Whether you call it a year to remember or a year to forget, 2020 distinguished itself as a true exercise in crisis management and prolonged recovery against the backdrop of a shifting corporate travel landscape. Despite all of the past year’s challenges and uncertainties, never before in modern history have so many industries—and arguably the entire world—been united behind a single mindset and problem-solving focus.
Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic dominated the business travel industry and subsequently our most read Navigator blogs articles of the year. From the beginning, our Precautionary Tips for Coronavirus served as a vital top resource, even if some of those details have since changed as more information became known regarding the virus. To keep our Navigator readers and Direct Travel clients up-to-date, we also launched our Travel Manager Resource Hub and Traveller Info Hub. The value of timely information was a theme of 2020 and will likely continue to be so in 2021.
As you reflect on the past year as part of your strategy for 2021, review these key takeaways from a few of our most popular blog articles of 2020:
The New Normal of Travel Safety
The safety and experience of travellers took front and center stage, both for suppliers and for corporate travel programs. Safety and sanitation measures newly implemented in 2020 mean less person-to-person interactions and—the silver lining—a greater focus on the health and wellness of the traveller. From airports and in-flight cabin procedures to selecting a rental car and mobile hotel check-in, the entire travel journey has pivoted to accommodate touchless technology, social distancing measures and COVID-19 testing. While immunity passports and vaccinations may result in the easing of restrictions further down the road, many of these safety standards are now best practice for the near future. Read More
Flights for Heroes
Although 2020 led to hardships in the world of business travel, the industry also showed a strong commitment to supporting those most impacted: workers on the frontline. Direct Travel helped give back to these workers through our Flights for Heroes initiative, which awarded 100 medical professionals with two roundtrip air tickets for future use. The giveaway was such a success that we launched a second campaign open to all essential workers, Holidays for Heroes. While we wait to announce the winners of Holidays for Heroes, you can revisit the original Flights for Heroes initiative and the nominees that made it so special. Read More
Tracking the Long Term Impact of Unused Tickets
One of the biggest challenges posed by the pandemic was a wave of cancellations that led to unused ticket credits. To tackle the logistics behind how Travel Management Companies (TMCs) managed an increasingly complex pool of waivers and vouchers, we compiled a Q&A with Christine Sikes, Direct Travel’s Executive Vice President of Customer Experience. In the Q&A, Sikes advocates for consolidating spend to ensure the application of consistent technology and practices across the globe rather than chasing partners and processes. Ticket tracking systems also need to be of the scale and size to continue the robotics and keep it efficient. Going into 2021, the millions of dollars in unused tickets from the onset of the pandemic will continue to be a critical component of corporate travel. Read More
A Step-by-Step Checklist for Travellers Returning to the Road
Making sure travellers felt both safe and prepared to travel again proved to be an essential first step for businesses preparing to resume travel. Our step-by-step checklist walked travellers through the new experiences and safety measures they should expect to encounter throughout each stage of the travel process. Travelling in 2021 will likely hold some changes in store, but most of these tips will continue to serve as a guiding point of reference. Read More
The 4 S’s Critical to Resuming Business Travel
Once travellers felt confident and comfortable returning to the road in 2020, the next challenge to tackle concerned re-grouping and researching to ensure effective outcomes when resuming corporate travel negotiations. Donna Brokowski, Direct Travel’s Executive Vice President of Global Supplier Management and Consulting, tackled these components in her blog article focused on the 4 S’s of business travel: Spend, Supply, Safety and Security. Brokowski’s approach used in tandem with our Back to Business Travel workbook can help you set your travel program on a path for success in 2021 and beyond. Read More
The changes ahead in 2021 are both exciting and daunting. With multiple vaccines now making their way to the market and travel ticking up to its highest levels since the pandemic began, the future ahead looks bright and promising. No matter what 2021 holds, making it across the finish line of 2020 is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Cheers to the New Year and—if you haven’t already—subscribe to Direct Travel’s Corporate Travel Newsletter to stay connected to the last business travel news on a monthly basis.