How to conquer corporate travel planning
Corporate travel is crucial for networking and creating long-lasting business relations. But planning a business trip can be stressful; from finding the right flight and hotel, to staying on budget according to your travel policy, there are a lot of elements you need to keep in mind when organising a corporate trip. With this guide, you’ll revisit the importance of corporate travel planning and how to navigate it like a true professional.
What is corporate travel planning?
Corporate travel planning is way more complex than simply organising a vacation. You don’t only need to pay attention to the needs of the traveller, but you need to coordinate the people at the destination, while also focusing on the trip to be as productive as possible.
Business travel planning is important for a company, as it can not only save money, but can also make sure that resources are directed properly. Usually, a company might hand this task over to a business travel planner, who’s a person usually hired in the Office Management department.
Who is a corporate travel planner?
The corporate travel planner can play a key part in streamlining your business trips. After all, it’s their role to ensure that the experience runs smoothly and that both sides are satisfied with the results of the trip.
Some of the main responsibilities of a travel planner are:
- Taking care of the logistics of the actual travel (booking plane tickets, the hotel, transportation from the hotel to the office etc.)
- Handling the reimbursements and trip expenses
- Developing the travel policies for the company
- Creating and keeping track of all the official and legal documents necessary for a business trip
Best practices when planning a business trip
There are ways to make a smooth business trip plan. Here are some tips and tricks to make company trip planning easier.
1. Book early
It’s no secret that booking early saves money, so make sure that you book flights and hotels as soon as your travel dates are confirmed.
There are two other key benefits of making your travel arrangements in advance: firstly, you’ll have more choice – an early booking could be the difference between a preferred flight time or hotel location, especially if there’s a big conference in a small city. Secondly, you may be able to secure your property with a deposit and pay in instalments as your trip approaches.
2. Create and follow your travel policy
Developing a corporate travel policy is an extremely helpful way to streamline the travel planning process for business travel planners, employees and managers. Not only that, but attaching a guidebook to it is an effective way to set clear expectations for corporate travel, outlining your company's preferred vendors and budget.
Creating a guidebook is a relatively simple process, but there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure that your guidebook is helpful and informative. Here’s what you should include to create a corporate travel planning guidebook that will make booking travel easy and stress-free.
- Approval processes – do you need approval from senior management before you book a room? Or do you have the autonomy to book it yourself?
- Preferred vendors, hotels and travel services – there’s a good chance that employees will regularly travel to the same place, so it makes sense to save the details of hotels and transportation services. That way you won’t waste time researching the best rates and reviews.
3. Secure insurance
Being a corporate travel planner can be difficult if you have fewer resources to work with and a smaller margin for error – that means you can’t afford for things to go wrong. That’s why it’s important not to forget travel insurance.
Whether you're sending employees on a business trip or planning a company retreat, travel insurance is essential to protect your business from any potential problems that could arise. From lost luggage to cancelled flights, to medical emergencies, travel insurance can help you avoid any financial difficulties that might come up.
There are a lot of different travel insurance policies out there, so it's important to do your research and find the right one for your business. But once you find the right policy, travel insurance can give you the peace of mind you need to focus on running your business.
How much insurance costs is dependent on the location, the time, single or multi-trip and many other considerations. You may also be entitled to obtain a discounted rate if you require coverage for a large group.
4. Make sure employees are prepared
Create an itinerary for your employees and meet with them to run through it. That way, you can be confident the business trip is set up for success.
This shouldn’t just include the basic details, such as flights and hotel. Depending on the destination the traveller may require foreign currency, visas, vaccinations and a sim card that works abroad.
And because this is a business trip after all, it’s essential to make sure that employees are fully prepared for working away from the office. Make sure they have all meetings in their calendar and know exactly how to get from A to B in a new city. You can even share with them a few recommended apps to download and a detailed packing list.
It’s also useful to provide employees with a digital and printed travel itinerary and make them familiar with your travel policy.
5. Align with company goals
Depending on the goals of your company, the goals of a corporate trip change. Do you want to focus on raising the number of sales? Then make sure that you plan for a lot of meetings for the business traveller. Do you want to focus on growth and learning? Then make sure your employee takes advantage of all the classes and enjoys an experience exchange.
6. Create a post-trip questionnaire
The key to corporate travel planning? Research. And research doesn’t stop as soon as the trip is complete. Create a questionnaire for employees to complete when they return and ask them about their overall experience so you can learn for future trips. Some questions that are important for future reference include: Was it easy to get to your destination? Was the WiFi good? And was the transport quick?