The Fundamentals Of Planning Your Business Travel Like An Expert
ENSURE YOU HAVE A CLEAR-CUT TRAVEL POLICY SET UP
A well-defined travel policy is an important (and cost-effective) manner of effective travel management. A specified travel policy should outline clearly stipulated guidelines for all employees with regards to responsibilities and while traveling; travel arrangements and travel expenses.
There are a numerous factors to consider when compiling a travel policy for your company.
Although cost-effectiveness is an important requirement, it is vital that you don’t jeopardies the safety and quality of travel service, as well as compromise on travelling employees’ travel needs. Offer a small variety of options that allow employees to select one that suits them the best. You can avoid unnecessary compromise even further by letting employees offer their thoughts and/ opinions during the decision-making process.
Always ensure that you always have your employees’ up-to-date contact details on hand, in case of emergencies.
Responsibility regarding expenses – personal, business, leisure etc. – must always be clearly and precisely set out.
GET A GRIP ON TRAVEL TECH
Travel planning has undoubtedly been revolutionised by the rise of online booking apps. The trouble with the increase in availability of such tools is choosing which one to use for your business travel planning.
A great option is to have a ‘personalised’ online booking tool that has been custom made according to you business’ particular travel policies and needs. Although having your own travel tech has its advantages – such as being able to increase efficiency with built in approval processes and managing your travel at any time – there are a few disadvantages that should be noted. The initial designing and assembly, as well as the continued administration, of a custom online booking tool can be rather steep. Another drawback is that all the research necessary will be your responsibility. It begs the question whether the convenience is worth the required effort and cost.
A terrific option is to make use of a travel management company (TMC). Working with a TMC means acquire an experienced travel management asset that is a devoted travel manager. A travel manager can assist you in making the best travel decisions, based on your unique business requirements. Further benefits include help with a multitude of other details, such as VISA applications; arranging ground transport; arranging Forex and taking care of travel emergencies.
The smart choice would be to use a combination of the two. The advantages of TMCs are clear and they often have an online booking tool that companies can use. This way you get best of both – the convenience and control of managing your travel bookings yourself, as well as the individual support and assistance with more complicated and/ or time-consuming processes.
ENSURE TRAVELLING EMPLOYEES’ SAFETY
Although business travel is an essential and probable part of most businesses, is doesn’t come without risks. A company has a duty of care to its employees. This means it has a legal (and moral) obligation to elude risk of injury to an employee during a business trip, as much as possible. The onus is on you (the travel planner) to ensure that all the proper safety plans and measures are in place. This means assigning sufficient travel insurance, which includes medical cover, lost luggage, flight cancellations, as well as natural disasters and terrorism and everything in between.
Employees must be informed of the associated risks of their destinations, before travelling, and need to be informed of the course of action to follow in case there is a travel emergency.
It is vital to always know where your companies travelling employees without exception. There is a multitude of apps and online tools that you can use to help keep track of and stay in touch with your travellers.
PRE-BOOK TO SAVE
You can save more when you plan ahead when it comes to making travel arrangements. Research has proven that business travellers who only book their flights a day beforehand – can end up paying as much as 200% more for their flights.
In contrast – airfares are generally the cheapest from three weeks and more before the departure date. Employing an advanced purchase strategy, you can reduce or moderate the influence of price fluctuations on your company’s travel budget. Although it’s not always possible to book so far in advance as meetings and schedules are sometimes changed at the last minute), it is definitely worth the effort in the long term.
APPOINT THE MOST QUALIFIED PERSON
Travel planning is not an easy task – it’s far more than just coordinating itineraries. The responsibilities of a travel manager range from bookings, policy management, budget approvals, reporting and handling travel emergencies. Then there’s the time-consuming task of finding the most affordable flights, ground transport, accommodation etc.
Managing your company’s travel plans yourself has some advantages, such as great understanding of the needs and schedules of your travellers. However, employing an experienced and well-equipped corporate travel agencies will save you a great deal of the hassle. Quality TMCs have a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of the travel industry, which empowers them to know when, how and where to find and book the best offers. Furthermore, TMCs often have global buying power and long-standing relationships with suppliers – which offer you the added benefit of being able to secure discounted fares on larger travel volumes.