Have yourself a merry little Christmas (market)
When I moved back to Germany in 2019 after 15 years in the UK, one of the things I looked forward to the most was German Christmas markets. They had started to catch on in England, but were pale imitations of the originals, so this was number one on my list of things to do to reacclimatize myself to Germany’s Teutonic charms.
Before I knew it, it was December and I didn’t go to a single one. Why? Because I was so busy settling my family and myself back into life in Germany; new jobs for both my husband and me, taxes, doctors, dentists, utilities, citizenship (for my husband), new schools for both children, and so much more. And then of course there were no Christmas markets in 2020 (for obvious reasons)!
When I started this article over a month ago, my mind was set on one thing: I was not going to miss those markets this year – no matter what. And I was not alone: not just the Germans, but travelers from all over Europe and even beyond were looking forward to visiting the traditional German Christmas markets, despite ongoing restrictions and rising infection rates. Back then, markets were still set to open, but things were changing rapidly. I kept my fingers crossed that I wouldn’t miss another year of having some mulled wine in cosy surroundings.
Now, in mid-December, some Christmas markets have opened, and others have not. It’s very much dependent on the city and the number of infections. It’s hard to say anything for sure these days. I will only hazard one guess: IF Christmas markets open as planned in every German city, town, and village as planned next year, there will be an influx of travelers from all over the world!
Chief among the people traveling to Germany next Christmas are German assignees working abroad who will return home for the holidays and foreign nationals assigned to Germany who will bring family over to sample the delights for themselves.
|Security guards at most Christmas markets give you an 'entry stamp' once they have checked your vaccination certificate and cross-checked it with your national ID card or passport.|
You will most likely notice an increased interest in flight costs to German cities from your assignees. How can you best support them? Is a flight from London to Frankfurt more expensive than one from Madrid to Düsseldorf? What about direct flights versus layovers? If you’re one of our clients, you know that AIRINC’s Airfare Allowances can give you the answer in one simple tool and you can budget for the flights. For one-off flight requests, our experienced team can pull reliable data from our Airfare database.
And while you’re at it, why not pull out all the stops to optimize the Christmas experience? Which cities have the cheapest living costs? And what about hotel costs and availability? The last 18 months have brought many changes to both temporary and permanent housing costs and availability. And you don’t have to be a multi-year assignee to feel the effects of that. AIRINC’s Short-Term Assignment Calculator can give you an accurate picture of the costs that occur on a short business trip, including hotels and meals out. If a business trip coincides with the extra busy, touristy, and pricey Christmas market season, what does that do to the per diem allowance?
Some of your assignees may not travel home this Christmas, which creates its own challenges. But hopefully they can go home next year, so now might just be the right time to start planning ahead. Adjust your home leave budgets and maybe throw in a little bit extra to support each individual in a way that gives them the best employee experience. Here at AIRINC, we are there to support you every step of the way. Whether this is helping you review your policy, providing you with Airfare allowances, or looking at how to integrate more flexibility into your programme to make sure both the business and the assignees are content.
Photos kindly supplied by Mira Pathak
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