- Cabin class and advanced purchase restrictions were loosened in the six months leading to March 2021
- Travel managers were actively adding ‘out of policy locations’ to prevent employees traveling to potential COVID-19 hotspots
Seattle, Wash., July 13, 2021 – Today Egencia®, business travel management from Expedia Group™, shares the most popular policy changes made by organisations globally over the last six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, from October 2020 to February 2021.
The policy change data provides a powerful insight into how thousands of businesses are adapting their approach to travel in light of the pandemic. It shows that travel managers across the world have made significant changes to travel policy restrictions previously in place for employees, to minimise the risk of travel and put their employee’s welfare first.
“Our data clearly shows that organisations are proactively changing their air, hotel and rail policies to adapt to a highly fluid travel environment,” says Francisca Zanoguera, Vice President of Data and Analytics, Egencia. “It’s more evidence that duty of care is a top priority for companies as business travel ramps up and travel managers plan their organisations business travel strategy.”
Air and rail restrictions loosened
The majority (60%) of policy changes over the period were in air travel. The most popular policy change was to cabin class policies and restrictions. Egencia’s data shows that travel managers allowed their business travellers to upgrade from economy to premium economy or from premium economy to business class, to enhance comfort and reduce risk.
Advance purchase, a policy that controls the number of days a traveller can book before their trip starts, was also frequently updated. Travel managers generally reduced the number of advance purchase days required by their employees to help them navigate the rapidly evolving travel landscape and the need to change plans last minute because of COVID-19. Companies also provided travellers with the flexibility to cancel flights at the last minute.
Trends from air travel were also reflected in rail travel with cabin class and advance purchase policies topping the list of the most frequently adjusted policies. This meant that employees could book seats in more spacious business class carriages to help with social distancing and also buy tickets later, giving them more time to adapt to changes in government restrictions at the destination country.
Travel managers actively adding ‘out of policy locations’
The hotel segment was a fifth (20%) of all policy changes created by travel managers over the period. The most popular changes made were to ‘hotel rate caps’ worldwide which accounted for nearly two thirds (60%) of hotel policy changes. This indicates organisations were prepared to provide a degree of flexibility on hotel room rates in light of the pandemic.
A further 40% of changes within hotel policy focused on ‘out of policy locations’ which control the cities an employee can stay in during their trip. The data suggests that during the time period, travel managers were actively adding out of policy locations to prevent employees staying in potential COVID-19 hotspots.
For more information and advice on business travel policy guidelines, please visit the Egencia’s travel policy page.
All insights are based on the aggregate Egencia customer data captured between 7 Oct 2020 – 19 Feb 2021, in which almost 5,000 policies were created and over 19,000 were updated.
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