TAMS Travel & Meetings Standards
The TAMS Travel & Meetings Standards outline pandemic protocols for suppliers as recommended by the managed travel industry. The TAMS task force comprised 180 managed travel buyers, suppliers and consultants. Access the full standards report.
The Travel and Meeting Standards task force, known as TAMS, an
independent initiative with volunteers from across the business travel and
meetings industries, released its Standards of Safety in Business Travel document
on Thursday as a response to the effects of Covid-19 on the industry and a
guideline for when business travel and meetings resume.
It provides protocols across eight key areas in three categories,
representing health crisis phases from most severe (global pandemic declared by
WHO) to least severe (no global pandemic). The eight segments covered are: air;
lodging; ground transportation; rail; meetings and events; travel management
companies, online booking tools and global distribution systems; data
management; and traveler education.
Susan Lichtenstein of consulting firm DigiTravel initiated
the task force and wrote in a LinkedIn post that she was looking for buyers and
suppliers to volunteer. "I got more than 10,000 views in 24 hours, so I
knew there was a need to talk to each other," she said.
When reviewing the three pandemic-level phases, the middle
one, designated as "moving in or out of pandemic," largely mirrors
the standards for the global pandemic category, but with some nuances. "That's
where [the volunteers] worked the hardest… to create the nuances," Lichtenstein
said, adding that despite an active virus and travel cost cutting within corporations,
both executives and buyers said travel would continue at some level. The
standards show "they are not willing to concede on cleaning" though
the task force worked to introduce some flexibility.
Even when looking at the "no pandemic" columns for
the segments, there are certain protocols that carry over, and it becomes clear
that some of these new standards are meant to be permanent. "You can't
clean your hotel and then not clean it again. You can't clean your plane and
then not clean it again. We wanted to be clear these are standards we believe
that will not go away when [business travel] starts to lift."
The task force pulled the document together in about eight
weeks, and Lichtenstein said that it came up "over and over again" that
return-to-office standards intertwined with return-to-travel standards. "They
would bring to us what their companies were doing inside, how are they cleaning,
why cleaning, who has to come in, and carry those messages over to the
subcommittees," she added. "And we would compare it against 'do we
get on a plane, do we get in a hotel,' and tried to incorporate all the same
things they are thinking about: company, policy, insurance, illness and travel.
They have to be aligned."