Will Business Travel Etiquette Change in the Future?


2020 was a pretty tumultuous year for business travel around the world. But with a vaccine now being rolled out across the country, and the rate of infections and hospitalisations plummeting, it won’t be long (touch wood) before we’re able to travel again.

After so long cooped up inside, we might find the adjustment a slightly intimidating one. In many cases, the habits we’ve former during the pandemic might persist long afterwards. Here, we’ll think about how the etiquette surrounding business travel might change – for good!

Will people be more conscious of the social distancing?

Maintaining a cautious distance from other people – especially complete strangers – is a difficult habit to break. This goes especially if you’ve spent a year reaffirming to yourself that doing so could be a matter of life and death.A recent poll claimed that 25% of Brits couldn’t see themselves in a busy pub ever again.

As the travel restrictions are eased, it’s likely that some measure of caution will still be warranted. We might therefore be expected to keep two metres apart while queuing, and while on the transport itself.

Should travel companies improve the hygiene of their services?

Good hygiene and ventilation on public transport can help to limit the spread of airborne viruses. This in turn will keep the spread in check. Given that the experts predict that coronavirus will become a seasonal problem for years to come, this is reason for train operators and taxi drivers to improve the cleaning on their services.

Which locations in the UK have the most business travel?

London is among the world’s best-connected cities, with many different forms of public transport available, and several international airports connected to them. As such, it takes the lion’s share of business travel in the UK. From London Heathrow, you can reach Paddington Station in just fifteen minutes – which makes it ideal for business travellers who need to leave at short notice. Similarly, you can get from King’s Cross to King’s Lynn in just under two hours via rail.

Of course, cities across the north of the country, like Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester, all have similarly enviable transport networks.

Will people choose alternative transport modes?

Over the lockdown, many people have been forced to adopt alternative means of transport. They might have bought a car to avoid having to take the train; they might have taken up walking to avoid a bus journey. In some cases, these habits will persist.

For long-distance business travellers, the availability of certain kinds of transport might be an issue. In January, Europe’s airlines reported a record drop in capacity, with more than two million seats vanishing in a single week. If the capacity isn’t there, business travellers might find themselves forced to consider the train, instead. Given rising environmental concerns, this might be a habit that lasts for the long-term.

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