Do you believe in yesterday?
"The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic". Peter Drucker
Management Guru Peter Drucker's famous quote articulates the current crisis very well. The pandemic has leapfrogged business travel clients into a more digitised world within weeks - something experts only estimated would happen into the 2030s.
Those that are still waiting for "business-as-usual" and preparing to work with yesterday's mindset, will be of little use in the huge crisis faced around the world in 2021 and onwards.
Many organisations, particularly in the travel industry, initially furloughed the majority of their staff. Now, more than 50% have been made redundant. The strategy of many is batten down the hatches and sit on cash, waiting for "the return".
However, there are also many SMEs and startups - arguably more agile - who are using zero-based thinking to build new commercial and operational models, fit for purpose in a post-pandemic world.
They are actively engaged with clients (and prospects), to design digital solutions blended and enhanced by concierge-style services that will flex with their needs in a drastically changed market.
The added bonus? There will be no shortage of highly-skilled and experienced staff - literally the crème de la crème - available and ready to be employed by these forward-thinking businesses.
Time to Reset
Travel Managers and buyers are working tirelessly to evaluate the evolving landscape, revising and resetting for "what if?" scenarios, as travel volumes remain stagnant throughout 2020. The business travel standstill and suspension of all but essential travel means that the situation remains unpredictable for the months ahead.
This does, however, create opportunities to re-evaluate the effectiveness of the current travel program and to reset or even restructure, ready for the return to travel. Travel Managers are now working more closely with HR, Risk Management, Legal and Compliance departments, introducing new initiatives that have C-level approval and support.
Blending, the New Virtual Reality
Times have changed - virtual is now a reality, duty of care is centre-stage, compliance is justifiable and, sustainability is paving the way for a new era in travel.
The new look travel program will blend all of these new priorities in order to manage the liabilities of resuming business travel in an environment dominated by virtual meetings, safety, hygiene, health and personal wellbeing.
This illustration follows the process of organising a business meeting whether it's internal or external, formal or informal. This visual map shows the flow from pre-approval by the budget holder or department head, through to purpose of meeting, company policy and eventual method used to conduct the meeting.
The blended approach illustrates a continuum of digital, virtual and face-to-face interactions - which is a cycle becoming more popular for both internal and external meetings.
Every organisation has its own vision, goals and culture, so this is not a one-size-fits-all but a template built around government, corporate and traveller sentiment in 2020.