As we prepare the inevitable “new normal,” it’s important to look ahead. Survival for businesses depends on a lot of factors – agility, resilience, cash reserves, sensible borrowing, and the role of government in bailing out groups that need it.
Additionally, there are steps business leaders can take to ensure the long-term health of their companies.
This is important across the whole business, but you can’t underestimate the importance of communication during COVID-19. For worldwide businesses, you should encourage regular two-way communication.
On future trips, employers will need to know where staff are at all times, in case circumstances change and employees need guidance and advice on where it is safe to travel and where they may still be at high risk.
Do you have an internal messaging or communications platform? Do you need to look at automating updates across your workforce? Now that many are working remotely, these are the types of questions that need to be asked.
Check your documents are up to date
This might seem basic, but it’s essential to know where you stand with all your travel documents. You might want to log expiration dates, automate renewal reminders and check with all your offices to see what steps you might need to take.
If you haven’t done so already, check to see if you’ll need to get a REAL ID, another form of identification that will be required for air travel. However, because of Covid-19, the deadline is likely to be extended.
Also, note that Global Entry enrollment is on hold in response to coronavirus. TSA PreCheck is still accepting applications, but that may change.
Clean and organize your travel gear.
Now is a perfect time to clean out your travel gear, including suitcases and laptop bags. As these items have been exposed to many different places, giving them a good cleaning is always wise. You can give yourself some peace of mind by wiping down and disinfecting your bags and luggage.
You can also use this time to put those extra chargers, pens, travel pillows, wrinkle-reducer sprays, headphones, and anything else you might use in one place. Take inventory to determine if there’s anything else you may need to purchase.
Update your profiles.
If you’ve got a stale LinkedIn profile or an old CV, use this time to update it. You may also want to update and change any old photos you may have. That also goes for business cards you have or any other items you may pass along to potential clients or consumers.
Research potential clients or conferences.
If you miss being out and about, planning upcoming travel can help make things at least seem a bit lighter. Do some research on any clients you may want to work with, or markets you may want to target, in the future. Though there is plenty of uncertainty, getting ideas for potential partnerships is always a plus.
This time can also be useful to check for any annual conferences that may be slightly outside of your field but still inspiring or beneficial to the work you do. While many conferences are postponed until further notice, knowing what’s out there can help motivate you. Plus, you may stumble on a digital alternative that you can virtually attend.
Be smart with your budgeting
During this pandemic, many companies across the globe will have experienced some sort of financial impact. Business travel often accounts for a reasonable chunk of an annual budget. Crunch the numbers and be sure to consider a variety of scenarios.
Check your loyalty rewards.
Have a quick look through your travel points and the miles you’ve earned. These expire, so make sure you don’t lose the rewards that can earn you extra benefits, like a free hotel night or flight. Many loyalty reward incentives have their own policies, so it’s a good idea to check the requirements of the ones you use the most.
If you are lucky enough to have banked up lots of rewards, then this can come into your future planning to save on costs down the line.
Fortunately, you don’t have to actually travel to keep an active account. You may be able to take part in the airline or hotel’s dining program to keep your account active, or you may try donating miles to their partners. Doing this not only shows account activity, but it also goes to a good cause.