If you’re new to corporate travel management, you’re probably wondering about the administrative tasks that are involved. You might also be thinking about the responsibilities that you need to be aware of. This blog post will help you to better understand the role you play in your company as a travel manager, where we’ll cover everything you need to know to become an indispensable part of your company.
Mastering the System
Because travel management is one of the most critical parts of any business, you need to know what’s involved and how you can optimize your employees’ travel experience. Here are just a few tips to help get you started.
The True Cost of Business Travel
Apart from the expenses for travel, accommodation, and food, there are other costs you need to take into account, such as:
- Delays in flight
- Being stuck in traffic
- Unexpected illness
- Other expenses that may not have a price
Be Transparent About Company Expectations
Employees should always know the purpose of their trip, where transparency will play a key role in encouraging your travelers to stick to company policies. Doing this will also make it easier to issue reimbursements and track their expenses, especially if they don’t keep paper receipts.
Improve the Traveler Experience and Make it Fun, but also Get Work Done
The employees that go off to travel aren’t robots, so we must treat them accordingly — they’ll only burn out if we have nothing but work in their itinerary. Be sure to include some kind of leisure time during their trip, where both work and fun can be enjoyed to boost both employee productivity and overall satisfaction.
Provide a Corporate Travel Education Program (CTEP)
As your company’s travel manager, traveling employees rely on your support to ensure that their trip is successful. Before they leave, be sure to provide them with a CTEP where you will brief them on the details of their accommodation, travel information, itinerary, their duty of care, and company policies on travel.
Make Sure You Have the Right Technology for your Teams to be Productive
Everyone knows that travel management is hard but having the right technology can significantly lessen the load. Using a travel management platform like Locomote automates and streamlines the whole process, where you can get everything done in one platform.
Managing Travel Arrangements
As a travel manager or the head of the admin team, it’s your responsibility to plan for your company’s corporate travels. Below are a few tips on how to make corporate bookings like a Pro.
It’s Never Too Early to Book a Hotel
Booking early is the best way to save money, no matter where your employee needs to go. When choosing a hotel, always make sure you’re in line with your company’s travel policy, and don’t settle for the first hotel you find — be sure to compare prices available to you.
Build-in Time for Last-Minute Changes
Unexpected things happen all the time, so you need to be prepared for whatever the future may bring. Because canceled flights are a common occurrence, be sure to give yourself enough time to react in case they do happen.
Always Check the Airline’s Site Before Booking
Because flights are so expensive, it’s best to do some research ahead of time before you commit to a booking. Be sure to confirm information regarding refunds, travel requirements, and even airline policies to avoid problems on the day of travel.
Book More than One Flight
When it comes to booking flights, flexibility is key — booking more than one flight will ensure that if one gets canceled, you’ll still have one on backup. Furthermore, one will probably be cheaper than the other, which will save you money for a trip that will have the same itinerary and activities.
Make Sure to Keep Track of Frequent Flyer Miles
Many airlines offer frequent flyer points to encourage loyalty among their customers. These include priority upgrades, VIP lounge access, early boarding, waived baggage fees, and more.
Making Travel Manageable Through Automation and Focus
If you already have experience with corporate travel, you know just how painful it can be to book flights, hotels, and everything else in your itinerary. But once you learn how to use automation tools, you’ll marvel at just how easy it can be to get things done now.
Create a Standard Booking Sheet
A clear and concise workflow will allow your process to run smoother. Creating a standardized workflow will make it easier for everyone to book trips as well as sort through travel requests.
Consider an Automated Corporate Travel Booking Tool
Having to juggle many flights and hotel stays from various travel agencies and websites can be a nightmare. Using an automated corporate travel booking tool will cut down on both time and resources while allowing you to find the details you need.
Go Digital with Your Itinerary Files
While it won’t hurt to print copies of your itinerary, using digital copies can make your life much easier. Doing this will ensure that all your employees will have a copy of their itinerary on their phones or tablets.
