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Business travel can be both an exhilarating and challenging experience. While on the one hand, you get to explore new places; on the other hand, you have to be organized and keep track of things such as the business travel expense. Moreover, if you travel abroad, you must adjust to a different time zone and get accustomed to the different cuisines available there.
When you go on a business trip, you might face some challenges you didn’t anticipate. The best way to overcome these business travel challenges is to be prepared for them. This means researching, knowing your options, and having a backup plan.
Here are some significant business travel challenges and the solutions to overcome them.
If you have taken a business trip in the past, you would know that keeping track of travel details is one of the major business travel challenges. From managing reservations and expenses to keeping up with itineraries and travel regulations, it’s a lot to keep track of. Fortunately, there are a few ways in which you can make it easier on yourself.
Solution: Having all your corporate travel-related information in one place is key to managing your time efficiently and avoiding confusion. This way, you can easily refer back to any details you need without searching through piles of papers or websites. You can use cloud storage such as Google Drive or Dropbox to store travel-related files.
However, a better solution is if your company adopts a travel management software that enables you to manage your travel itinerary. With all your travel information on one dashboard, it is easier to stay on top of your bookings and expenses. This way, you can prevent going over budget, manage the travel itinerary, and keep everything organized.
Cloud storage is great for backing up files, but it doesn’t offer the same level of organization and tracking as travel management software.
Business travelers often face the issue of immediately adjusting their bodies to a different time zone when traveling abroad. This problem is often called jet lag. It occurs when your body’s daily clock is still in sync with the original time zone instead of the one you’ve traveled to. It is a temporary sleep problem often accompanied by fatigue, stomach problems, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.
Solution: To minimize the effects of jet lag, get enough rest before you start your business trip. This is because sleep deprivation worsens the effects of jet lag. You can also try adjusting your body to the time zone you are traveling to a few days before you depart by going to bed a few hours earlier or eating meals before you usually do.
You can also arrive a day or two before your event or meeting so that your body gets enough time to adjust to the new geography and time zone. Furthermore, try to sleep only at the local nighttime when you arrive at your destination. All these things will ensure you are energized and productive on work days.
One of the biggest business travel challenges you encounter while booking tickets through the traditional method is the requirement of multiple approvals for scheduling a business trip.
Also, the traditional corporate ticket-booking procedure does not allow you to personalize your travel. Most companies have a pretty rigid travel itinerary and a standard conference package. Hence, employees are bound to check in to the same place, stay at the same hotel, and eat the same food.
While this is a standard, wouldn’t you prefer to have a travel itinerary that is unique to you and open to custom changes? Of course, you would.
Solution: Companies can adopt a travel management software that enables quick bookings. Therefore, instead of you having to write multiple emails to the travel manager for booking your ticket, the software notifies them as soon as you raise a booking request.
Moreover, travel management software eases the process of modifications in the travel itinerary. You simply create a request for change in your booking on the app. This way, both the employee and the travel manager save time and effort.
Every employee has their own way of meticulously preparing a monthly budget to spend, save, or invest. However, sudden corporate travel expenses can disrupt your cash flow significantly when reimbursement is delayed. This can cause frustration and lead to less productivity. Furthermore, it impacts your morale, and you may resent business travel. In a few cases, employees also consider switching their jobs.
There’s often a delay in reimbursement when one person is in charge of the expenses for many. Other delays include manual expense filing, the missed deadline, out-of-policy expense submissions, and misplaced receipts.
Solution: You can solve this problem by using tools that automate the process of expense filing and fast-track the approval flow. A business travel expense software can help save time by sending notifications to approvers as soon as the booking request is raised. Additionally, employees can see the travel expense policy in real-time, eliminating the need for out-of-policy approvals.
One of the main challenges companies face in corporate travel management is to ensure policy compliance. It’s understandable that companies want their employees to read through their travel policy documents thoroughly. However, it can be tough to do so when you have a lot of other responsibilities.
Moreover, most travel policies are too lengthy or complicated. To make matters worse, they are often written in legal jargon that is difficult to understand. As a result, you might be unaware of what is expected of you or choose to ignore the policy altogether.
