An Essential Guide To Business Travel Planning
A group of experts in business travel have compiled a number of useful insights to help you keep your business travel planning on track.
Put a well-defined travel policy in place
One of the most cost-effective ways of managing your travel planning effectively is with a well-defined travel policy. By outlining specific guidelines, you can ensure that all employees are on the same page when it comes to their travel arrangements, responsibilities and budgets. When drawing up your company’s travel policy, there are a number of points to consider.
For example, while being cost-effective is a priority, it’s also important not to compromise on your business travellers’ need for quality services and support. Provide a few different options for employees to choose from and make an effort to include them in the decision-making process. In the case of an emergency, ensure that you always have their updated contact details on hand. When it comes to personal spending, company budget and leisure days, be very clear about who is responsible for which costs.
Get travel tech savvy
There’s no denying that online booking tools have revolutionised the travel planning process. But with so many out there, it’s hard to know which one to use.
One option is to have a bespoke online booking tool created around your company’s specific needs and travel policy. By having access to your very own booking tool, you can manage your travel at any moment, as well as build in an approval process to maximise efficiency. However, there are some disadvantages that should be considered. The set up and management fees can be quite high. And although online booking can be convenient, you’ll still need to do all of the research yourself.
Another option is to employ the services of a travel management company. This way, you’ll get the benefit of an experienced travel manager who can help you make the best decisions for each trip depending on the circumstances. They’ll also assist with a host of other details such as arranging forex, visa applications, booking ground transport and dealing with travel emergencies.
The best option is to use a combination of both. Many travel management companies have an online booking tool solution they can offer companies. This gives you the freedom to manage your own bookings, along with the personal support you need for more complex procedures.
Keep your travellers safe
While business travel is a necessary and expected part of most companies, it’s not without its risks. Duty of care is part of your company’s legal obligation avoid the risk of injury to employees as far as possible during their trip. As a travel planner it’s up to you to make sure the correct plans and procedures are in place. This includes providing adequate travel insurance for everything from terrorism and natural disasters to medical cover, lost luggage and cancelled flights. Be sure to educate your staff about the risks associated with their destination and explain the steps they should take in the event of a travel emergency. It’s also essential to know the whereabouts of your travellers at all times. There are a number of helpful apps and online tools to help you keep in touch during their travels.
Plan ahead and save
When making travel bookings, it really does pay to plan ahead. Research shows that business travellers can pay up to 200% more for flights booked the day before travel. Conversely, the lowest airfares are generally available 21 or more days before departure. By implementing an advance purchase strategy, you can help mitigate the impact of price fluctuations on your travel budget. And while booking in advance isn’t always an option (last-minute meetings and schedule changes are par for the course), it certainly is well worth the effort.
Choose the person best equipped for the job
One advantage of managing your travel planning in-house is that you have a better understanding of your business travellers and their schedules. But there is much more to travel planning than coordinating itineraries. Policy management, budget approvals, booking, reporting and dealing with emergencies are just a few of the responsibilities you’ll need to oversee. Not to mention all the time you’ll spend trying to find the most affordable flights, accommodation, transport and so on.
By using an experienced travel management company, you can save yourself a lot of hassle, as their extensive knowledge of the industry enables them to know exactly when, where and how to book the best deals. Factors such as global buying power and longstanding supplier relationships also work to your advantage when securing discounted rates on large travel volumes.