Press release: You’re in Gauteng and need to travel for business. Now what?

Travel management companies can help travellers with the right paperwork to travel during Covid-19 Alert Level 4.

Companies in Gauteng were forced to relook their corporate travel policies this week as President Ramaphosa banned all non-essential travel in and out of the province as part of the adjusted Level 4 lockdown.

“Because of the burden of infections in Gauteng, travel in and out of the province for leisure purposes will be prohibited. This does not include work, business or commercial travel, transit through airports or for the transport of goods,” the President said.

The announcement comes as South African companies were actively hitting the road again. Oz Desai, general manager at Corporate traveller, explains especially SME’s started travelling again before anyone else for one simple reason: they can’t afford not to.

“There is no financial buffer or rainy-day fund. They need to get back to normal. A business’s competitive edge is often reliant on building relationships with suppliers or partners through more face-to-face meetings, negotiating deals, and exploring opportunities – all of which is very difficult over Zoom,” said Oz.

Although Adjusted Level 4 allows for business travel in to and out of the province, it has added an extra layer of complexity and insecurity to business travels. For Oz, this is where travel experts and TMCs can prove their worth.

“The team at Corporate Traveller predicts that unmanaged travel could become a thing of the past for most companies – as we’re seeing a significant shift from unmanaged, DIY travel to using the services of an experienced TMC. This is because, worldwide, the post-Covid travel landscape remains challenging,” said Oz.

According to Oz, TMCs can help travellers with the right paperwork for travel; select the best routes; book the best fares; source safe, vetted accommodation; and identify areas in which to make savings.

TMCs can help:

1. Put the right paperwork at your fingertips
Do you need Form 4, Form 7 or Form 6 of Annexure A or B of the gazette? Paperwork can add unnecessary stress to your travellers’ busines trips.

Corporate Traveller has made your life easier with a handy tool that allows you to create a business travel permit for travel to and from Gauteng in a few easy steps.

2. Create a flexible and nimble travel policy
All companies, no matter how small, can benefit from having a simple travel policy in place. But, any travel policy during these unpredictable times needs to be flexible and nimble.

“Today you need to relax the restrictions in your travel policy to include flexible, refundable fares – and allow for last-minute travel. But importantly, you also need to prioritise your travellers’ needs. This might mean booking serviced apartments with strict health protocols and fewer guests, reviewing transport suppliers, or prioritising same-day travel if individuals would prefer to get home,” said Oz.

4. Deliver tangible savings
Another benefit of a TMC? Impressive buying power which helps secure the best available rates and exclusive deals – generally out of reach for companies with an unmanaged travel programme. TMCs can also identify areas for savings, be it using serviced apartments instead of hotels, travelling at off-peak times, or identifying loyalty schemes with airlines, hotels and restaurants.

5. Prioritise Duty of Care
Although smaller companies are more flexible in terms of decision-making and the ability to get up and go, this does not mean that staff wellbeing and duty of care is not important.

“SMEs care just as much about the safety of their staff as larger multi-nationals,” says Oz, “But it is harder for smaller companies to look after their duty-of-care obligations without the support of a TMC. Business travellers are entering a dynamic, ever-changing environment. As different destinations ease or reintroduce lockdown measures, so regulations and requirements change. A travel expert will stay on top of the Covid situation in each country, providing you with up-to-the-minute information and advice – as well as tracking your travellers to ensure they can be brought home quickly if need be.”

6. Bring experience and 24-hour support to the table
By partnering with a TMC, companies will also have access to the latest tech combined with the backing of a professional travel expert. According to Desai, platforms such as Corporate Traveller’s Your.CT offer travellers and travel managers access to customised dashboards, pre-trip approval, booking options, profile management, traveller tracking, travel alerts and reporting. “Of course, it’s backed by 24-hour support, which means even clients who prefer to book themselves, have immediate access to a dedicated account manager when needed,” concludes Oz.