Making travel arrangements for a business trip is not as easy as it sounds. Travel managers have to take care of everything from the time the business trip is announced to the time travelers are back from the trip safely. They must ensure that all the flights, hotels, and other services align with the business trip itinerary.
Moreover, the travel manager must book flights and hotels according to travelers’ preferences, ensure they are policy compliant, and, most importantly, safe for business travelers.
If all these business travel arrangements are not made correctly, it can lead to negative results. For example, if travel managers have failed to book a suitable hotel, it hampers the employee’s state of mind. Employees can also end up going late to the business meeting if the business travel arrangements are improper. This can cost companies a fortune.
Therefore, follow these 12 essential parameters that every travel managers must keep in mind while making business travel arrangements for employees:
- Research the Destination Thoroughly
- Book Within Company’s Travel Policies
- Find The Best Deals on Flights and Hotels
- Select The Right Accommodation
- Book Flights As Per Travelers’ Preferences
- Offer Concierge Services
- Keep Travel Documents Ready
- Prepare a Detailed Itinerary
- Provide Emergency Contacts To Employees
- Use a Good Travel Management Software
- Anticipate Business Travel Challenges
- Keep Space For Employees’ Personal Time
1. Research the Destination Thoroughly
As a travel manager, you want to be good at making travel arrangements for a business trip. Hence, you must research as much as possible while planning business travel for your employees, whether a familiar destination or a new one. This includes knowing every detail about the place, such as food, weather conditions, modes of transport, location and safety of the hotel, and distance from the hotel to the airport. To avoid unnecessary risks, it is also crucial to be aware of the political situation, ongoing crisis, and civil unrest.
Moreover, some areas in the destination can be commonly known for robbery, pickpocketing, and mugging. If employees are traveling to such areas, you must warn employees to be extra careful about their belongings, business documents, and gadgets. You must also let them know how they can get around the destination:
- Are there any alternative routes they can use?
- Are the places within walking distance?
- Can they hire a cab?
- Are there any public transports they must use?
- Will their company provide transport facilities?
2. Book within Company’s Travel Policies
A company’s travel policies are a set of rules and regulations designed to outline business travel arrangements to make it easier for travel managers to manage business trips. It helps in reducing business travel expenses, makes booking easier, and keeps the travel booking process consistent.
Therefore, it is essential that you, as a travel manager, make policy-compliant flight and hotel bookings to maintain the company’s bottom line by ensuring travel policy compliance.
For instance, if you know that a mid-level employee is going on a business trip, you can book flights/ hotels according to the allotted budget.
3. Find the Best Deals on Flights and Hotels
One of the most crucial aspects of making travel arrangements for a business trip is finding the best deals and discounts for flights and hotels. For this, you must figure out how much the entire trip may cost and then begin by researching.
You can do so by finding out the best flight timings, looking for flights/ hotels that offer corporate discounts, booking in advance to avoid spending more at the last minute, negotiating with hotels for reasonable rates, and using various hotel and flight booking apps and websites to compare the rates, among many others.
Alternatively, you can hire a Travel Management Company (TMC). The TMCs partner with major flight and hotel vendors to provide you with a wide inventory of hotels and flights at discounted prices.
4. Select the Right Accommodation
Staying in a hotel during a business trip can make or break the travel experience for business travelers. Therefore, selecting accommodation that not just aligns with travel policies but also with travelers’ needs is essential. Booking the right hotel can make business travelers feel comfortable and help them get good rest.
So, how do you select suitable accommodation for your employees? Below are some factors you must keep in mind:
Location and Proximity: One of the crucial factors you must remember while selecting a hotel for your travelers is its location and proximity to the places they need to visit. Therefore, you must ensure the hotel is located in a safe area where travelers can head out easily without worrying.
Reviews of the Hotel: Reading reviews about the hotel is essential when booking hotels. Read online reviews about the hotel on third-party websites. The positive and negative reviews will give you an overall idea of the service, amenities, location safety, food quality, cleanliness, and hygiene.
Hotel Amenities: Business travelers prefer staying in hotels that have various amenities, such as a gym, swimming pool, spa, sauna, gaming area, bar, etc. Therefore, look for hotels with these amenities that will help business travelers unwind and relax after a hectic day at a meeting/conference.
Security: When an employee, especially a female business traveler, travels alone, security is the biggest concern. Hence, you must select hotels with security measures such as CCTV cameras, fingerprint scanners, peep-hole, and deadbolt locks that can make travelers feel safe.
Meal Preferences: Some business travelers prefer different meal plans – European, American, or Continental. Therefore, when booking a hotel, it is essential to consider employee meal preferences.
Additional Accommodation Facilities: Some hotels provide other facilities like meeting rooms or serviced conference rooms for employees on a business trip. Booking hotels with such facilities is an added advantage for business travelers who need to host their own meetings.
5. Book flights as per Travelers’ Preferences
There are certain flights that business travelers generally prefer traveling. It could be because of the exceptional services, convenient flight timings, fewer flight delays, hospitable staff, choice of meals, and many more.
Therefore, you must book flights according to the preferences of business travelers. An AI-based virtual travel assistant helps you understand and analyze data to understand travelers’ tastes. The machine algorithm predicts the most suitable options based on their previous trips, thus enhancing personalization. It also helps to book more quickly, saving a lot of time.
