New Normal and ROI

It’s time to repeal and replace both  
As an industry, we have our own set of nuances and acronyms that sometime need explanation when in a meeting (virtual or live) with business managers who are not primarily responsible for travel. I’d like to address two of them, and propose a refresh for each.

New Normal: This is an over-used expression and I could fill this article with the various website definitions. The best came from Wikipedia: “The term has been employed in relation to World War I, the financial crisis of 2007-2008, September 11 attacks, the aftermath of the 2008–2012 global recession, the COVID-19 pandemic and other events.”

I’m proposing that the aftermath of COVID-19 is unlike that of any war, financial crisis or terrorist event. So let’s consider replacing “New Normal” with “Neo Normal” to reflect the unique impact of the pandemic globally and its long-term repercussions on travel, especially business travel. Everyone agrees that we will see a slow recovery of business travel, and the same ‘everyone’ seems to have settled on 2019 as a baseline. However, I’m on record as saying that some aspects of business travel will not repeat past performance for the foreseeable future.

The two areas of business travel that will be under financial challenge and C-level oversight are internal meetings and external conferences and events. The virtual meetings platforms of Teams, Webex and Zoom (plus some really cool event platforms), have demonstrated that you don’t have to congregate with thousands of attendees to have a “successful event.” As to internal travel costs, it will be hard to justify flying cross-country (or over a body of water) to meet with colleagues in-person, unless you can demonstrate a clear ROI for the need to travel and incur air/hotel/meal expenses for purely internal discussions.

Categories: Special ReportManaged Travel ROI

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