As every business grows, a time will come when employees will have to travel locally or internationally to represent the company in some capacity. These trips could vary from conferences, sales meetings, client trips, or company retreats. Proper preparation for business trips allows for safe travelling, helps to accomplish trip goals, and improves the company's reputation.
Business travel management involves balancing schedules, preferences, and budgets. A business trip should be planned to ensure safety, comfort, and productivity throughout the trip. Through all this, it is also important to stay within the guidelines of expenses.
This article will explore the do’s and don’ts to be careful about during business travel management.
Do’s to keep in mind during business travel management
While planning business travel, there are important factors to consider for a smooth experience. Below are some do’s to note:
Hire a travel management company
Some companies have in-house staff dedicated to travel management while others outsource to travel management companies. Travel Management Companies (TMCs) are travel agencies for corporate travel needs. As technology evolves, there is an emergence of personalized TMC solutions providing so much more than the ability to book trips.
TMCs minimize most of the effort that comes with organizing business travel. They book, and manage reports on your business travel and provide support and security for traveling employees. You can check out top travel management companies in the UK to assist your company with business travel.
When working with a travel management company, you'll have experienced travel bookers on hand to help you get the best deals. For smaller businesses with limited resources, finding the best and most cost-effective deals is a must.
Use travel management software
Travel-management software is used to book, manage, track, and report trips. These software also help to automate corporate travel policies and consolidate travel invoices and vendors.
Travel-management software helps individuals and companies to spend less time manually planning trips and logging travel expenses. The software solves the common issues of travel, such as canceled flights or an overbooked hotel. It also helps companies keep their travel policies traceable and enforceable, keeping employees accountable while on business trips.
TMS isn’t just for large enterprises anymore. Small and medium-sized businesses can profit from booking and managing travel with software designed for businesses. This is much better than booking on consumer sites and tracking down invoices.
Be prepared for medical issues
Although it’s difficult to foresee health issues, make plans to manage them in advance. For example, before embarking on your business travel, know where to go if the need for medical attention arises. That way, if something happens, you’ll know where to head. Take any prescribed drugs you may need (extra doses, in case your return is delayed).
If you have allergies, take a list along with you. It is medically advisable to opt for bottled water throughout your stay. Also, watch what you eat to avoid contracting any foreign bugs.
Vaccination status is another important factor to consider while traveling for business. Many countries now require travelers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a negative PCR test before they are allowed in.
Business travel insurance including proper health cover is essential. However, some insurance companies mandate travelers to be fully vaccinated while others may not cover some expenses in the case of an outbreak.
Therefore, know what your insurance company covers and what they don’t cover before embarking on your trip. Review the International Association on Medical Assistance for Travelers guidelines for tips.
Have an emergency plan
The nature of business travels leaves room for confusion. This can include overbooked flights, pandemics, outbreaks, missed connections, etc. Every company should have an emergency plan for its traveling employees.
While there are limits to how much pre-planning one can do for events you can’t anticipate, there are some steps you can take. They include:
Conduct risk assessment
Risk assessment is a proactive risk management procedure that involves data analysis to detect, avoid, or resolve potential risks. It considers travel policies and profiles, as well as data collected by dedicated departments.
This information makes it possible to avert dangers and advise traveling employees about potential issues. The security measures not only include steps taken by employees themselves, but also provide information about how to contact support or where to ask for help.
The fundamentals of risk assessment can be found in traveler profiles and risk assessment strategies. These are documents prepared before a business trip and given to the employees in the form of briefings to inform them of potential risks and how to prevent them.
Don’ts to consider during business travel management
Travel errors are common in the world of business travel. The points below will allow you to know what to avoid on your upcoming business trips.
Don’t exceed company’s expenses policy
One common mistake among business travelers is spending money on a trip that is not within the company’s travel policy. Accumulating expenses outside the company’s policy can be due to not checking with your superior to see what the budget is for that particular trip.
Spending money during business trips beyond what the company allows could have unintended consequences. Sometimes, you won’t even be aware of what you did until the accounts department does not approve your expenses.
So, always double-check your company’s travel policy before a trip. If you have any questions or need clarification about any aspect of the policy, ask a superior or the company’s travel management team.
Don’t forget to create a business trip itinerary
A business trip itinerary is the summary of all the trip details in one place. This itinerary will save employees the time and frustration of scrolling through multiple files and emails to find the information they seek. It is a step further from scheduling.
So, organize every single travel document and information needed on the journey, including flight times, flight numbers, boarding passes, arrival times, etc.
Managers should make business travels flexible for employees. When travel policies don't allow for flexibility or limit access to expedited security lines, workers won't be able to get to their destinations as quickly as they could.
Travelers seek comfort and convenience. The finance department wants to know who's going on vacation and how much they're spending. The travel manager aims to make the procedure as simple as possible.
Fortunately, a basic travel-management software can assist travelers in locating the finest options and making booking and tracking expenses simple. This enables them to be in control of their trip.
Give travelers as much freedom as possible. Allow them to make certain decisions. Let them be in control and make them aware of the company’s policies. This will maximize efficiency.
Don’t assume travelers are aware of company policies
Travel managers spend a lot of time thinking about company travel policies. Not only do they know what they are, but may have contributed to their creation.
When business travelers book individually, they may not realize they are breaking the company travel policies. Ensure there is clear paperwork that explains the travel policy, including what it is, why it exists to keep them safe, and how it helps to streamline internal operations.
Managers should create clear and straightforward travel policies so travelers will stick to them. They should also make travel policies the cornerstone of travel management by offering training and messaging around it.
Don’t require endless email threads
Some travel management officers often make the mistake of ending up with back and forths for every change request or approval process. This is quite inefficient and makes it easy to lose valuable information amidst the confusion.
Lots of emails can also cause misunderstandings. Email does not include nonverbal communication. Hence, recipients may misinterpret the sender’s message. This is particularly true of senders who fail to go through their messages before they send them.
You can avoid this by using a travel management system. Travel Management Systems make booking flights and reservations, making changes, and handling payments and receipts easier. Hence, reducing the need to send emails. If there’s a need for emails, keep them short, clear, and understandable.
Business trips are key to building relationships, securing deals, and the growth of an organization. However, these perks can quickly disappear if the trip isn’t well planned. This article explored the do’s and don’ts to consider during business travel management.
WRITTEN BYSerena K. Johnson