Brent Blake, President, Acendas Travel
NOTE: Acendas Travel President Brent Blake and Senior Vice President Joe Curtis sat down to discuss their outlook for travel in 2021. Watch the video here.
I won’t spoil it and give away all of the plot in the aforementioned video, but let’s just say things will be a bit different when it comes to travel in 2021.
And by different, I mean it won’t be business as it once was for companies and their associates — and for that matter, travel management companies as well. In fact, I believe 2021 will be a litmus test of sorts for Acendas Travel and its peers because the needs of you, the client, have changed.
When I first got in the travel business some 30 years ago, agencies were all about the transaction. We were here to get you an airline ticket, reserve a rental car and book you a hotel room. Then, as technologies evolved, agencies were helping clients save money on travel, be more efficient in their booking activities, and monitoring traveler movement in order to minimize disruption.
Today, as companies look to return the friendly skies with greater frequency, they’ll likely have many questions. What will flight availability look like? What hotel options remain? What are the masking and distancing requirements? What documentation is necessary for Covid testing or vaccination in order to travel? Additionally, I don’t think there is any doubt companies will have a heightened concern for the safety and health of their employees when they go out on the road.
Therefore, travel management companies will need to be more consultative in their approach. This is actually something we noticed immediately after the pandemic hit. We were asked about unused ticket management; support for a more entailed pre-trip approval process; real-time updates on airline policies, travel restrictions, passport processing, vacation options and more. As companies began to dip their toes back in the travel waters, it was as if they were tethered to us as their life line.
There is no denying that the pandemic has been devastating and disheartening. But with the approval of vaccines, the light at the end of the tunnel is a ray of sunshine. It won’t mean travel will return with the flip of a switch, but at least we know the unknown is no longer. It is a tremendous credit to our medical research community we are at this point.
I shudder to think about how those companies without managed travel will cope in 2021. So much has changed and so many questions remain unanswered. Without the proper support, the travel experience could be laden with stress. Thankfully, our close industry ties, our standing as the small to medium enterprise brand for BCD Travel, an industry-leading technology platform and a dedicated team is prepared to help you get to your destination with little to no problems.
We know there will be questions and we are here to answer them.