A few weeks ago, from the comfort of my home office, I attended the virtual ITM Conference. Conversations over the two days focused largely on the state of the business travel sector during the Covid-19 crisis, with an eye on how we will move forward and recover from it.
The sessions provided much food for thought as to what business travel may look like in the future and how we will have to change the way we operate to adapt to the much discussed ‘new normal’.
But it was an insightful prediction made by Paul Abbott, CEO of Amex GBT, that has resonated with me in particular, in the weeks following the conference:
“Business travel will be much more of an end to end process, more of an event as opposed to a single transaction.”
Traditionally, trips via ground transport have been booked as disjointed transactions, using several different providers. For example, a business traveller might pre-book a taxi over the phone to take them to the train station, paying with cash. Then, for their return journey, they might use a ride-hailing app or take a black cab from the station taxi rank.
As well as being complicated and time-consuming to organise, difficult for employers to monitor, and not vetted under a single travel policy, a journey like this leaves employees with receipts for various legs of their journey which must be individually expensed.
As companies begin to resume normal business activity, trips involving several providers may become entirely infeasible – particularly as hygiene standards cannot be guaranteed. The introduction of new health and hygiene measures within travel policies will mean that travel managers need to be certain that the methods of transport being used by employees are safe.
Single source solution
So how can we remove some of these pain points for travellers, while giving careful consideration to restarting business travel programmes in a safe way and making business travel the end to end process that Paul Abbott suggests?
A single source taxi management solution could bring together various taxi and private hire options to meet a company’s ground transport needs – from pre-booked transfers to get a business traveller from their rural home to a meeting, to an on-demand taxi to get them to their next meeting during rush hour in central London, or home again afterwards.
iGo Corporate Accounts Portal
This is where the iGo Corporate Accounts Portal will truly come into its own – it’s Autocab’s extension into business travel management as the single source taxi solution for corporates.
The Portal brings together all ground transport options offered on the iGo platform, allowing employees to book multiple legs of their journey in one place, under a single travel policy which takes into account new hygiene requirements.
With Autocab launching its Safe Taxi Charter for the taxi industry, employees can be sure that any taxi they take, be it on-demand or pre-book, is adhering to the strict safety and hygiene practices laid out in the Charter.
These include drivers wearing PPE based on government guidelines, the vehicle being frequently cleaned, and the driver regularly sanitising their hands.
The Portal encompasses a number of other invaluable functions, such as instant payment from a corporate account, all on the same invoice at the end of a month, with no need for employees to reclaim expenses. It also provides companies with the ability to set usage restrictions based on factors such as employee seniority level and operating hours.
This end-to-end solution offers certainty that, from leaving home to reaching their final destination, an employee is safe – and should provide the confidence companies need to restart their domestic business travel programme.