As a travel manager, your travelling employee’s success on the road is directly connected to how well you prepare them for everything on their plate.
With that in mind, planning their trip with the goal of keeping your business traveler as productive and stress-free as possible requires carefully considered, clever planning.
After all, there are lots of variables to keep in mind, details to comb through, reservations to create and schedules to align. And even after all that is done, you still have to contend with the possibility of problems popping up while your traveler is on the move.
As a travel manager, the best thing you can do is to be as organized as humanly possible beforehand so that you can be free to solve problems if and when they arise.
How can you do that?
Create travel planning templates and checklists
One of the primary motivations for any travel manager planning a business trip is making sure no detail is left unaccounted for. No travel manager wants to receive a call from a desperate employee about incorrect ticket dates or problems checking-in because of mistyped information, for instance. As such, a set of templates and checklists will do wonders to prevent mistakes and oversights from occurring.
One useful document is a traveler contact sheet. It’s a single document that include all of the employee’s home and professional contact information along with standard details like name, title, ID number, etc. Additional items like airline and hotel preferences, meal requests and passport details will all make this document much stronger. Conveniently, TravelPerk lets you input most of this information once, automatically filling it in for future travel arrangements.
Another useful document is a travel planning checklist. On it goes the details for every flight, ground transportation, hotel booking, dining and entertainment reservation, and meeting or event detail, along with plenty of room for anything else. Use this to keep on top of the little details that get easily lost in the shuffle.
The last document in this section is a business trip itinerary, or a summary of all of the trip’s details in one place. This will save both you and your traveler the time and frustration of going through multiple documents and emails to find the information that matters. In fact, the creation of a full itinerary complete with the details of each of your travelling employees is another feature that TravelPerk offers to make travel planning just a bit easier.
When creating these documents, it helps to think chronologically so that you can put yourself in your traveler’s shoes and think clearly about what information is needed. And when you’re done, create not only electronic copies, but also hard copies. This cuts out any possibility that a dead smartphone or absence of internet throws your traveler off.
Prepare your traveler
The same care and attention to detail your travel planning receives is the same your employees should enjoy as well.
Create a travel folder. In it, enclose the printed business travel itinerary along with envelopes for travel receipts and any important travel or business documents they’ll need at their destination.
Think of your traveler as a mobile office representing your company domestically and abroad. As such, make sure to top up their tools: business cards, batteries, basic supplies, and other necessary consumables.
Create a traveler checklist to hand to your traveler before the trip. This will ensure your traveler doesn’t forget all the essential cords, adapters, flash drives, devices — anything they’ll possibly need!
If your traveler is catching an international flight, put together a paper dossier containing important information about their destination. Add details like currency, time zone, the local embassy’s contact information, tips on local laws and culture, common diseases, and whether or not their phone plan covers international travel. Information like this goes a very long way.
Debriefing after a business trip is just as important as the preparation. At this point, there are many aspects of the trip to go over that offer many benefits to a constantly evolving business.
When your traveler returns, retrieve their travel folder. Check for receipts, make any important notes, and then apply for reimbursements as soon as possible. Expensify integration with TravelPerk makes this exceptionally easy.
Replenish your traveler’s mobile office supplies so they’re ready to go next time around.
With your traveler, review any outstanding voice messages, emails, and other updates
Ask your traveler if everything went well and what could be better.
Remember, travel management is a continually evolving exercise, and it pays to be diligent about learning everything you can for better outcomes.