On the surface of it, this question may seem like a simple yes-no… but it isn’t. Covid-19 isn’t a regional or even a national problem; it’s global. Here in the UK we are experiencing a decline in the numbers of new cases, and of deaths, but worldwide, the pandemic is still prevalent.
So, what does this mean for booking business travel?
It depends on where you want to go, and how. It also depends on what we mean by ‘safe’. Let’s start there.
In most cases right now, business travel bookings come with some enhanced form of refund or voucher option if your trip is cancelled due to Covid-related restrictions. Companies want you to book your travel sooner rather than later and are generally willing to offer some kind of assurance against losing money due to cancellations or restrictions.
Many airlines are offering complimentary date changes for cancelled flights, meaning we can easily postpone your trip to a more suitable date and time.
Airlines are also offering refunds or travel vouchers for those flights which are affected. Via Meon Valley Travel, the refund is generally quick and easy and doesn’t involve sitting on hold to the airlines for hours upon hours
These can be a bit trickier, as quarantine measures have been and will continue to be a moveable feast. Those holding local passports might easily disembark and pass through customs, some from low-risk points of origin might do the same, but those from higher-risk countries may be stopped or quarantined.
Since this is not the doing of the airline, and countries generally publicise these closures and restrictions, airlines are not responsible and may not offer any compensation. The same is true of car hire bookings and hotels.
Personal safety depends on where you are going, mode of travel, and how you (and others) behave while out and about.
Since the pandemic, the travel industry has seen airlines, hoteliers, rail companies and car hire companies have created additional measures to ensure passenger safety.
- Encouraging online check-in, print at home baggage tags
- Minimised terminal access
- Temperature screening
- Sanitation of all touchpoints
- Promotion of self-baggage drop off points rather than staff interaction
- Introduction of mandatory face coverings for passengers and crew
- Reducing catering procedures onboard
- Reducing crew and passenger movement in flight
- More frequent and deeper cabin cleansing
- HEPA filters will continue to provide operating theatre air cleanliness
- Temperature screening on arrival
- Faster baggage reclaim, with social distancing
- Contactless border and customs options
- Reduced contact and physical interaction at check-in
- New cleaning procedures with increased disinfecting frequency of high-touch surfaces, light switches and door handles
- Room Seal to indicate that guest rooms have not been accessed since they were cleaned
- Guest-accessible disinfecting wipes at entrances and high traffic areas
- Enhanced cleaning for fitness centres
- Contactless check-in and check-out with Digital Key at more than 4,700 properties globally
- Evaluation of new technologies like electrostatic sprayers with disinfecting mist and ultraviolet light to sanitise surfaces and objects
- Avoid payment by using Meon Conferma Pay, touchless payment
- Purchase your tickets via Meon as an Eticket or downloaded on your mobile
- Look at travelling off-peak, although trains will have increased carriages for social distancing purposes
- Face coverings for staff and travellers
- More touchless turnstiles
- Enhanced cleaning of all touchpoints
- Enhanced cleaning protocols prior to collection and on drop off
- Cars sealed once cleaned
- Keys cleaned and placed in a secure clear plastic
- Touchless pickup – talk to Meon about walking straight to your car without interacting with car hire staff
Regional / National Travel
Regional travel is perceived as the safest, as you can use your own vehicle or a hire car and may be able to avoid overnight trips.
We are also seeing more hotels open and increased rail services throughout June and July.
International travel options are as varied as the nations themselves.
Most countries are still operating with some limitations as to who can enter the country. Local passport holders are always allowed in, though in some cases with forced quarantines. Those from high-risk countries, such as the UK, are often forbidden altogether unless they are key workers involved in the fight against the virus.
Business travel enquires and travel itself have started to increase and in the everchanging landscape prior to booking do please pick up the phone and speak to one our dedicated consultants for the latest, up to date information for your destination.