The travel and tourism industry is undoubtedly one of the most affected by Covid-19, a global emergency that has not spared even the corporate travel branch.   

With mandatory quarantine imposed on travellers, ever-changing global restrictions, and flights being increasingly cancelled by the airlines, managing business travel after the pandemic outbreak has become a real challenge. Remaining close to its travellers, BizAway has kept monitoring the spread of the virus, whilst providing constant support and advice.

No one could expect the situation to escalate so rapidly and to such extent — every day has been a new challenge —  but we can proudly say to have successfully left the worst behind us.

Repatriations: a safe journey home  

Since the virus was declared a pandemic, we have mobilized to help travellers reach their home countries.

Starting from Italian nationals who have found themselves respectively stuck between Spain, Germany and Poland, we have coordinated the repatriation of 267 travellers — 121 of them were Italian, 108 Spanish and the remainder came from different countries worldwide.    

Communication with travellers and their managers has been extremely prompt and efficient — this was made possible thanks to BizAway’s technological matrix. An immediate response has been granted to all travellers via email, over the phone, or through the chat tool always available on platform. 

Two out of the many repatriation cases proved to be extremely complex:

One is that of Cimolai’s Travel Manager, Martina Capovilla: she had to urgently repatriate one of their employees from Ireland. The only solution seemed to be taking a flight to Rome, where the lockdown restrictions had just been enforced by the government, and the traveller would find himself stuck and with no means of reaching Venice, his final destination. Martina has then reached our travel consultants, who have managed to find a direct flight to Venice on that same day.

We have contacted the embassies and all the accountable entities, to provide for information that was reliable and constantly updated. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has been a particularly useful source, along with Viaggiare Sicuri, which was often recommended to travel managers to help them monitor the spread of the Coronavirus worldwide. TripsGuard also keeps being regarded as a valuable source of information when it comes to border openings and the specific health measures adopted by each country (from the mandatory use of face masks to severe lockdowns and the regulation of public transport). 

On a second occasion, BizAway has revealed to play an important role in the repatriation of one client who was trying to reach his hometown in Poland but was struggling to find a flight from Italy, where he was working when the restrictions had begun to tighten up. He contacted us on March 14th after his original flight had been cancelled by the airline. We have booked him on the next available flight, which was scheduled to depart 2 days later, but it happens that this one gets cancelled, too. At this point, an ever-growing number of airlines were starting to impose severe reductions on their flight schedules and it was rumoured that Italian airspace would soon be closed to traffic. Poland, on the other hand, was still allowing residents and commercial flights to be carried: an emergency flight was then arranged to depart on March 17th, carrying our client, together with many other passengers that were finally making their way home.

Prevention is the key – office included! 

BizAway also keeps being close to its employees, by implementing new measures to lower the risk of contagion:

  • Smart working: for a technology company like ours, adapting to the work-from-home solution has come naturally —tools such as Slack and Skype have made it possible for us to actively maintain the communication between departments, while still providing support to our clients as if we were in the office. To keep our morale up through the toughest of times, every Friday we all met in a virtual room for our online aperitivo, to share some words and have a laugh together;

  • As the emergency broke out, BizAway decided to take out a health insurance policy for all employees, hence ensuring the coverage of all expenses in the event of contracting the virus;

  • Starting from mid-April, BizAway has made its office accessible to employees wanting to occasionally work at their desks. To ensure compliance with health regulations and guarantee a pristine working environment, BizAway has provided for the specific informative material containing all the good rules to follow, as well as the regular disinfection of all common areas. Also, hand sanitizers and face masks were made available at any entrance and in all working spaces.

BizAway’s hints and tips for travelling in the time of Covid-19

Here are some practical suggestions for a safe travel:

Before departure

  • Opt for flexible or refundable rates: you will be able to cancel your booking, or to change it for free;

  • Always refer to the provisions of the Department of Health for both your departure and arrival countries, by checking trusted and updated sources such as Covid Checker, Trips Guard and IATA Travel Centre;

  • Download our BizAway app and have every booking at your fingertips — forget annoying flying sheets sticking out from your travel bag  — all your vouchers are now in place;

  • Avoid check-in queues at the airport and download your online boarding pass before departure;

  • Take out a health insurance policy, covering for all medical expenses in case of contracting Covid-19.

WHILE TRAVELLING

  • Want to know exactly where your travellers are? BizAway is working on a new Duty of care feature, enabling you to geographically locate your travellers around the world, and receive constant updates on your team’s travel schedule;

  • Always prefer credit card transactions over on the spot cash payments;

  • Do not hesitate to get in touch with our multilingual customer service, available 24/7 via email or chat.

ONCE AT HOME

  • If you realize to have developed COVID-19 symptoms upon your return, get tested immediately

For more information, or if you have any doubts or questions, do not hesitate to get in touch! One of our business travel experts will be ready to assist you via chat, or reply to your emails at support@bizaway.com.

BizAway travels by your side!

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