At last, Australian state borders are slowly opening. Outside of mining and construction, small and medium-sized businesses are proving to be the first cab off the rank when it comes to business travel. Long overdue meetings with domestic clients and suppliers are now being scheduled. Road trips or air travel is being planned and corporate accommodation is booked. It’s a positive sign for all.

If you’ve been tasked with booking flights and temporary accommodation for yourself or your colleagues, you’ll need to think differently about what and how you book.

Now more than ever, organisations both big and small have a heightened duty of care to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their employees. They also require more flexibility to accommodate changes that often occur in these uncertain times. With this in mind, here are three things to now consider when booking corporate accommodation:

Is the corporate accommodation COVID Safe?

Finding out what the temporary accommodation provider is doing to ensure a Covid Safe environment is a must. For example, are there group-wide standards in place? Or if booking with an independent operator, what additional cleaning measures have been adopted to minimise the risk of infection?

You may also consider the exposure your traveller will have with other people. Large hotels have high traffic common areas such as reception areas, restaurants and lifts. These common areas are frequented by other travellers and service staff, which tend to be higher risk. Alternatively, corporate apartments and short term rentals, are often located in residential complexes and typically have significantly lower levels of activity in common areas. Therefore low risk. It’s a good idea to check with your traveller to see what they feel comfortable with.

What facilities are included?

If you’ve spent time researching and comparing corporate accommodation options before, you would be aware of the diverse range of property types available to book. In the past, the booking decision would primarily be driven by the length of stay. However, going forward, you may find that certain features have become a higher priority for the business traveller, regardless of the length of their trip

For example, many travellers will choose to drive instead of fly, so the demand for parking is on the rise. Fully equipped kitchens have also become a necessity so the traveller has the option to cook for themselves. And one we’ve become all too familiar with is the ongoing need for a dedicated workstation. That way, the traveller can comfortably work from home.

Can changes easily be made to the booking?

Booking a corporate short term rental, for a business trip is similar to booking a flight. You can do it online, over the phone, through an agent, directly, or indirectly. How you choose to book typically boils down to what options are available for the accommodation you want, but also personal preferences. The infographic below shows the most common booking options.

Given the continued uncertainty that looms from the pandemic, flexibility to make changes and cancel bookings is a must. Most temporary accommodation operators have adjusted their terms to allow for this, however, the ease of making changes can also be impacted by your booking method.

Booking via an Online Travel Agent in most cases, is a simple, convenient process through to cart. The OTA’s are an excellent source of accommodation options and provide a centralised way to compare.

Should you have changes to your plans or have special requests, managing the booking can be a convoluted and time-consuming process because there is a middleman.

Which is why, where possible, it’s a good idea to check if you can book direct.

All in all, coordinating business travel for yourself or your colleagues will be different in a post COVID world. But simple research and planning will help get your employees safely and confidently on the road again.

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