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 planning a business trip 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 a 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 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. Make sure to book flights and hotels as soon as your travel dates are confirmed. There are two other key benefits of making travel arrangements in advance. First, 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. Second, 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 fewer resources to work with and a smaller margin for error, which 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 canceled flights to medical emergencies, travel insurance can help you avoid any financial difficulties that might come up.
There are many travel insurance policies out there, so it's important to do your research and find the right one for your business. Once you find the right policy, travel insurance can give you the peace of mind you need to focus on running your business.
The cost of insurance is dependent on the location, time, whether it’s 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 travelers, 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 traveler may require foreign currency, visas, vaccinations, or a sim card that works abroad.
Because this is a business trip, it’s essential to make sure employees are fully prepared for working away from the office. Make sure they have all meetings in their calendar and know how to get from point A to point B in a new city.
It’s useful to provide employees with a digital and printed travel itinerary and to familiarize them 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 search for and book travel, track expenses, and stay organized while you’re on the go.
Using a business travel planning tool can help you save time and money and keep your business travel organized and efficient. Remember, there are a number of tools available, and not all of them are right for every business. So take time to consider your needs and budget. It’s also important 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. 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, with no fees or subscription costs.
- TripIt is an itinerary management solution that makes it easier to navigate the complications of corporate travel. You can share travel plans with travelers and receive flight alerts, interactive maps, baggage claim alerts, and 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 transportation 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, and continue to refine your process.