If you travel long enough and often enough, something strange is bound to happen. But, when bizarre situations strike, what can travel managers do to help their business travellers?

Below we share some strange (but true) business travel stories from the Booking.com for Business Ambassador Community AND advice one what travel managers can do in these situations.

1. Stretching a hotel budget a bit too far

Nearly half of business travellers have extended business trips to explore their destination. However, sometimes this can go a bit too far.

Business traveller story:

As a young professional, I was assigned to fly from Amsterdam to Silicon Valley to pitch our product to a large multinational company. The invitation included a budget for two nights accommodation and flights. I was 24, and it was my first time in the West Coast, so I naturally wanted to spend more than just two days there. I started searching for cheap ho(s)tels to squeeze five nights into the given budget. Not knowing anything about San Francisco and without having done proper research, I booked something cheap and was looking forward to my trip.

When I arrived, I took an Uber from the airport. The driver gave me a very strange look after I told him where to take me: Tenderloin area. It’s the most dangerous area in the city, where all the guidebooks tell you not to go. From my room window, I had a complete view of people tripping on drugs and bumping their heads against the wall – and I was walking this street in a business suit going to a business meeting! I survived – but never again!

What a travel manager can do:

If your travellers book their accommodation, create city-specific guidance on locations that are (and are not) recommended. If you work with a TMC or manage all the bookings yourself, this information can still be useful for travellers looking to add an extra night or two onto their business trip.

2. Natural disaster strikes

Natural disasters can strike at any time. Even when places are well prepared, it can still be a scary experience for business travellers.

Business traveller story:

Last year I was in Ancona, Italy. That day, there had been terrible earthquakes. One even happened while I was in a restaurant for dinner – it was awful! After I arrived at my Hotel and I saw all the people in the lobby looking terrified and drinking something to calm their nerves. I went to the reception to get my key. The receptionist said “Don’t worry, the hotel building is anti-seismic…” though she did add… “but, please, don’t use the elevator!”. That night I slept dressed!

What a travel manager can do:

Ensure travellers know the near/far protocol, to check what is happening. When natural disasters strike, travellers should first do a 360º check on their surroundings, including:

  • Are they injured?
  • Is it safe to leave their location?
  • Do they have access to necessary supplies like food, drink and medicine?

If the answer is no, they should wait for local authority guidance on what to do next. If the near surroundings are safe, they should then consider the far surrounding including:

  • Where is the closest embassy or consulate?
  • Do they have access to phones or the internet?
  • Can they contact their employers to update?

3. Locked in the bathroom

Getting locked in the bathroom isn’t usually the end of the world, but it can be very frustrating.

Business traveller story:

I was locked in the bathroom on a 5 hour Delta flight. I pounded on the door to get an attendant’s attention. They instructed me on how to open the door (as if I didn’t know). Then I was told to try to remove the hinges and handle. Well, in the end, they used the fire axe to chop open the door. I got nothing, NOTHING, for my ‘inconvenience’. What a travel manager can do: While you can’t be there with your travellers to unlock the door, you can share advice in case they get locked in the bathroom: Try to stay calm Check to see if there are any other exits, such as a window Shout to get attention and, if you have your phone, call someone for help Try using a credit card or thin plastic object to force the lock open. Try leaning against the door while doing this, as it can help pop the door open If nobody is around and you don’t have a smartphone on you, use your shoe or another object to bang and make some noise to get attention.

Suggested articles

8 mins read
How SMEs Can Benefit from Business Travel Management

How using a business travel management solution can transform the way your SME books corporate trips...

SMEs Small business owners