October 7th, 2019
7 Tips and Tricks for Business Travel Managers
You are thinking about ordering new office supplies — boom — there is a call and someone is requesting you to book a business trip. Especially when new time-consuming, complex tasks keep coming your way this might be tough to handle.
One such task that can turn out to be super stressful when it lands on your plate is booking business travel. Trying to get a colleague’s passport details while they are in a meeting isn’t any fun, either.
No worries, we’ve got you covered with seven awesome tips to get business travel booking done smoothly and quickly.
1. Create a certain procedure for travel requests
At many companies, small or large, there is no protocol for booking travel. Ask yourself a few quick questions:
– Do some employees ask you to book their trip in email while others ask you in person?
– Do some employees give you all the info that you require while others give you just dates and locations?
– Do some employees tell about their seat preferences when first requesting the booking while others mention special requests days later or even when boarding the plane?
If you answered ‘yes” to any of the questions, guess what…it’s time to create a procedure for travel requests.
Yes, it will take time for employees to get used to it, but once they’re accustomed to your new process, there will be fewer last-minute issues and clearer communication for everyone involved. So eventually, they will thank you.
The travel request document can be a fillable PDF that gets emailed to you or a live form that gives you a notification whenever it’s filled out.
You’ll need to include:
- Airline or hotel preferences (individual ones over the corporate ones)
- If ground transportation is needed and to/from where
- Dates and if there’s flexibility with date ranges
Pay attention to what details you are always clarifying with employees, and add those items to your travel request form.
2. Save traveler info where you book flights
Get ready, this tip is going to save you massive amounts of time
Rather than create traveler profile forms (or chase people down for their details), save all traveler details in one secure place…the place where you book travel.
Each traveler can be added as a user to your company’s WOTRA account, so when you enter their details once, you never have to add them again! This includes requisite info like birth dates and travel documents as well as helpful details like loyalty program numbers. (Saving loyalty program details will make you everyone’s most loved person ever.)
3. Don’t make employees pay for trips and then claim reimbursements later
Some employees will claim they are okay paying upfront for their own trips, but this gets messy quickly. When business travelers go rogue and pay for themselves, you can’t be sure they are booking within policy until after the fact.
As an admin, it’s better to handle everything (including payment) on their behalf, whether that’s paying upfront with the company card or via monthly invoices.
But what if this situation happens on accident or in error? An employee might have followed protocol, but the hotel could be requesting payment on site. If this happens, you’ll have to be available to clarify any issue with the hotel. If you book with WOTRA, our customer support is available 24/7.
4. Satisfy travel requests quickly (so long as all details are squared away)
Processing travel requests within 24 hours are the best way to stay under budget. In the vast majority of cases, the price of flights and hotels only increases as the trip gets nearer. So when you book quickly, you usually secure the best price.
Even though you’ve received a travel request, the employee who submitted it might come back with an itinerary change.
Double-check with employees that all trip details are set, and consider putting a checkbox on your travel request form that says something like “Keeping in mind unforeseen circumstances, is this trip ready to be booked in the next 24 hours?”
That question will help deter employees from submitting a travel request form too soon.
5. Don’t waste time looking at the wrong hotels
With flights, there are usually only a few great, viable options. Everything else is either ridiculously priced or has the worst layovers imaginable. But when it comes to hotels, the options are endless…and overwhelming.
As an office manager, your time is limited and very valuable, so don’t waste it looking at hotels that aren’t a fit.
- Instead the only search among hotels that are:
- Preferred by your company
- On negotiated rates with your company
- On budget
6. Give the traveler all their trip details in one place
To save time on booking, you also need to proactively save time after the trip is booked. You don’t want a traveler who knows their flight info asking you for their ground transportation details and vice versa.
The best way to do this is to save everything in one place, like a single email or PDF. Or at the very least remind travelers after booking to use an app like TripIt. WOTRA uses a creative tool so You can keep track of all the details.
7. Demand awesome customer support whenever you book business travel
We all have been there…waiting on hold to tell the same story to the 5th customer service rep in one day.
Relieve some of the stress of trip booking off your shoulders by making sure to book with a business travel solution that has excellent support.
Whatever you have to do to seek help, do it! You deserve it, and your company needs you. The time you save booking travel can be spent on other administrative improvements you’re putting in place and most probably thought about the day before.
WOTRA travel agency helps executive assistants and office managers save time booking and managing travel for their times with traveler profiles, corporate-approved hotel searches, and superior, custom support.