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May 11, 2020

Business Travel News for the Week: May 11

Samantha Shankman
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News
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May is turning into an eventful month as U.S. and international cities take steps towards reopening and airlines and hotels establish new practices to maintain the health and safety of travelers around the world. These are the weeks that we’ve been preparing for, and TripActions is here to help you and your colleagues get back to business, safely.

Last week the TripActions podcast explored the topics and challenges on the mind of HR professionals as they care for employees returning to the offices and the skies. The TripActions Community discussed how business travelers can better their mental and physical health while grounded in order to bring greater productivity and purpose to business trips in the future.

Meanwhile, the industry is starting to publicly talk about the formalized steps that companies and staff are taking to ensure the health and safety of customers. We’re encouraged to see the level of detail and thought that is going into these strategies.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on the evolving situation, please look to the WHO Situation Reports and CDC. You can also find the latest on the TripActions Community and within the coronavirus report in the TripActions Admin Dashboard.

You can check out past weekly news roundups here. Now, here’s the top news of the week:

Young People are Keen to Fly Again, Says Airline Boss [BBC]

Despite the fact that coronavirus travel restrictions remain in place around much of Europe, Wizz Air resumed some routes with new in-flight protocols: No food or magazines, some empty seats, deep cleans each night.

Wizz Air CEO and founder József Váradi says they're selling around 75% of seats on flights at the moment and suggests people are now flying to visit relatives, to travel to their second homes, or because "they just want to break out of the current lockdown". The Hungarian entrepreneur expressed frustration that there is still no set of international common standards for measures which should be adopted on board aircraft and at airports to limit the spread of the virus.

IHG Anticipates Guests Will Flock to Brands [Hotel Management]

IHG CEO Keith Barr is confident that guests “are going to want to stay in the biggest branded hotels” when they are able to travel again. Speaking on a call for the group’s trading update, Barr suggested that customers’ preference and trust of branded hotels will impact home-sharing platforms, weaker brands, and independent hotels.

Hong Kong Airport Tests Full-Body Disinfection Booths [Business Traveller]

Dubbed “CleanTech”, airport staff and potentially passengers would enter the booth for 40 seconds for “disinfection and sanitizing procedures”. Business travelers and corporate travel managers thinking through their return to business travel will work with technologies such as these to ensure the skies are as safe as possible.

USTA Sets Guidelines for Travel in ‘New Normal’ [Connect Association]

The U.S. Travel Association last week outlined broad guidelines for how the industry should act in the “new normal” as leisure and business travel rebound. The organization encouraged hotels, convention centers, and other points of sale to implement touchless solutions such as virtual payments to limit the opportunity for transmission while also providing a positive travel experience.

Signs of Optimism Emerge in Latest GBTA Survey [4Hoteliers]

New research issued by GBTA found that most companies are planning a recovery for 2020 with one in three companies planning for a recovery in three months or less. “GBTA members are planning their post-coronavirus recovery plans and most expect to be operational in 2020. This is a positive sign. The majority of GBTA member companies expect domestic business travel to resume in the next 2-3 months and most expect employees will be willing to travel,” said Scott Solombrino, GBTA CEO.

For more news and actionable insights from the business travel community, subscribe to Open for Business: A Corporate T&E Podcast Powered by TripActions on your favorite podcast platform.

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