Handling business travel during a pandemic
The Novel Coronavirus, now known as the COVID-19, a pandemic that hit the world in January 2020 has given a shock to the world economy. Its impact on the travel industry has been a disastrous one, along with other industries like airlines, hotels, F&Bs, and on global businesses which require a lot of momentum across the world. Once its effects started to become widely visible, organisations around the globe started activating their risk management to mitigate the impact on their business and employees.
Corporate Traveller’s Approach
- Constant monitoring and assessment of the situation
- Regularly updating clients of travel advisory
- Actively tracking clients travelling
- Constant communication about risks
- Round the clock availability of consultants for travellers
Corporate Traveller’s response mechanism
During this period, Corporate Traveller (CT) has been actively involved with its clients who were either already travelling or those who were scheduled to be travelling. Following travel trends with attention and detail, Corporate Traveller quickly realized the gravity of the situation and activated their crises management with highest priority for clients who were travelling. For all clients and travellers, whether travelling or not, a more regular update process was put in place to that customers could always be well informed and kept up to date on the events as they unfolded during the crises.
Corporate Traveller began to receive travel alerts about clients who were travelling, and they quickly started reaching out to each traveller while actively tracking their movement with the single aim of getting them back safely. As India and other countries of world started closing their borders to control the spread of the pandemic, Corporate Traveller helped many travellers get back in time in compliance with changing government policy and visa rules.
Corporate Traveller was constantly in touch with clients who were travelling internationally and once they started sending out specific advisories, they started receiving calls from many clients who requested immediate action. While the Emergency Support Team worked endlessly to resolve all issues effectively, the corporate offices at all local levels also got involved in helping clients mobilise.
Below are two accounts which showcase the swift action Corporate Traveller took during the crises to bring travellers back and help mitigate the risks that could have impacted safety and wellbeing of its customers.
Getting travellers back home safely in time
With the onset of Covid – 19, government of India started making changes to travel policy for inbound and outbound travellers. They ordered flight restrictions and issued an advisory which stated that no international flight would arrive in India after 22nd March. One of Corporate Traveller’s clients, a top IT firm, had an employee travelling in Tampa along with his family who wanted a flight connection back to India asap so that they could reache India before 22nd March. Corporate Traveller’s Emergency Travel Support team and local corporate office immediately started working on a plan to bring the travellers back.
Corporate Traveller’s response
Corporate Traveller’s travel consultant directly received a call from the client in Tampa around 9.30 pm on 20th March requesting a way out quickly. With the Emergency Travel Support team already working on various requests, the local team quickly got involved and started working on flight options. The first step was to make the travellers and their organisation feel comfortable and assure them that Corporate Traveller’s team would take care of their return request.
This was a difficult situation because seats were not available on any flight to India. Corporate Traveller also realised that they needed to avoid their transit in certain countries to comply with Government of India’s travel advisory. After continuous monitoring, Corporate Traveller managed to get three seats with competitive fares and blocked the tickets. Since the concerned airline was giving immediate time-limit to issue the ticket, the responsible travel consultant took the quick decision to do a conference call with the employee and his organisation and booked tickets on the spot.
Corporate Traveller managed to get back all the travellers safely in time to India by 22nd March. With constant monitoring of the situation, assessing all the risks involved, and timely coordination with the airline as well as the passenger, Corporate Traveller took swift action in finding the best possible way out.
Bringing travellers back before borders closed
The Covid-19 pandemic led to a chaotic situation after the Government of India started closing its international borders and issuing strict travel advisory. Corporate Traveller started getting increasing number of enquiries on 16th March post office hours, when the government issued an advisory restricting entry of travellers from European Union, Turkey and United Kingdom starting from 18th March. One of Corporate Traveller’s top logistics and automation solution client had about 8 – 9 employees who were travelling in these regions and were supposed to return to India from Amsterdam after 18th March from their offshore assignment. The situation with was made difficult because of immediate action required at a time where there was unavailability of seats. Most travellers from Amsterdam preferred to come back by direct flights which caused acute shortage of tickets.
Corporate Traveller’s response
Corporate Traveller’s consultants worked endlessly after office hours to monitor Amsterdam-India flights and kept coordinating with the travellers and their managers to book required seats. Finally, the travel consultants decided to take each traveller along with their manager on call. They managed to explain the whole situation and on priority internal cost approvals were taken following which return tickets were secured quickly. Corporate Traveller finally closed the situation by 3 am and secured the exit for all employees. Each employee was also sent a communication which explained safety measures, screening methodologies at different airports during arrival and a guide to possible quarantine scenarios.
Corporate Traveller was able get the client back to India before 18th March, all this at an economical rate and by avoiding their transit through countries which were restricted as per government’s advisory. Corporate Traveller not only procured better connection for travellers, but their quick actions and caring approach also helped comfort anxious travellers during the crisis.