It’s not just tourists and holidaymakers who are desperate to get travelling again – business travellers are also getting increasingly itchy feet, with the corporate travel sector predicted to bounce back earlier than leisure. Whilst we’ve all got used to Zoom calls and virtual conferences and trade shows, we are human beings and, whilst going digital certainly makes life easier, human contact is still the best way to grease the wheels of business and make deeper connections.
A couple of months ago SAP Concur conducted a survey of 4850 business travellers and 800 travel managers in over 20 countries to gauge their current sentiment. You can read an overview of the results here, but here are eRoam’s key takeaways and how our travel technology solution can help business travel managers and travellers take the stress out of their post-COVID trips!
Business Travel is Still Necessary
As we said above, whilst we’ve got used to working from home and doing regular Zoom calls, to establish the deep, trusting relationships required to do business, human contact is essential. And business travellers agree – a huge 92% of them thought that their company’s business would be negatively affected by their inability to travel, with new deals, contracts and sales wins being particularly badly affected. It’s very clear that, as soon as it is feasible and safe to do so, companies will be sending their staff out on the road and in the air to get business back on track.
How Can eRoam Help?
eRoam’s huge travel marketplace gives travel managers access to over a million hotels in over 20,000 destinations, along with flights, transportation, car rental and other services including tours and activities for that all-important downtime. Wherever you’re sending your staff, our platform has the products and the content you need, and our highly intuitive user interface makes it easy to book trips and communicate the details to the end traveller.
Business Travel is Stressful
Whilst the survey found that almost a third of business travellers get excited about making trips, far more find them stressful, with 69% responding that business travel makes them feel worried or anxious. And the part that makes them the most stressed? The trip itself, according to 45% of those surveyed – a 50% increase on last year, which suggests worries about COVID are taking a lot of the fun out of business trips. 26% of respondents find the period before a trip the most stressful, which suggests planning and booking are causing them considerable problems.
How Can eRoam Help?
As we said above, eRoam makes planning business trips a breeze, and the detailed documentation and ticketing functionality means travellers will have all the information they need to make their trip as stress-free as possible. And eRoam’s easy-to-use interface means that if unforeseen events throw a spanner in the works during the trip, it’s easy for travel managers to make changes on the fly and communicate them to the traveller.
Changes & Cancellations Are a Major Pain Point
It has to be said that, overall, the travel industry has not come out of the COVID crisis smelling of roses, with many travellers still awaiting refunds for cancelled flights and holidays, or being told they are not entitled to any refund at all. OTAs are often the worst offenders – it’s very easy to book a flight or a hotel with an OTA, but when it comes to making a change or a cancellation it can be a major headache, and with business travel subject to more changes than leisure, it’s a big issue for travel managers.
How Can eRoam Help?
With eRoam, all your existing partner policies (whether it’s GDSs, wholesalers or direct contracts) are accessible and viewable by travel managers, and changes or cancellations can be done at the touch of a button, with auto-emails sent out to suppliers. This takes the uncertainty out of changes and also reduces the amount of time spent by travel managers on changing or rebooking itineraries.
Business Travellers Want Employers to Do Better
The survey showed that business travellers – and travel managers – think companies could do a lot more to make business travel an enjoyable experience, particularly in these uncertain times. Some 96% of travel managers reported that their company was unable to respond to changing travel demands during the pandemic, and the same percentage expected their company to implement safety measures for travelling staff, including providing masks or other safety wear, making health screenings mandatory, or limiting business travel to essential trips only.
65% of respondents said they would take some sort of action if their company didn’t put new measures in place for the ‘new normal’ of business travel, with 18% saying they would look for a new role altogether if their company didn’t help keep them safe when travelling.
How Can eRoam Help?
We can’t provide masks, but we can provide an easy way to search and book health and safety-conscious airlines and hotels, as well as booking private airport pickups and travel insurance. And our traveller preferences functionality means you can store data against individual business travellers to keep track of any health issues, loyalty schemes or travel preferences that will help you book the right services for them and help them feel safe and valued whilst travelling for the company.
COVID has made an already complex and stressful job – booking business travel – even more difficult and fraught with anxiety, and both travellers and travel managers alike expect their companies to do more to make the process easier. With business travel set to restart in the coming months as more countries reopen, the first step is equipping travel managers with the right tools to book and manage trips more effectively, and let business travellers forget their worries and do what they’re paid to do – go out and build relationships.
You can read more about eRoam for business travel here. To experience for yourself just how easy it is to book itineraries with eRoam, click here to sign up for our free trial!