From virtual to hybrid, meetings and events are swinging back cautiously with a blended platform that facilitates domestic travel while international attendees stay home. While individual business travellers are back on the move, group travel remains slow on the update.
Patty Clark, Director of Global Group Travel Services from CWT Meetings & Events shares four issues to note for those still sitting on the fence.
1. Crossing borders gets complicated
Can your attendees travel to the country where you want to organise your event? With travel restrictions mandating COVID-19 testing or lengthy isolation periods in some countries, attendees may need to take expensive tests or quarantine. The lucky ones from countries with low level of infections may find it difficult to be re-admitted to their countries or follow long (and expensive) quarantine terms in ad-hoc accommodations. If requirements in the country where you are planning to host the event and the country of origin of travellers are mutually agreeable, it is the best choice.
2. Unstable airline schedules
As airlines are not back at full capacity, there are less flight options and even confirmed flights may cancel. Europe and Latin America have experienced up to 50% of flights changed or cancelled by the airline during the summer of 2021. There are many reasons for cancellations. If airlines haven’t reached capacity for a particular flight, they may consolidate to operate just one aircraft. Or where there is opportunity to increase lift in a market, additional flights may be added and schedules adjusted. We are also seeing changes due to crew availability as many airlines haven’t fully recovered from the impact of the pandemic and are still calling back and re-training staff. In some countries, contact tracing is forcing self-isolation which also affects airline staff.
3. High demand for car rentals
There is another consequence of the pandemic. Downline services, such as car rentals, have been impacted. Rentals are booming, in particular in cities with a long tradition of events and conferences. If not booked in advance, you may not have rental car availability in cities, such as Hawaii, Las Vegas or Orlando.
4. Uncertainty in planning
Start planning your event soon. Airlines are trying to keep up with the return to travel and constant change in demand. We are also witnessing an increase in rail traffic in Europe and early planning will get you the best fares. With airlines amending cancellation terms, advance planning often comes with zero or limited cancellation costs. As ongoing uncertainty of travel restrictions due to the pandemic will remain, the added value of event agency experts taking care of your attendees will bring you assurances and increased confidence. We are best positioned to manage changes and cancellations.
Source: CWT Meetings & Events