Despite the rise of videoconferencing, corporate travel remains incredibly important. But planning a business trip is stressful. It's not just about finding the right flight and hotel, but also ensuring the stay is within budget, according to travel policy and much more.
If you're a corporate travel planner for a small or mid-sized business, you probably won’t have the resources of larger corporations. But don't worry – there are ways to make a business trip plan easier. Here are some travel planning tips, tricks and tools to make company trip planning easier.
1. Corporate travel planning guidebook
Developing a corporate travel planning guidebook is an extremely helpful way to streamline the travel planning process for business travel planners, employees and managers. A guidebook is an effective way to set clear expectations for corporate travel, outlining your company's preferred vendors and travel policy.
Creating a guidebook is a relatively simple process, but there are a few things to 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.
2. 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. But 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 gradually as your trip approaches, making it more affordable.
3. Secure insurance
Being a corporate travel planner for a small business is difficult. You have less resources to work with and a smaller margin for error – that means things can’t afford 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 able to obtain a discounted rate if you require cover for a large group.
4. Make sure employees are prepared
Create an itinerary for your travellers 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.
It’s useful to provide employees with a digital and printed travel itinerary and make them familiar with your travel policy.
5. Use business travel technology tools
There are a number of business travel planning technology tools available to help you plan and manage your business travel. These can help you to search for and book travel, track your expenses and stay organised while you are on the go.
Using a business travel planning tool can help you to save time and money and to keep your business travel organised and efficient. Remember though, there are a number of different tools available, and not all of them are right for every business. So take time to consider your needs and your budget. It’s also important to make sure you take time to read reviews and compare features to help refine your choice. Here are three recommended travel planning tools:
- Spendesk is a simple and efficient platform for managing expenses. This travel planning software enables employees to request funds, pay securely and submit receipts in an instant. And real-time visibility gives companies the ability to stay in control and on budget.
- Booking.com for Business allows you to book and manage complete business trips with the widest range of accommodations, flights and car rentals from around the world — no fees or subscription costs ever.
- TripIt is an itinerary management solution that makes it easier to navigate the complications of corporate travel. You can share travel plans with travellers as well as receive flight alerts, interactive maps, baggage claim alerts and much more.
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. Ask them about the hotel – was it easy to get to? Was the WiFi good? Was the transport quick? That way you can refine the process for next time.
While corporate travel planning for a small business can be challenging, there are ways to make it easier and more efficient. By following these travel planning tips, you’re setting yourself – and your company – up for success. So don’t forget to plan ahead, use the best technology available to you and continue to refine your process.