ABTA’s Webinar on 25 June saw a panel of corporate travel buyers and industry experts sharing tips and insights on how to develop and adapt to new mobility strategies for the workforce, addressing logistical challenges and solutions around both ground and air transportation.

Our panel consisting of Adelaide White, Head of Sales: SSA for Uber for Business, Amorah Nyowa, Travel Manager for MTN, Andrew G. Kelly, Senior Security Manager: Global Operations for Coca Cola Africa, Kananelo Makhetha, CEO for Club Travel Corporate, Marise Banks, Manager: Sales and Distribution for Safair and Toni Ukachukwu, CEO of Aviators Africa and Regional Manager: Nigeria of ABTA shared the following insights:

1. The 3 S’s

When it comes to staff mobility over the coming 6 to 12 months, companies need to focus on effectively delivering information about 3 S’s – Safety, Sanitation and Sensitisation – to their clients and travellers, as explained by panelist Toni Ukachukwu of ABTA Nigeria:

Safety measures implemented by corporates and their suppliers around Covid-19 need to be communicated to staff continuously.  Although suppliers are doing a good job sharing this information to their corporate buyer clients, initial findings from ABTA’s current Traveller Readiness Survey reflects that travellers themselves feel suppliers need to do more communication in this regard, specifically around airline, hotel and ground transportation.

Sanitation requirements both for staff and outside parties engaging with staff need to be clearly communicated.  This pertains to not just the office and travel environments but also home office environments.  Face masks, hand and space sanitation must be continuously communicated and applied by all staff and outside parties.

Sensitisation of staff and clients to the correct information and requirements is of vital importance.  Staff need to fully understand the situation and what their responsibilities are for staying safe and healthy.  Continuous engagement with staff and clients to drive the right message home is vital.  Companies can consider using ‘self assessment’ app’s used by staff in the mornings to monitor their health, especially if they are office-based.  An example of this app can be found here.

2. Air Travel is safe

One of the greatest concerns travellers may have is around air transportation and the thought of sitting in close proximity to other people with no ‘social distancing’ measures in place.  Although the option to purchase and free up the middle seat does exist on certain airlines, there is no requirement (by government or otherwise) for middle seats to remain open, nor can airlines readily support such measures due to the impact on profitability.

However, our panelist Marise Banks from Safair shared the details of HEPA filters, standard to all airlines, which provide a sanitised ‘air buffer’ around passengers.  These filters are the same as those used in hospital operating theaters and air is sanitised every 2 to 3 minutes. Although these filters have been around and used on aircraft for many years, the exposure of travellers to this information has become more critical due to Covid-19.  More information on HEPA filters can be found here.

3. Re-purpose your supply chain

Where opportunities exist to re-purpose your supply chain to support your mobility strategies, these should be investigated as viable options, shared panelists Adelaide White of Uber for Business and Amorah Nyowa of MTN.  Currently un-used fleets can be replaced by suppliers (like Uber for Business) to deal with office collections and deliveries, as well as staff transport.  It is vital that any current suppliers in the delivery/collection space are fully vetted as far as their Covid-19 sanitation protocols.

4. Get your documents in order

For domestic travel in South Africa, the only documents required by people travelling for business purposes are a Permit and a Health Questionnaire required to enter the airport building says panelist Kananelo Makhetha of Club Travel Corporate.  Copies of both documents should be made so that the traveller always has one copy.  Only Travellers may enter the airport, thus the following ‘standard’ travel documents and items are required: Face Mask, ID, Boarding pass (printed or on your device, ready for airport arrival), Travel Permit and Health Questionnaire.  Most TMC’s will have the Health Form and Permit available for download on their websites but they can also be found here: Permit, Health Questionnaire.

Sworn affidavits are only required for people travelling for other reasons (funerals etc) and these need to be signed directly by a magistrate or at a police station. (Not a Commissioner of Oaths at your office or your TMC’s office)

Hotels will require a copy of the business travel permit before making the booking for a guest.

5. Booking channels remain unchanged

Recent media reports have made reference to travellers being encouraged to book their business travel directly with suppliers.  This has lead to some concern from TMC’s, however, panel members clarified that this is not the case and that business travellers should continue to use their standard booking channels and book their travel via their TMC.  The value of the TMC and the knowledge and assistance they can provide to business travellers has never been more critical and they should be utilised as such.

6. Fast Forward Fail

The Covid-19 pandemic has created an opportunity to identify and implement many new strategies for businesses.  Says Andrew G. Kelly from Coca Cola, Covid-19 is an accelerator and this is the perfect opportunity for business to ‘fast forward fail’.  In other words, work quickly to identify new solutions and strategies, and if they don’t work, recognise this quickly and then move on to the next possible solution.  There has never been a better time to identify what does not work in your business, thus giving you the opportunity to develop exciting new ideas and strategies.


If you missed this webinar, you are able to listen to it online HERE.
This resource is free of charge for ABTA Members and non Members pay R 250 ($15).


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