Operations

Biz Travel Meltdown? Virus Scare Hitting All Segments

Staff/News Reports
Posted on February 26, 2020
A Chinese chauffeur with BCDLIMO-China Services. Sanitized and safet luxury transportation can be an alternative for lone business travelers wanting to avoid airlines and mass transit. (photo: BCDLIMO)

A Chinese chauffeur with BCDLIMO-China Services. Sanitized and safet luxury transportation can be an alternative for lone business travelers wanting to avoid airlines and mass transit. (photo: BCDLIMO)

A round up of the latest reports on the coronavirus and business-related travel that intersects with the luxury ground transportation industry:

CDC Warns Travelers About Visiting Five Countries: The U.S. State Department and CDC issue travel notices to inform Americans about current health problems that may impact their safety abroad. Due to the increased outbreak of the new coronavirus, the two government agencies have both issued multiple health warnings for affected countries. Business Insider article here

Companies Cancel Business Travel: As coronavirus becomes a two-front war, investors and travelers give up as companies turn to technology to do business. Crain's Chicago Business article here

(photo by Petr Kratochvil of PublicDomain Pictures.net)

(photo by Petr Kratochvil of PublicDomain Pictures.net)

Coronavirus Hits Honeymoon, Wedding Travel Season: It's not uncommon for the travel industry to plummet during a health scare. Destination weddings and honeymoons are being shelved at a frenzied pace all because of the coronavirus. Fox Business article here

Coronavirus Fears Batter Conventions Industry: The coronavirus outbreak has caused the cancellation or postponement of more than 24 exhibitions and conferences worldwide, hammering the $2.5 trillion trade show industry and foreshadowing more pain to come. CNBC article here

Should You Stay Or Go? Public health experts say the biggest health risk for domestic travel now is the flu. No part of the U.S. is considered higher risk for coronavirus than any other. For some destinations, the answer is a clear yes; others, a clear no. An increasing number are becoming a maybe, where it’s really a question of how much worry and hassle you want to pack into your trip. Wall Street Journal Article here

Virginia-based motorcoach operator Dan Goff (LCT file photo)

Virginia-based motorcoach operator Dan Goff (LCT file photo)

U.S. Operator Prepares For Slowdown: Dan Goff, the general manager and co-owner of A. Goff Limousine & Bus Company in Charlottesville, Va., already has held staff meetings with salaried employees introducing the possibility of furloughs or temporary layoffs due to a slowdown in group transportation. "Our business is one of the businesses affected the quickest, regardless of the actual facts behind the virus," Goff told LCT. "Panic and travel don't go well together. If we go through a scare, then I want our people to know ahead of time what the plan is."

Goff recalled the 2003 Washington, D.C. sniper scare that deterred group tours to the D.C. area and caused bus operators to lose revenue. "We saw then what an unplanned panic did and the effect it has on people. You want to have conversations early on about the realistic possibilities."

The company will not force its chauffeurs or drivers to work if they feel at risk or uncomfortable, Goff said. "We will not be exposing our people to the actual virus and we won't be holding people's jobs over their heads. The flip side is we will not make a multi-month commitment to keep people on salary if we are not running the usual operations. These are shared burdens."

Goff is confident that any events, group trips, or business that gets canceled will be rescheduled once the virus threat subsides, so luxury transportation companies should be prepared to ramp up quickly after a slowdown. "It will get busy again so have people ready to go. Maybe nothing will happen [in the U.S.]. But as a former military guy, I'm not comfortable winging it." --- by Martin Romjue, LCT editor

Related LCT article: China Operators Share Insights On Coronavirus

Related Topics: business travel, coronavirus, corporate business, corporate travel, COVID-19, crisis management, disasters, emergency planning, emergency preparedness, Global operators, meetings and conventions, passenger safety, safety

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