How to ensure safe and hassle free travel even during the pandemic

Over the last year, we've all experienced a broad range of emotions and viewpoints when it comes to travel. Some of us never stopped travelling. Some of us are just able to pick it back up again in some form. Some of us are planning work trips for the summer. Although travelling for work looks different and can feel unfamiliar, it's also changed for the better in many ways. 

While many were hunkering down to protect our communities and families, we've been learning from our customers and contacts that have been travelling out of necessity. 

Let's take a look at some major trends and recommendations for travel in 2021 

1. Remain flexible.

City, county, and country restrictions are known to change unexpectedly - and we don't foresee this changing any time soon. Good news is - everyone loves a free cancellation room rate, and we've prioritised not only adding more of these, but also adding a filter to only display properties with free cancelation. And remember, if you happen to book a non-refundable room and can't make the booking, let our team know rather than not showing. We will work for you to attempt to recover the cost.

We've noticed our key worker customers that have been travelling since March also have different booking habits than pre pandemic. If you were one of those students that liked saving all their work until the very last minute, you're in luck - last minute bookings are trending in 2021.

The majority of travellers booked their travel the same day as arrival, or on a Friday for a Monday check in 

Bar chart showing when travelers book their accommodation*data based on 10 day span in November 2020

2. Safety is #1.

There's been a lot of buzz around the 'Vaccine Passport' and the future of travelling by plane. We've seen an influx of commentary on countries putting systems in place to require and prove vaccination. In the meantime - testing is the the name of the game. Most countries currently require a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure for air travel.

In terms of domestic travel, restrictions have been changing almost daily by county and country. We continue to research and regularly update this blog on COVID-19 to provide you with the latest news, particularly in the U.K. 

Roomex offers thousands of 'RoomexClean' rates on your platform. These rates signal that we have personally been in touch with the accommodation provider and can ensure they are exceeding the standards set out by the W.H.O. 

Screengrab from Roomex hotel booking platform showing hotel features

One other insight we've noticed over the last 9 months is that more and more clients are requesting apartments or aparthotels especially for long term stays. Some reasons are that they are self contained and require the guest to leave the room on less occasions. Another is that there is less to do in locations, so the extra space benefits the traveller's well-being.

3. Price matters now more than ever. 

We all love a good deal don't we? Discounted rates have always been our priority, but in a post-pandemic world as companies look closer at their overall expenses, we have made this our focus. Price savings will be seen in all aspects of travel, from the room rate, to VAT reclaim, less cancelation fees and partnerships.  

We've increased the number of our Exclusive Roomex Rates and SaverPlus rates to continue to offer customers the biggest savings, the chart below shows the way we deliver the best rates every time. 

The goal of our pricing strategy is to give our customers the best chance of finding the cheapest rate

Bar chart showing the pricing of hotels with and without Roomex rates

Customer's own negotiated rates at their highest demanded hotels, Roomex Rates for hotels with mid demand, and SaverPlus rates for the rest

Another observation we've seen is that room rates that have had the biggest drop in price between 2019 and today are in gateway cities and leisure destinations. Prices are not dropping as much as they were in in 2020, but there still is a noticeable decline. 

Heat map of the UK and Ireland showing where hotel room prices are decreasing

4. Transparency leads to trust. 

We've noticed that safe and smooth travel occurs when companies and travellers are extremely transparent with expectations and precautions.  We're all learning, and guidelines change in seconds. We recommend keeping one source of truth, and updating your teams personally on the restrictions in place prior to travel. 

It's difficult for every booking website to have the most up to date information on closures and current local restrictions. At Roomex, we will call your accommodation prior to your arrival to ensure it's still open and accepting reservations. 

We also recommend that you keep an eye on your Workforce Tracker (formerly Duty of Care map) in Roomex Analytics. By making the majority of your bookings with Roomex, you'll see a centralised duty of care, making it fast and easy to look up reservations and locations.

The second a booking is made in Roomex, it’s immediately viewable in Roomex Analytics where the user can view savings, compliance, city, booker, traveller, and more. On top of this, reservations also go directly into our live Workforce Tracker map. Here, users are able to view all trips, past, present and future and get in touch with any employee.

Workforce Tracker

As we've said from the start, we're in this together! Travel is getting safer each day, and with the vaccine on the horizon it's becoming easier to picture our 'new normal.' Travel may feel different, but we're always here to answer any questions or field any concerns you have as you and your team begin to hit the road again in 2021! 

Login to your platform here, or request a call with our sales team here.