As the pace of recovery now rapidly quickens for the travel and tourism industry, after the death grip of Covid at its worst, it is interesting to me to note that certain new trends have emerged in business travel, with one particularly significant one being the necessity to look after one’s people when travelling. It is heart-warming to see that both business and leisure travel are alive and well (making Bliesure travel an even more attractive prospect than ever before) and are now seen by corporate heads as a vital part of business development – and by employees as the biggest perk of all!
Duty of care
I read with great interest an excellent article from BCD travel in which it is stated that in a world more susceptible to more elements of risk than have ever been seen before “Travel programs must incorporate or adjust their strategies for managing an expanded definition of duty of care”. It is vital that employees take steps to ensure the competent management of risk. 5 steps, in all, are cited in the article where they are more detailed but in essence, they are: to determine who is most at risk; identify where there are the most significant travel threats; define risk levels in collaboration with safety and security teams and the appropriate actions needed in response to risk events; develop risk standards and guidelines for employees, and finally to educate and communicate with employees about the dangers they may face anytime and anywhere.
Traveller well-being is now prioritised
The article goes on to talk about travellers’ well-being as also being a priority in today’s business travel environment. It is my experience that the higher up the food chain you are the more your well-being is considered but, without any doubt, corporate heads are now seeing the importance of ensuring that not only duty of care is implemented, but traveller well-being as a whole is practiced. Travel perks, Bliesure travel and the personal choices of the employee when travelling now have to be taken seriously when it comes to headhunting and the retention of top staff. If these were important to the Millennials, it appears the are even more important to the emerging Generation Z workforce, so they cannot be ignored.
With a little effort and consultation with your TMC, simple things can make all the difference to making a valued employee feel special when travelling for business. Choosing hotels near or with gyms, health orientated hotels and business accommodations that are in the hub of leisure activities all encourage staff to spend an extra day and explore the area. As an example, my staff are about to embark on a cruise for business purposes but I have given them an extra day to spend in Barcelona. It is a free day of leisure so that they will have more fun and an enriched experience.
Don’t underestimate the assistance of the travel consultant!
My next article will unpack and look a little more closely at Bliesure travel, travel perks and travel preferences, but for now, if I can just give a word of advice it is this – working closely with your travel consultant is a must for those who see duty of care and traveller well-being as important. They can be invaluable in assisting with all points made in this article and in particular with arranging business trips that incorporate leisure time, accommodations and activities to reward those who are important to your organisation.
The airfare is already paid for, so with the little extra time it takes you to liaise with your travel professional make your people feel valued. As leaders, we need to realise that our organisation revolves around the quality of our people and if it takes a little more effort to recruit and retain them it is well worth it. Without a doubt, post-Covid, as we enter a new era of travel, duty of care and traveller well-being are no longer nice to have’s – but a priority!LIDIA FOLLI
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER