When you travel for work, you’ll inevitably face certain challenges – some that are easier to anticipate, like jet lag, and some that are unexpected, like flight delays and cancellations. The best way to navigate these obstacles is to be prepared, with due research and a contingency plan for when things go wrong.

To help ensure your company’s business travel goes smoothly, here we present 7 of the most common business travel problems and how to solve them.

1. Unclear travel policy and communications

When a company’s business travel policy omits important details or leaves room for interpretation, business travellers can find it challenging to keep track of expenses and stay within budget during their trip. They may also not receive reimbursement if the expenditures aren’t covered by the travel policy, and end up confused and frustrated with the process. So what can you do when things go wrong?

Solution:

  • Corporate travel management platform – utilising travel and expense management software makes the process much more efficient for employees. By tracking expenditure, allowing for easy submission of receipts and automatically flagging out-of-policy expenses, these tools can help you avoid common problems.
  • Fine-tune your business travel policy – when it comes to business travel policies, you should leave no stone unturned. Make sure it’s clear, consistent and contains all the information business travellers could possibly need and you’ll avoid many of these common challenges.

2. Travel policy compliance

Trying to ensure that every business traveller complies with the company’s travel policy can be tricky when you factor in the preferences of each individual employee. Some may prefer to stay in a hotel, while some may prefer a more homely rented apartment. Some may require certain facilities, or prefer different travel times or means. Here are a couple of ways you can ensure business travel policy compliance.

Solution:

  • Be flexible – offer employees plenty of options to make sure your travel policy works for everyone, try to offer a range of accommodation and transport options within budget.
  • Clear travel policy – the less clarity there is in terms of your business travel guidelines, the harder it is for employees to follow them. Use a travel and expense policy template and checklist to make sure that you don’t leave anything out and explain everything clearly.

3. Delayed or cancelled flights and reservations

One of the biggest challenges with business travel is dealing with travel disruptions. No matter how efficient a company’s business travel admin systems, flight delays and cancellations can foil even the most fool-proof plan. And unfortunately, they’re fairly common. These disruptions can have a huge impact on business travel plans in terms of hassle and cost, whether they result in missed meetings or connecting flights.

Solution:

  • Corporate travel management software – modern travel management solutions such as Booking.com for Business can be invaluable in dealing with disruptions, allowing for efficient and easy re-booking when things go awry. It also means business travellers won’t have to spend hours on the phone trying to resolve the issue, and can instead simply amend bookings in app with 24/7 support available.
  • Well-planned itineraries – make sure that the business traveller’s itinerary is well-planned and offers all the necessary details, from flight and terminal numbers to hotel reservations.
  • Early flights – when booking flights, it’s best to opt for the early morning options because flight delays have a knock-on effect throughout the day. Thus, the earlier the better, since the first daily flights are less likely to be cancelled.
  • Anticipating disruptions – factoring travel disruptions into itineraries is fundamental to ensure that no meetings or important events are missed. Leave a window of time either side of flights, trains or taxis so that not even traffic or bad weather can thwart your trip.

4. Costs and budget planning

One of the most common problems with business travel is being restricted by financial resources. Trying to make sure that business travel is both cost-efficient and satisfactory for employees is one of the hardest parts of the job for business travel managers. Searching transport and accommodation options that are within budget can be laborious and ineffective.

Solution:

  • Establishing a clear budget – having clarity around budget is key to business travel cost control.
  • Corporate travel and expense software – modern business travel software helps automate the process, allowing users to book everything on one platform and within budget. These systems also often provide access to the best rates and deals – for example, with Booking.com for Business you can get up to 20% off in special business rates and access loyalty points.
  • Plan in advance – flights are often more affordable when booked in advance, not to mention hotels and other accommodation.
  • Cost optimisation – while saving money on business travel is obviously desirable, it’s just as important to balance that with employee needs so that they feel prepared and able to perform in pitches and meetings.

5. Safety and security of travellers

Ensuring the safety and security of your employees while they’re on a business travel trip can be a major challenge. Particularly for female business travellers, who can face more safety-related issues when travelling for work. Travel managers have to consider analysing risks, alerting employees to safety concerns, setting expectations and keeping track of security during a business travel trip.

Solution:

  • Use a travellers’ safety checklist – creating a safety checklist for travellers helps ensure you don’t miss out on any safety steps.
  • Comprehensive travel policy – setting clear guidelines will make business travellers aware in advance of any safety concerns and make sure they’re prepared.
  • Travel management software – using travel management systems allows for automation of trip safety reporting, keeping track of employees when they’re on the move and alerts in emergency situations.
  • Training options – offering online safety training options for employees are a great way to make sure everyone complies with the travel policy safety rules.

6. Curbing carbon emissions

In an age where curbing carbon emissions is an urgent priority, business travel presents an immediate problem. To justify business travel trips that could have been conducted remotely online, companies must do their utmost to lessen the negative impact these trips have on the environment. With environmental impact increasingly a factor in a company’s brand image, cranking up their business travel sustainability efforts will not only help the planet but will also likely attract more talent.

Solution:

  • Software solutions – there are carbon-neutral business travel programmes available, too. These provide accurate data on business travel carbon emissions and real-time tracking of business travel carbon emissions so that employees can factor this data in during the booking process.
  • Adopt more sustainable corporate travel policies – by encouraging business travel only in instances of necessity and avoiding it when meetings can be conducted remotely, companies can easily cut down their carbon footprint. With a little forward planning, it can also be encouraged that employees travel using more environmentally-friendly means, such as by train, when possible.

7. Having data and an overview of travellers and bookings

Having access to business travel data is invaluable for business travel administrators, to improve the efficiency of the process, ensure business trips stay within budget and more. Collecting and analysing travel data also helps companies make informed decisions that optimise strategic and sustainable travel policies.

Solution:

  • Corporate travel management tool – travel management solutions integrate data and insights, making it smoother and easier to arrange business trips within budget. They can also collate data into digestible reports that can improve the efficiency of business travel in terms of traveller satisfaction, carbon emissions, safety and more.

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