Business travel is making a comeback: interview with Susanna Peretti from BTM

GBTA on business travel: “Covid will become our travel companion”

Il September 15 we attended the webinar of Gbta Italy about the management of Covid-19 with respect to business travel. The title of the meeting was “Business travel at the litmus test“.

After the latest news regarding business travel trends, Gbta Italia wonders about the near future.

In the introduction, Roberta BillèCts-Local Xpend manager and Gems Expert di Novartis Italia nonché president of the Italian delegation of the international associationand Professor Andrea Giuricin, Ceo of Tra consulting and moderator of the webinar, affirm their willingness to share suggestions for managing and addressing the issue of resumption of business travel.

Roberta Billè, CTS-Local Xpend manager and GEMS Expert of Novartis Italia and president of GBTA Italia, and Andrea Giuricin, CEO of Tra consulting

The purpose of the meeting, in fact, was precisely to understand what are the attitudes to be taken with a view to a potential restart.

The speakereach with their own know howwere essential to take stock of the situation.

Between Covid-19 and travel it is a question of coexistence: the infectious disease specialist Paolo Fedeli, special guest of GBTA Italia

The first guest was Paolo Fedeli, infectious disease doctor from Sandoz.

The question Fedeli tried to answer was basically one: “What can we expect in the future in the world of business travel after vaccines?”

How the virus works e evolution security protocols appropriate it was the starting point for creating the debate.

Paolo Fedeli, infectious disease doctor

Introduction: the trend of Covid-19

Given its characteristics, the mutation rate and its replicability, to date it is highly unlikely that the virus will disappear. This is because – the doctor suggests – such a virus can only become endemic. It will therefore circulate within the world population for a long time to come.

We can therefore not help but find a way to manage the risk of contagion e limit the consequences.

What needs to be clarified, in fact, is how to make sure that the virus, which cannot be objectively canceled, no longer constitutes a risk. Or, at least, not that high. So, create a immunized population it will lay the conditions for this to happen.

In Italy at the moment we have an active infection on 125,000 people, in decline for the positive effects of vaccination.

Travel and Covid: risk stratification

Solo collecting and sharing as much information as possible for the tracking the evolution of the virus e adopting a whole series of behaviors and precautions winning, you will be able to live with this disease.

What has been said is the basis of the “risk stratification“.

As for the data, the “wave” trend is quite consolidated and the number of variants is currently definedwith a prevalence of those having the “best viral fitness”, that is replicative success. Currently, the Delta variantoriginated in India, is the prevalent one.

L’RT therefore constitutes avery valuable information also in terms of business travel.

To date, in Italy the diffusion index is below 1, this means that a sick person can infect at most another person. As can be guessed, this is a great progression point compared to a year ago.

So what is the best way to manage Covid-19 as well as any pandemic?

Strategy in a pandemic

Doctor Fedeli reports the three steps of the consolidated strategy:

  1. Infection control: act in such a way as to limit the damage, not to weigh on public health and reduce the morbidity (ability to become infected and die from the virus)
  2. Elimination: reduce the viral load of the virus to zero, limiting circulation in the community
  3. Eradication: when the virus has no more viral load

We are still in the first phase today, in the biological risk management phase. This includes a number of measures that are all potentially fallibleas each has “holes”, as the underlying metaphor with the known states Gruyere cheese.

However, taken all together, the measures constitute a barrier extremely protective.

Virus containment measures only work when they are undertaken at the same time from as large a population as possible. For this period, which the doctor defines as “transitional”, of an unforeseeable duration, all actions must be kept.

The Swiss cheese respiratory virus pandemic defence rappresentata dal NY Times il 5/12/20

Traveling workers

“If it is true that the Green Pass limits the movement of people potentially at greater risk in travel, all other protection factors serve to further contain the risk of the individual traveler and individual ”, concludes Fedeli.

On the subject of business traveltwo were the most important scientific “discoveries”: the introduction of the tampon within 72 hours before departure e quarantine management.

In the first case, in fact, the risk of infection is considerably reduced, especially if we think of the number of people with whom one comes into contact and the risk of contagion on means of transport. In the second, it can be extremely important to a travel manager understand how many days of quarantine he will have to do and what his potential freedom for business activities will be.

