As touchless travel is becoming the new business travel normal in a post-Covid world, Flight Centre Business Travel (FCBT) has established that the need for human connection has grown.

Everything in today’s travel landscape has become automated and touchless from the check-in procedure to boarding your flight, collecting your luggage, and even checking into your hotel. We can also expect a touchless airport shopping experience as well as automated immigration custom and security procedures with self-scanning solutions. Covid-19 has single-handedly changed everyone’s attitude towards touch and physical contact.

However, in this touchless world, the human connection with the travel professional is increasingly important. Travellers want to reach out to a human, to interpret the avalanche of information and facts, to get support and reassurance when the experience feels overwhelming, or simply to discuss options, budgets or even risk. “We all want to talk to a ‘live person’ when we are dealing with a crisis or when things go wrong. And, the past few months have shown us exactly just how many things can go wrong in travel,” says Oz Desai, General Manager: FCBT.

To help business travellers navigate the unchartered Covid-19 travel waters, FCBT launched its Back on Track campaign. As part of this campaign, FCBT will launch a new online travel resource hub and conduct an ongoing and in-depth State of Market Survey that will help the FCBT team guide road warriors in the new travel landscape and get their business back on track.

The online travel resource hub will be launched on 6 July and will support travellers and companies with additional information and relevant facts about this changing travel world. This resource hub contains relevant information ranging from hotel procedures, the opening of borders, airport guidelines and much more. FCBT travel specialists will be available to help travellers and companies interpret the information on the website.

To adequately identify the pain points, frustrations and concerns of travellers during this crisis, FCBT is also in the process of conducting an in-depth global State of the Market survey, which will be released in phases over the coming months. This is an ongoing research project, including customer polls in phase one and two, which will be followed by further in-depth customer interviews and focus groups over the next two months.

“The survey gives our consultants greater insight into our clients’ prevailing sentiments on business travel conditions as countries emerge from the Covid-19 crisis. This is crucially important for our expert to offer our customers a better and more personalised experience during this difficult time,” says Desai.

As South Africa started opening up interprovincial travel for business, there has been a gradual return to ‘normal’ for road warriors around the country. Over the next few months, we can expect further relaxations and eventually the opening of our country’s borders. However, with the return to ‘normal’ comes justified concern about the health and safety of travellers.