With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, the role of travel managers has evolved to incorporate numerous responsibilities. If you are a travel manager in the present times, you are required to manage multiple things like itineraries, duty of care, and emergency support alongside travel and stay arrangements.
With all these responsibilities, saving your time wherever possible is essential. One way to reduce your workload significantly is to streamline the company travel booking process. Thanks to technological advancement, you no longer have to call airlines and hotels to make reservations manually . You can use a corporate booking tool to get cost-efficient options at your fingertips.
There are a few other things you can do to ease business travel booking. Let’s look at a few of them.
7 Business Travel Booking Tips to Help Simplify Travel Bookings
1. Set a Procedure for Business Travel
Most companies do not have a standard system for travel booking. Therefore, some employees request company travel booking via email while others do it in person. This makes it difficult for a travel manager to keep track of all the requests.
Moreover, the employees send whatever details they deem fit because they don’t know what is required. Hence, the travel managers must fetch all the employee details and preferences for booking business travel in bits and pieces. Sometimes, they even have to contact employees personally multiple times, which takes up much of their time.
Therefore, as a travel manager, you must ensure that your organization has a standard procedure for putting-up company travel booking requests. You can do this by creating a travel request form that needs to be filed by every employee. The form should be comprehensive and ask for all the necessary details.
However, a business travel request form must be manually submitted, reviewed, and approved/rejected. A better alternative is to automate the process with corporate travel management software. With the help of a travel management software travel booking requests can be raised, reviewed, and approved or rejected instantaneously.
Moreover, the software fetches all employee details and gives options based on past travel preferences, saving travel managers’ and employees’ time.
2. Book Flights and Hotels Early
Corporate travel booking is no child’s play because travel managers must ensure travel safety, comfort, and policy compliance. Moreover, employees nowadays seek a personalized business travel experience, which means that travel managers have to keep track of all of their past preferences and book flights and hotels accordingly.
However, it is no secret that flights get booked well in advance, and rates fluctuate frequently. Likewise, good hotels sell out pretty quickly. Hence, you must book flights and hotels early to ensure everything is according to employees’ past preferences and get good deals. Also, booking hotels in advance allows you to choose preferred amenities for a better experience.
You can make advanced bookings by staying hypervigilant on airline and hotel websites. You can also set price alerts to get notified whenever the prices fluctuate. Alternatively, you can opt for travel management software like ITILITE, which can help you encourage early booking of business travel with rewards or strict approvals. With ITILITE’s advanced configurations, you can save up to 30% on the overall travel costs.
To save more on travel costs, try ITILITE for free now.
3. Create an Inventory of Preferred Hotels
Frequent business travelers generally have a list of hotels they prefer to book. They base these preferences on factors like quality of service, proximity to the workplace, accessibility of public transportation, etc.
Hence, you must select from their preferred options whenever you are booking for a business trip. However, finding the hotel’s details while booking business travel can be a tedious task.
Therefore, you should create a detailed inventory of such hotels. The inventory should include records of the hotel’s address, rates, contact details, and business travel booking process. This way, you can save time and skip the hassle of trawling emails while booking.
4. Create Internal Checklists
A business trip booking requires a lot of planning. You must enlist which flights and hotels to book and plan advanced booking. You must also create detailed itineraries to make additional bookings and accommodate special requests. And lastly, you need to ensure that business travelers take all the necessary safety precautions and say up-to-date on their vaccination status, emergency contact details, etc.
The best way to manage all this easily is to create checklists so nothing gets overlooked or missed. You can make the following types of lists:
- Traveler information: This checklist can include travelers’ names, contact numbers, passport details, dietary requirements, travel preferences, etc. It can come in handy when looking for traveler details while booking business travel.
- New travelers’ checklist: All new employees can use this checklist to provide all their travel requirements.
- Travel itinerary: You can create a standardized template for different travel itineraries. There can be separate templates for domestic and international travel.
- Travelers’ safety checklist: You can give the traveler safety checklist to your employees to ensure they are not missing out on any critical safety item.
5. Use Virtual Reality
While booking a hotel for the first time, you rely on pictures, reviews, and descriptions to determine its quality. However, you may not always get what you see. For instance, you may find the hotel room is smaller than it looks in the picture. Or the services mentioned in the descriptions are no longer provided by the hotel.
So, how can you ensure that the hotel you are booking is actually good? The answer is Virtual Reality (VR).
With the help of the immersive 360-degree experience, you can check out the location and view even the tiniest details of the accommodation. Therefore, you can determine if it is suitable for your business travelers.
6. Apply for APEC Corporate Travel Cards
If your business travelers frequently travel to the APEC region, you should consider investing in an APEC business travel card.
An APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) helps companies streamline the process of entry into the APEC region for short-term business travel. This card helps speed up the immigration process.
Moreover, business travelers can travel to all the APEC countries with just a single application. To complete the application, the traveler must have a valid passport from a qualifying country, have no criminal record, and regularly travel for business.
7. Gather Feedback After the Trip
Despite your best efforts, there is always room for improvement. Hence, you should seek employees’ feedback after every business trip to improve future bookings and enhance employee satisfaction. To ensure comprehensive feedback, you can ask questions like:
- How was the food and service on the airline?
- How was the hotel’s ambiance?
- What was the quality of the concierge service?
- How far was the hotel from the location?
- Was support easily available?
- How was the hotel’s quality of service?
- What are some changes you would like to see in the travel process?
Ease your Business Travel Booking
These are a few business travel booking tips to help you make the corporate travel booking process more manageable and less time-consuming. You can implement these tips in your organization with the help of integrated travel and expense management software like ITILITE.
The ITILITE platform helps in the end-to-end automation and digitization of the travel management process. The software reduces the booking turnaround time to 90 seconds by providing customized flight and hotel booking options from a vast travel inventory.
Get a free demo of ITILITE to experience lightning-quick and effortless business travel booking along with other advanced features.