Since the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic, travel including business travel has come to a halt. It was acknowledged that the virus is highly likely to spread across the globe as people continue to travel.
While the vast majority of industries have felt the blow of this travel ban, the hardest hit has been the travel and tourism industry. Most firms have cancelled long-planned seminars, conferences, business meetings, shows, and there are strict restrictions on any other form of business travel. The vast majority of people are now working from home.
Some Business Trips are Still Being Undertaken, but It Isn’t Easy
Some employees are still taking essential business trips but are faced with strict checks, and in some countries, they need to get a COVID-19 test before boarding a plane. The global-wide panic has also meant that even essential travellers are stuck for the time being.
Now if you are of two minds about travelling, i.e. taking a business trip, there are a few things you’ll want to consider. If there is no way to do that business without travelling, then you should travel, but if you can do the same thing online, over the phone or through a third party, then those options should be considered.
Work on Building a Stronger Online Presence
Do you have blogs, a website and are you available via Zoom or Skype for a video conference or meeting for that matter? If you have business interests in lets’ say Latin America, do you have a Spanish blog, have people who can communicate with clients in Spanish via zoom or skype? If you don’t, then these fronts should be shored up right now.
It is estimated that a growing number of businesses would rather deal with suppliers, dealers and wholesales virtually. Having a team that can speak and write in their native language is a big bonus. Many businesses are already doing it because it minimizes if not eliminates the need to travel.
Are You Working During Their Working Hours?
Now if you can’t travel, it does not mean you can’t work when it is daytime on the other side of the world where you do business. While you can always man the graveyard shift yourself, what’s better is to have people who do it for you. Ideally, you’ll want managers and agents who understand the culture as well as speak the language.
Businesses in the B2B space would also want to invest in people who can work during those waking hours. Having a couple of employees who are bilingual so that they can also work as translators on your behalf wouldn’t be a bad idea. But again – what’s better is to have people who do it for you. You will save time, energy (for your team) and your clients will appreciate it. Try translation companies in that regard.
What to Do till Business Travel Resumes?
It is a question we get asked a lot and frankly there is a lot you can do. Above is just a few things that most businesses can take advantage of while they can’t travel. Other aspects you might want to consider is social media, visual communication i.e. videos and pictures, etc. Not only is doing this going to be good for client communication but also advertising and marketing.