6. Offer Concierge Services
Concierge services are the additional services provided to employees, such as airport lounge access, cab services, business travel insurance, and vehicle parking. Booking these services in advance makes the trip more convenient and helps by saving time that otherwise employees may be spending non-work related activities.
You can provide concierge services to business travelers with the help of a TMC. The TMCs generally partner with various service providers which offer these services. Hence, it will be easier for you to make such arrangements.
7. Keep Travel Documents Ready
Sometimes, business travelers have to travel to different destinations in a single trip. Therefore, while making travel arrangements for a business trip, you must ensure to keep employees’ travel documents ready. Essential travel documents include:
- Passport and travel visa
- Copies of ID documents
- Flight tickets
- Proof of accommodation bookings
- Travel itinerary
- Vaccination proofs
- Travel Insurance
You must hand over digital and physical copies of these documents to the employees so they don’t get stuck anywhere and can travel without hassle.
8. Prepare a Detailed Itinerary
Creating an itinerary may seem exhausting and complicated. Researching and preparing a timeline for each event may take a while, but it helps you not miss out on anything crucial and plan business travel seamlessly. Additionally, it saves you a lot of time when it is time for employees to travel. As a travel manager, you also get an idea of the approximate budget for the whole trip.
While preparing an itinerary for employees, you must include the below details:
Every flight: Include details such as arrival and departure at the airport, the take-off time and landing time, layovers, if any, and in which class they will be flying.
Transportation: Details about modes of transportation, availability of rental cab services, what time the pick up from the airport and drop off to the hotel, transport facilities provided by the hotel, and transportation provided by the company to commute from one place to another, must be included in the itinerary.
Hotel/accommodation: You must include details of the hotel such as check-in and check-out timings, the location, meal timings, type of cuisine available, whether the breakfast is complimentary or not, and safety protocols, among others.
Sightseeing places: While business travelers are not working, they like to explore nearby places. So, you can include details about any entertainment or sightseeing places, adventure activities such as horse riding, and the best places to witness local culture and try local cuisine.
Additionally, you must book flights in advance, find and book good hotels in a safe location, arrange travel documents, make some local connections to help employees, and get in touch with a few reliable cab rental services to avoid any last-minute confusion and panic.
9. Provide Emergency Contacts To Employees
During any business trip, things can get messed up. Unforeseen circumstances can disrupt travel itineraries, such as bad weather or natural calamities. This may cause stress and panic among business travelers. Therefore, for such situations, you must prepare business travelers beforehand.
Provide emergency contact details to your employees before they embark on a business trip. Let them know whom to contact under such circumstances. You can offer 24/7 customer support for employees if anything goes wrong during their travels. Also, ensure employees know how to get in touch with local contacts in the destination city, their managers and colleagues, or even you during their business trip.
If employees are traveling internationally, ensure they have an international cellphone plan. If they don’t have one, they cannot contact you or anyone else in times of emergency.
10. Use a Good Travel Management Software
For travel managers, incorporating Travel Management Software (TMS) is a must as it streamlines the booking and planning process while making travel arrangements for a business trip. Using a travel management software solution, you can easily book flight tickets, set travel policies, create itineraries, and ensure traveler safety.
The software has a wide range of inventory of hotels from which you select and book according to traveler preferences. A TMS also provides live traveler tracking, safe hotel tagging, and 24/7 customer support for the safety of employees. By using this software, you can spend less time planning and arranging business trips manually.
11. Anticipate Business Travel Challenges
For employees, business travel can be both exciting as well as challenging. While they get to visit and explore new destinations, they also need to manage challenges such as delayed flights, mugging, lost passports and baggage, sickness, and disappointing hotel rooms.
Therefore, to overcome these business travel challenges, travel managers must be prepared beforehand to avoid any unpleasant last-minute experiences. You can take care of employees by telling them to fill out a risk assessment checklist before they go on a trip and providing a solid duty of care to employees.
12. Keep Space for Employees’ Personal Time
Apart from the primary purpose of business trips, business travelers also need some extra time to spend. Don’t forget they are away from their homes and families. Their sleep schedule is disturbed due to different time zones, and they are unable to follow a healthy regime like exercising. The constant hustle to meet business goals and deadlines can make travelers feel exhausted, grumpy, and stressed.
Therefore, as travel managers, you can take care of your employees by ensuring that you give them some space and free time. They can utilize this time to rest well, connect with their family members, go for a walk, or just relax beside a swimming pool. Although keeping their trip organized is essential, they must also spend some leisure time to relieve stress and feel relaxed.
Become an Expert at Making Travel Arrangements for a Business Trip
Making travel arrangements for a business trip is essential for travel managers. They must ensure that everything is organized and taken care of before business travelers embark on their business trips. Making proper arrangements makes business trips seamless and stress-free.
ITILITE travel management platform has partnered with the leading vendors to offer customers the most extensive inventory of flights, hotels, and cab rentals at discounted prices. Moreover, our travel management software helps you book policy-complaint flights and hotels according to travelers’ preferences, provides 24/7 customer support, and live-traveler tracking.
To try ITILITE out, get the free demo now.