It’s time to face up. We’re not going back to the way it was. When all of this started, we thought it would. Recent GoldSpring Surveys support this. At the end of March, the majority of those polled thought that travel would resume by the end of June. The latest polls say after July.
And when travel does resume, it clearly won’t be at the levels we knew.
So what do we do?
Accept the unknown. Accept that no one knows how this is going to play out. Rather than trying to figure out what’s next, focus on your next steps. Don’t let the unknown become the undone. There’s still plenty to do.
Plan now. Now is the time to plan. Even though it seems like much is unknown, there is
historical data, and dynamic ways of monitoring and planning for employee travel. Take stock of what you do know. Mandates will become more prevalent and help you control your program and support your preferred suppliers. Your relationships with suppliers are key, as you will likely need to renegotiate agreements to match the new reality.
Partner smart. Align yourself with people who can help you move quickly and shift direction if needed. Trusted relationships, flexible suppliers, supportive managers, and willing travelers will all play critical roles in the coming months. Find your advocates.
Make decisions. While no one knows how this is going to play out, it will play out. Be proactive. Time is passing quickly, and you will be expected to have answers. Shore up your TMC agreements, renegotiate with suppliers, and get clarity on duty of care.
Be agile. Yes, make decisions, but also be flexible and agile, and be prepared to think on your feet. The way we have always done it probably won’t work. Formality is out the window, so you have plenty of room to maneuver.
Embrace technology. Digital applications have appreciated the largest jump in usage in the past few months. They’re not going away. Entirely new platforms and new ways of interacting have become mainstream, from video calls to grocery shopping and virtual schooling. We will see the impact on travel.
Take chances. Now is the time to shine. Travel and, therefore, travel managers are in the spotlight. Use this time to try something new and different. You can transform and test out new program initiatives while usage and impact are low.
Be open. Open two-way lines of communication with your audience. We are relying on each other to reinvent the future path. More than ever, people appreciate dialogue, honesty and openness. Communicate sooner rather than later.
It will be my turn to contribute to our blog again in the fall. It will be interesting to look back and see how much of the above I will have embraced myself. I’m sure I will surprise myself and be surprised as well by whatever course business travel takes between now and then.