One of the most stressful tasks that an office manager or personal assistant has to deal with is booking travel for the team. There are so many things to take into account, such as preferred airlines and conflicting schedules. Not to mention the constant struggle between the comfort of the traveler and the office manager who needs to keep costs down. We have compiled the ultimate list of tools that will help you, the office manager, perform your job faster and better, while keeping your team happy and productive.
1. Google Forms for collecting and organizing data
Smart office managers use Google Forms when they need to quickly gather information from several people regarding their upcoming business trips. Let’s say that you need to get a list of passport numbers, airline loyalty program numbers, preferred meal type, etc. How would you gather this information from your team? One way, of course, is to use email. But then you will be flooded with emails that you will need to analyze, summarize and store somewhere for future reference. The format of an email isn’t well-structured so you will have to go back-and-forth with the team until you get them to provide the right information.
Avoid this mess and set up a Google Form to collect the data you need; you will then have access to a well-structured Google Spreadsheet with all the information.
In order to use Google Forms, you need a Google Account. Click here to learn more about getting set up.
2. TravelPerk for booking travel
TravelPerk is a new business travel platform that allows you to plan business trips for your team. You can search, book and manage flights, hotel accommodation, vacation rental, and car rental – all in one place. Your account can be configured with your company’s travel policies, saving you tons of time by highlighting the flights and hotels that match the travel policy defined.
TravelPerk also allows you to send the completed booking with all confirmation details to all travelers in the group. So once you have the trip requirements clear, you can log-in to TravelPerk and search for the matching flights, hotels and car rental for the trip. You can book and receive a single invoice instead of having to chase different suppliers for invoices.
You can even ask for a single monthly invoice, detailing all flights, hotel and car bookings done by you and by the team over the month. Oh, and it’s completely free, so it’s a real no-brainer.
3. Expensify for expense management
Once you have booked the trip, you can create an expense report on Expensify. The mobile app provided by this company is simply amazing. The team, on the go, will simply have to take photos of any receipt they get (taxi receipt for example) and the Expensify app will analyze the spend and classify it correctly into the expense report.
When the traveler is back from the trip, they click a button to send the expense report to you for reimbursement and for your office manager records. Another cool advantage of using Expensify, is that it’s integrated to TravelPerk, so any trip booked on TravelPerk is automatically created as an expense report on Expensify. Your life as a busy office manager was never so easy!
4. TripIt for itinerary tracking
This tool is really great, especially for the business traveler. TripIt will scan the email inboxes of those who authorized it to do so, and will find flight, hotel, car, and train bookings. It will then automatically import these bookings, and let the user know that they can log-in to TripIt to manage the trip. From TripIt, the traveler can see if there are any delays on any of the flights, what the weather will be like in their destination, and much more. They can also synchronize the entire business trip to their calendar, so each flight, hotel booking, and car rental will appear on their calendar – making their life much easier and their trip much more manageable.
TripIt has a free plan that we find really great.
This concludes our list of must-have tools for the smart office manager, when booking and managing business travel for the team. What are your favorite tools to use to manage business travel? We’ll love to hear it!