Covid resets corporate travel policies
THE Covid crisis has not quite killed off the business trip as was predicted early on in the pandemic, but it has triggered a reset of corporate travel policies with more emphasis on the environment and employee wellbeing.
Already a host of large companies have committed to less business travel in the years ahead, including Pfizer, Hersheys and Deutsche Bank, while confectionary giant Mars has adopted the mantra that travel should be “for purpose not presence”.
Surprisingly perhaps, the Global Business Travel Association’s
Australia and New Zealand director Tony O’Connor thinks those companies are on the right track.
Despite representing agencies that book business travel for the private and public sector, Mr O’Connor said the pandemic had forced a muchneeded rethink of the work trip. “Prior to the pandemic the travel policy was something of a dormant document, a policy that was only revisited every few years or so,” he said.
“Now it’s going to be much more active, constantly updated. This really is our opportunity to rebuild better and cut travel right down to make it more efficient and to reduce its (environmental) damage.”
Melissa Elf, Australian general manager of corporate travel company FCM, said they were expecting a 20 per cent reduction in business travel as a result of a major pandemic reset.
“Our customers are certainly telling us they need to get back on planes but there’s more awareness now of the importance of looking after their people and the need for sustainable travel,” she said.
Corporate Travel Management managing director Jamie Pherous said demand for sustainable travel was strong, particularly among European clients. He said being seen to be a responsible citizen was fast becoming as important as a company’s balance sheet.
But he said the company was seeing no sign of a decline in demand for business travel in markets that had opened up: “Our domestic travel in places like China, New Zealand, even Western Australia, is greater than it was pre-Covid.”