A lot goes into planning the perfect business trip. From chasing flights and finding hotels to juggling expenses and schedules – it’s not always a walk in the park. Yet, work trips can do wonders for your team and your business. So, how can you make the process less of a chore?
It’s all about having a business travel plan in place. No matter the size of your business, a good plan can transform your travel management from a hassle to a breeze.
For Corporate Traveller’s Customer Success Manager Zay Ferguson-Nair (an absolute authority on business travel planning for SMEs!), you need to think about the following:
Your Travel Policy
At the top of your list? Your business travel plan must reflect your travel policy. Every flight or hotel booked should be on-policy and within budget. And when it comes to mixing business and pleasure, be crystal clear about who’s managing what and who’s footing the bill!
Thanks to the magic of online booking tools, planning business travel is less of a headache these days. But with so many tools available, choosing one can be tricky.
A travel management company (TMC) could help you find the best fit – or even design a custom tool for your needs. The right platform can help you track your bookings and spending, and manage post-trip expenses which means total control at your fingertips!
Plus, travel alerts, reminders, and traveller profile fields make life even easier. Your business travel plan should include your go-to tech tools, like nifty apps that let you manage itineraries and get instant travel alerts.
As an SME, last-minute business trips are unavoidable. After all, when opportunity knocks, you answer. Unfortunately, last-minute trips are also costly.
According to Ferguson-Nair, planning at least 7+ days ahead can help you secure more cost-effective options and it allows for more wiggle room when it comes to changes. Plus, you’ve got a better shot at availability during peak travel periods.
If planning ahead is out of the question, your best bet is a TMC, who’ll use their connections and clout to secure the best possible flights, fares, and rates.
Duty of Care and Traveller Wellness
Did you know that duty of care is part of your company’s legal obligation? In other words, it’s up to you to ensure duty of care and traveller wellness are included in your business travel planning so you can keep your travellers safe during their trip.
This includes providing adequate travel insurance for local, regional and international travel; educating your staff about the risks associated with their destination; and explaining the steps they should take in the event of a travel emergency including who they should call and how they should keep in touch.
Your plan should also include your TMC or travel agent’s details and an after-hours travel support hotline. And don’t forget about traveller wellness. Think sociable flight times, hotel amenities, and food options. Consider everything that contributes to a comfortable and stress-free trip.
Documents and Details
When it comes to business travel planning, the devil is in the details. Make sure you know exactly what is required in terms of your travel documents; entry requirements and itinerary information like rental cars, check-in times and payment expectations for example, is it payment in advance, on check-out or ‘bill back’ to your TMC?