Are you in charge of arranging business travel for your company or organisation? You may be looking for ways to make your life easier and to ensure that those you’re arranging travel for get to where they need to be without too much hassle.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the top tips you can follow for business travel planning, which will help you to ensure that your trip comes together perfectly and that your colleagues and professional team get around safely and comfortably.
Why Good Planning Matters
When you have a solid business travel plan, you save yourself a lot of time and hassle. A business trip that has been properly planned leaves less room for confusion and mishaps further down the line. There are two key reasons that a business travel plan is important, discussed below.
Efficiency and Productivity
Having a comprehensive business travel plan in place ensures that you can maximise efficiency, which will drive the overall productivity of the whole trip. A plan will allow you to consider a budget, develop an itinerary, and set achievable outcomes for the trip in general. Not only will this allow you to set up a schedule and book accommodation and transport, but it will also give those travelling peace of mind when they’re away.
Good planning also has massive cost-saving benefits for the company as it means you can take the time to figure out the best deals and carefully consider all the available options to maximise cost-effectiveness. Cost savings are the main reason that planning business travel far enough in advance is essential. The best deals usually get snapped up early on, so as a business travel planner, you want to make sure that your company is utilising its resources effectively.
Pre-trip Planning Essentials
As experts in the business travel sector, we’ve compiled a list of business travel planning tips you can use next time you need to plan travel for yourself or your colleagues. Let’s delve into the ten essential tips for business travel planning below.
When it comes to pulling together a comprehensive business travel itinerary, it’s a good idea to map out the physical places your team needs to be and when. This will help you to figure out the best flights, taxis, trains, and accommodation to book.
Another great tool for developing a good business travel itinerary is using Google Maps. This lets you establish the time it takes to travel between point A and point B, which will ensure that your team arrives on time for meetings and other essential events. It will also allow you to scope out other spots in the area, like restaurants, entertainment establishments, and shops. Once you have an itinerary, booking travel and accommodation becomes easier.
When developing a business travel plan, you may be asked by your team about what to pack. A packing list is a great addition to a travel plan and will add an extra element of organisation to the overall itinerary.
Putting together a packing list is easier to do once you have an itinerary, as it will allow you to build one according to dress codes for specific meetings or events, long-haul travel stints, team-building activities, and necessities for business travel.
It will also ensure that your team does not forget anything important. You can also include items like IT equipment or files that need to be taken for specific meetings.
Creating Preference Lists
As part of your business travel plan, you may need to understand team members’ preferences. If you are required to organise meals at certain points of the journey, having dietary preferences and allergies logged is an essential part of this. Make sure you send out requests for travel preferences early on in the planning process so that any bookings you make can be done accordingly.
Having a plan before travel commences can help prepare your team and yourself for the business trip. However, there are also some tips you can use to ensure that business travellers have a smooth experience during their journey.
Navigating the Airport
If those travelling have to go through an airport, you should put together a list of factors they need to consider when they are there. Airports across the globe vary according to rules surrounding check-in times, gate closures, and number of terminals. It’s worth researching the relevant airports before your team arrives.
You should also put together strict instructions for meetup times before check-in and how early the team needs to be at their gates before their departure. This will help to ensure that the team stays together and that no one misses their flight.
Productivity During Transit
Long-haul travel may take up a lot of time, but this doesn’t mean that the time cannot be used productively. Again, having an itinerary to refer to will be massively beneficial for establishing time for any preparation work to be done. For example, if a briefing before an event or meeting needs to happen, this can be done on a long train ride.
Similarly, if someone needs to prepare a presentation, one can use the time they’re sitting on a flight or a train to prepare it. This will also help to ensure that the outcome goals for the business trip are achieved.
Making the Most of Your Stay
Different accommodations have different facilities that team members can use during business travel. If you are putting together a business travel plan, suitable accommodation forms an essential part of the trip. Here’s how to make the most out of the places you stay during business travel.
For short business trips, hotels are usually a popular option with corporate travellers. However, serviced apartments are also on the rise in terms of popularity. This is because they provide travellers with a home away from home experience, offering dedicated workspaces, WiFi, and spaces to hold meetings or social gatherings.
It’s also a great option for those who require a bit more flexibility in their schedule, as travellers are not bound by a hotel’s meal times. If you’re looking for serviced apartments for your next business trip, have a look at the range on offer from TrustedStays.
Before you or your team arrive at the destination, you must know what you can expect from the local transport systems. Public transport is often the more cost-effective way to move around a city rather than car hire or using taxis.
However, using the local transport systems is not always viable. As part of your business travel planning process, research the state of the public transport systems at your destination to avoid any surprises once you and your team arrive.
After a trip, your company must have a good financial overview of what was spent, as it will allow them to adjust budgets accordingly. You also have to ensure that those on the trip followed any corporate travel policies in place and report on whether the business goals laid out before the trip were achieved or not. For this reason, post-trip reporting and management have to form part of your business travel plan.
As part of corporate travel policy, there should be a clear and comprehensive system that travelling staff members can follow to claim back any expenses they may have incurred on the trip. When managing claims, there should be a clear understanding of the expenses deemed eligible for claiming. Ensure those claiming expenses submit receipts for what they spent money on, as this will help the financial department establish legitimate expense claims.
Follow-up and Reporting
As the trip organiser, you will also be in charge of reporting the successes and possible future improvements to the company. Every business trip should have a set goal in mind, whether it’s for client-facing meetings, generating leads, or team building. A business travel planner should build a report post-trip to demonstrate how successful the trip was based on executing the given agenda.
It’s also important to develop a follow-up strategy after the trip, as this will ensure that business relationships initiated while travelling continue to grow, ultimately driving business growth.
With so many logistics to juggle, keeping track of all the components of a business travel plan can be tricky. However, with modern technology, it's possible to organise your business travel plan all in one place. The use of apps and calendars can be game changers for business travel planning.
Useful Apps for Business Travel
Apps are a great way to learn about places you’re unfamiliar with. For example. FLIO is perfect for understanding how foreign airports work. It gives you details about security check times, distances to the departure gates, and provides you with maps for the overall layout. This is a great app to use if you are organising a business trip that involves flying.
It’s also worth having an online itinerary on platforms like Trello or using team calendars that everyone can view. This will make your business travel itinerary a lot more accessible and will minimise the paperwork required for the trip.
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