Solution: In order to lessen the burden of travel policy compliance, companies should opt for travel management software that allows employees to view the policy while booking. This makes bookings easier as you can customize your trip around the travel policy.
One of the business travel challenges you can face is the inability to track corporate travel expenditure. It is essential for business travelers to keep track of all their receipts which is necessary for filing expense reports for reimbursement under company policy.
Employees often find it challenging to keep track of their budget and expenses when traveling for business. Sometimes receipts are missing, and other times expenditures don’t fall within the travel policy. This can be a challenge, as it can be difficult to stay within the budget if you don’t keep a track of all expenses in one place. In some cases, if you fail to report your expenses by the set deadline, they might not be reimbursed by the company.
Solution: Employees can choose to track their expenses via an expense tracking software tool to help them stay within their budget. However, this tool may not be integrated with the company’s travel policies, so employees may not know whether their expenses will be reimbursed.
However, if the company adopts a unified travel and expense management software, the process is much more efficient for employees. This software can automate expense tracking by automatically creating expense reports with just a click of the picture of the receipt. This also helps avoid out-of-policy expenses and helps employees keep track of their budgets.
International travel often poses a health risk. Hence, if you are traveling abroad, you should take preventive measures to minimize the chances of catching an infection. In addition, you can find it difficult to adjust to the weather and food when traveling to a new place. This can interfere with your body clock and sleep, making you fall sick.
Poorly made food and untreated water are common causes of gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea while traveling. Mosquito bites are also common, and they can transmit diseases like malaria. Additionally, fever and respiratory tract infection are both possible while traveling.
Solution: When traveling for business, it is always a good idea to stick with a diet that you are comfortable and familiar with. This little tip can go a long way in helping you avoid any potential sickness that could come from trying new foods while abroad.
Moreover, you should pack a first-aid kit full of medication for common illnesses such as colds, stomach aches, or headaches. Another helpful tip is taking vitamins and other supplements that boost energy and help alleviate fatigue. You must also remember to carry a mosquito repellent cream with you.
One of the significant business travel challenges that employees face is getting business travel support during a business trip. Employees who take business trips may face particular problems regarding flights, accommodation, or the destination itself. For instance, you might need urgent support if the hotel assigns you the wrong room or you need a cab.
If there is only one travel manager in the company, that person may be unable to answer all employee inquiries immediately. Additionally, employees might hesitate to approach the travel manager with questions.
Solution: Companies can outsource the process of business travel management to a Travel Management Company (TMC). The TMC can provide 24/7 support to employees through various channels, such as calls, texts, or email. A competent TMC also provides a dedicated travel manager who can solve any doubts immediately and make sure that it complies with your company’s travel policy.
Delayed and canceled flights are a common problem for business travelers. Although it may not be as big of an issue for tourists and leisure travelers, it can cause a great deal of loss for those traveling for business purposes.
A delayed flight can cause the traveler to miss an important meeting or other engagement. Flights can be delayed for several reasons, including bad weather or engine failure. Although you can do little at the last moment, employees can take a few steps to avoid such situations.
Solution: When booking flights, selecting early morning flights is recommended because flight schedules are often interdependent, and delays with one flight can cause delays for other flights later in the day. By booking an early morning flight, you minimize the risk of delays and ensure that you arrive at your destination on time.
Anticipating travel delays in your schedule is critical when planning to attend a meeting. Make sure to give yourself extra time in your itinerary in case of traffic, flight delays, bad weather, or other issues that may arise en route to your meeting.
No matter how often you travel for business or how well you think you’ve packed, business travel challenges will always come up. While you can’t avoid them entirely, being prepared can help you deal with them more easily. Whether it’s health issues, delayed reimbursements, or jet lag, a little planning can ensure your business trip is a success.
ITILITE is a unified travel and expense management software that helps you overcome these business travel challenges. You can book tickets within 90 seconds from the widest range of travel inventory available. It is a SaaS-based platform that enables you to track and file your business expenses on the go. We offer 24/7 support for any issues, be it last-minute changes to your flight bookings, cancelations, or hotel arrangements.
Get a free demo of ITILITE to experience all the features yourself.