Avoid the Pitfalls and Have your Employees Book their Own Travel
Be sure to implement a good travel compliance policy that is adaptable to your traveler’s needs and preferences. You may also use insight from your employees and allow them to look for the best flights and accommodation while staying within budget.
Finding a Balance Between Time and Performance
Learning how to effectively create corporate travel plans can make all the difference to your employees and ultimately, your business. You’re the one who needs to figure everything out and make sure that it’s all organized and strategic while allowing some room for fun.
Know Who Your Traveller is and their Business travel Requirements
Be sure to create profiles, templates, and checklists that will allow you to gather information on your employees. Save traveler profiles that include personal details, such as:
- Passport information
- Emergency contact details
- Frequent flyer number
- Preferences or needs
Know Your Customer Journey and Use that to Create the Right Itinerary
You will want your employees to be aware of the steps they need to take to ensure that the trip is a success. Be sure that you provide them with the details they need for each part of the trip.
Consider what's Important to the Traveler in Terms of Activities, Attractions, and Experiences
If your employee has flown to the other side of the world, it’s only normal for them to take part in all kinds of experiences. Knowing what they want to do during their trip apart from business-related things will help you build an effective travel itinerary.
Incorporate All Relevant Logistical Details such as Transportation, Hotels, Meals, and Scheduling for Each Leg of the Trip.
Don’t skip any detail when it comes to logistical details and be sure to include information such as:
- Dates of travel
- Flight information (flight numbers, check-in times, flight time)
- Airport information (name and address, terminal number)
- Transportation to the airport (e.g. rental car, carpool, public transportation) and any
- relevant information (e.g. meet-up times)
- Transportation to the hotel (e.g. taxi, shuttle, car rental)
- Hotel information (name and address, phone number, reservation number)
- Business agenda (including names and contact numbers for everyone they’ll be meeting, and times and addresses for all the meetings or events they’ll be attending)
- Estimated daily budget
- Relevant local information (e.g. available forms of public transportation, tipping culture, dress code)
Empowering and Supporting Employees
Here are 5 ways to provide your employees with a great travel experience.
The world is once again becoming more connected, so business travel is getting back on track — if your business requires your employees to travel, be sure that they do so in comfort. Below are some of the best tips to ensure that your travelers enjoy business trips as if they’re going on holiday.
Make their Travel Plans as Easy as Possible
Again, your employees aren’t robots and they are just as susceptible to fatigue as the rest of us. Be sure to give your employees ample time to get things done to make sure they’re always in peak condition.
Make Sure they have All the Essentials for the Trip
You don’t want your employees to realize that they’re missing important documents when they’re already at their destination. Ensure that they have all the essentials, such as:
- Their laptop, tablet, or business phone
- Necessary chargers and adapters
- Relevant documents or presentation materials
- A current, valid passport
- A visa (where applicable)
- Valid photo IDs (e.g. driver’s license)
- Travel tickets
Plan some Fun Activities for when they’re at their Destination
Plan a trip to a popular destination along with some time for fun activities to ensure your employees don’t burn out. This can be anything but be sure to take their preferences and opinion into account when deciding where they should go.
Take care of their Health and Well-Being
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, health and safety are of utmost importance, and as an office manager, you are responsible for your employees’ safety. Providing corporate travel insurance is a necessary expense but is worth it for your travelers’ protection.
Make Sure they Feel Taken Care of While they’re Away from Home
While you can’t be expected to be on call 24/7, you can’t leave your employees hanging miles away from their homes. Using a corporate travel management platform like Locomote, you can easily provide 24/7 support for all your travelers.
When managed properly, your travel department can be one of the most effective parts of your business. Having an effective business travel management policy will provide your employees with a healthy balance between employee autonomy and guided supervision.
This will not only bring a fair and clear policy for your employee’s travels, but it also provides a flexible way for them to enjoy both the business and leisurely parts of their trips. As a result, no matter how you define or implement policies, you will be able to streamline the operational and financial sides of your business.