What is the future of business travel post-pandemic? While personal travel and family vacations seemed to come back in full swing this summer, most pundits predict that a full recovery for corporate travel may take anywhere from 2-3 years. Many experts say business travel will look much different in the future, especially in the near-term as airlines, hotels, and car rental companies work to restore "normal" capacity. We have developed a checklist companies should consider reviewing as travel starts to resume:
- Provide clear guidance/refreshers on travel policies to employees as most have not traveled on the company dime in over a year.
- Check for any outstanding flight credits. Many airline carriers extended usage to two years.
- Revise your company's business travel and expense policy. Your current policy allowances may not take into account the new cost of travel. The price may be higher for rideshares, hotels, rental cars, etc, especially in areas that are popular summer tourist destinations, such as Florida, rates are up more than 50% compared to 2019.
- For mileage reimbursement, consider requiring “Google Maps” route information to validate miles driven. Also, remind employees that car mileage reimbursement for personal vehicles already includes potential fuel costs.
- If your employees require a rental car while traveling, encourage them to secure one prior to booking their airfare. This will help avoid those extra fees if a rental car is not available or too expensive, which could result in the need to cancel the trip.
- Lastly, remind employees to designate their corporate card as the default payment on rideshare apps when traveling to avoid out-of-pocket expenditures
Although, it’s anyone’s guess as to when corporate travel will reach 2019 levels, if ever, with the new Delta variant on the rise. The U.S. Travel Association said in late July that it continued to forecast “a modest return of business travel over the coming months, so the increase in cases has not materially affected our view.” It said it now expected that business travel would “only achieve 50 percent of 2019 levels in the fourth quarter of 2021.”1 With that being said, following these tips can help you and your team configure your company’s controls to best address your your unique spend profile during this unprecedented time and drive a more informed, holistic risk strategy. #SeeItAll
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1August 9, 2021 NY Times Article Business Travels Resumes, Hesitantly