German travel union rallies providers to ensure safe, convenient return to business travel across the country
Depending on where you are at the moment, going on a business trip may seem about as appealing as a picnic at a Covid-19 testing center. But for much of the world, business travel has resumed with pleasantly little fuss. Turns out, business travel providers have gone to great lengths to ensure that.
For much of the world, it's back to business as (un)usual.[i]
A safe and convenient experience
If you're in Europe, chances are your company has resumed it's business travel - at least in a limited, prioritized fashion. That's certainly the case in AirPlus' home country of Germany, where the German Travel Management Association - or VDR (Verband Deutsches Reisemanagement) - has taken on the responsibility of making sure business trips are as stress-free and sterilized as possible.
The organization has rallied its legions of airlines, hotels, railroads, car rental companies, and more to adopt its wide-reaching hygiene and service concepts. The centralized management effort has helped vastly diverse providers join forces to best meet the extraordinary requirements of post-pandemic business travel, and has seen Germany pave the way for business trip convenience in the new normal.
A joint campaign
Like most everywhere else, the coronavirus pandemic paralyzed travel across German swiftly and suddenly in the first months of the year. According to the VDR, over 40 percent of companies had banned business trips without exception by late March.[ii] Much of the rest opted not to travel anyway.
Around that time, the VDR formed a dedicated task force called "Restart Business Travel" that focused first and foremost on sending a unified message to as many of its relevant members as possible: ensure the return of business travel by making it safe and convenient. And that would only be possible together.
According to VDR President Christoph Carnier, the importance of business travel extends beyond maintaining client relationships in person. It can be an economic necessity. This could explain why the business world has been so eager to resume their travel programs at the very earliest availability. We haven't yet reached pre-pandemic figures, but, says Carnier, "the trend is clearly on the rise."
Duty of care
It's the responsibility of every employer to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its employees. That goes for business travel as well, which attracts heightened scrutiny in the post-pandemic era. Before traveling, here are a few VDR-recommended questions to ask yourself and your company:
- How high is the risk of infection where I'm traveling?
- Can I board planes, trains, or rental cars without worry?
- What regulations are in place where I am and where I'm going, and what hygienic measure have been taken by the local industry?
- Where can I find relevant information?
The coronavirus has far from spelled the end of business travel.[iii]
A role model of business travel
Traveling at the drop of a hat, as in the days before the pandemic, is clearly an unrealistic expectation in such a volatile geopolitical environment - as anyone who's had to change their vacation plans this year can attest. But for businesses and their travelers, security is the top concern. Thanks to the concerted, organized effort of the VDR and its industry members, business travel in Germany has become a model for the post-pandemic world.
[i] Photo by Briana Tozour on Unsplash
[iii] Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash