Few people could look at a World Health Organization map of COVID-19 cases across the globe and fail to understand the profound impact the pandemic is having in this moment – and will continue to have for years to come: The changes are worldwide and they run deep. One industry that seems to have been disproportionately affected is travel. Millions of jobs have vanished, countless business trips have been cancelled, productivity has plummeted – the litany of loss goes on and on.
Now, however, the time for looking back is over. While the battle against the coronavirus is still being waged in parts of the world and much work remains, the overall sentiment is that the end may be in sight. The near-miraculous development of effective COVID-19 vaccines and their widespread administration – almost a billion first doses and counting as this goes to press – has fueled expectations. The rising optimism is reflected in increased leisure travel planning, hotel bookings and air traffic; in the US over the Memorial Day weekend just past, more than 7 million passengers were screened by TSA, quadruple the number over the same weekend during the depths of the pandemic just one year ago.
That said, it would be easy to assume a return to some status quo ante, where travel magically falls back into the old, predictable pre-COVID patterns. But as we have learned and continually relearn from past experience, when the world gets upended, the old order gets jumbled – and things very seldom return to exactly the way they were once the world turns right-side up again. As much as anything we’ve ever experienced, the coronavirus pandemic certainly qualifies as a world-upending event.
Speak Up, Travelers
The good news is, as the world of travel returns, we business travelers can have a voice in deciding what our future journeys look like, and which travel providers will best deliver them. As we head back out on the road, some things will be the same, but much will seem different. Some familiar brands will be stronger because of the way they dealt with the crisis. Favorite names may have adopted a new look, and more important, new strategies in the face of change. And as always, the top performers will likely still be on top, just because class never goes out of style – no matter the circumstances.
As frequent travelers, we always have the option to vote with our wallets; to support those businesses who have supported us throughout this past year. But there’s another way for business travelers to reward those companies who have excelled during these, the worst of times: The Business Traveler Best in Business Travel Awards 2021. As we have since 1988, we are once again offering you, our readers, the chance to vote for the top travel providers based on your own experiences.
In a year when travel almost wasn’t, the question from readers of Business Traveler is, “Why should I bother voting for the Best in Business Travel Awards?” But I would argue that this is the year to speak up, say what’s on your mind and point to the clear winners in the travel industry. After all, what these leaders have done during this crisis, and what they do to shape the future of business travel will have immense and irrevocable repercussions.
Believe us when we say, these awards mean something to travel providers because they are the industry’s largest annual independent poll of frequent travel customers. It’s a competitive business, and leaders in travel pay attention to who wins, knowing it’s your voice behind the choice. In a year that’s going to bring big changes, everyone wants to know what’s next. And the Best in Business Travel Awards are a clear bellwether for the trends that lie ahead.
Check out our new website at businesstravelerusa.com and cast your votes for the Best in Business Travel Awards 2021.
This year, it’s more important than ever.