“Only dead fish swim with the current”: Gautier Porot on corporate travel planning

Gautier Porot, security Director Switzerland & Italy di International SOS

The second guest of the Gbta Italia webinar was the security Director of International Sos, Gautier Porot who reminded us how, despite the situation, the world of travel has never stopped completely. Rather, has changed.

The professional offered a number of advice to travel managers based on counter-intuitiveness:

  1. “Imagine black swans, dragons and unicorns,” he said. That is to say, be prepared for any kind of scenario that could affect travelers and the activity of your company
  2. «Get the board on board»: share as much information as possible with the board of directors, because trust is essential in a situation like this
  3. Don’t limit yourself to reality as you know it today. We must remain agile in the face of sudden changes in events, “only dead fish swim with the current”

On a pragmatic level, therefore, there is a need for the travel policies are constantly updated and in line with compliance obligations e duty of care.

Another fundamental aspect to take into consideration is that of feedback. Knowing what business travelers think is gold for travel managers. In fact, it’s the only way you can improve the travel experience and fill in the gaps.

People at the center. How do security protocols change in hotels? Diego Rumazza at the GBTA Italia webinar

Diego Rumazza, Global Director of sales at Starhotels

Since the start of the pandemic, the hotel industry has been forced to adopt gods security protocols and of anti Covid-19 prevention measures built on people’s needs and on legislative changes.

Indeed, Never before have people and their needs been at the center of the experience as today and constitute the focal point around which hotels must reconstruct their service proposals, while taking into account the changing legal obligations.

Diego Rumazzaglobal sales director at Starhotelsexpounded what they were about in this regard the measures taken by the chain. In fact, the Rosa Grand of Milan is among the few that has managed to remain operational since the beginning of the pandemic, welcoming civil protection and doctors from China in 2020.

People’s needs and security protocols

Several actions have been taken by Starhotels to face the pandemic.

First, the hotel chain formed the their employees.

“Any protocol works on paper, but there are people behind it for which constant training was a winning key together with a check to verify health safety», Rumazza affirms.

Wanting to guarantee its guests a high security level measures have been adopted such as:

  • The possibility of making PCR or rapid swabs directly in the hotel e with very limited notice
  • Automation and speeding up of procedures di check-in e check-out
  • The sanitization of places with products certified by the WHO
  • L’adaptation of the offer cateringwhich no longer provides for the possibility of a buffet
  • The application of the rules of the social distancing in spazi meeting

Listen to the guestsas well as employees, it was crucial because there were some interesting ones trend changes in behavior.

Rumazza pointed out that there was a increase in demand of the serviced apartmentsbecause, unlike hotel rooms, these give travelers the opportunity to have aindependence from the point of view of the food and beverageavoiding risky moments of contact.
Also, gods were created mini cleaning kitbecause people trusted more of a clean place themselves.

Green Pass, legislation and cooperation

After the introduction, in the summer of 2021, of theGreen Pass requirement, the entire catering protocol, meeting rooms, gyms and wellness areas was changed. Consequently, the times to access all the spaces have lengthened.

And so, taking a general balance of all the changes from 2020 onwards, the guests experience what Rumazza has defined “discrepancy in perception of the service».

So how to move in a situation like the current one if you belong to the hotel sector?

“The good thing we got from the pandemic was the ability and willingness to speak between operators of the same industry. There is no doubt that the resulting legislation is neither precise nor defines all the constantly changing areas. It is therefore important to sharing difficulties: the audience of travelers is heterogeneous and everyone has needs that must be listened to “.

The manager recommends the continuous comparison: “The will to move forward together is the winning thing,” he concludes.

On November 9th the GBTA Italy Conference will be held in Milan

Finally, Roberta Billè and Andrea Giuricin reminded those present that a change is taking place regarding the events in the presence. In fact, on November 9, 2021 the Gbta Italy Conference at theNhow hotel in Milan.

The meeting on 15 September was intended to be an important moment of gathering ideas and selecting topics, consequently the right guests for the meeting of November.

“We want there to be a recovery” with a bang “, as they say,” says Billè.

All information and details regarding the Gbta Italy Conference will be shared on the official website of the event.

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