The role of office manager encompasses a wide range of responsibilities. With such a hectic workload, it’s important to save yourself time and headaches wherever possible. One task that office managers can streamline effectively is booking business travel.
Thanks to new online solutions, what once was a stressful and time-consuming process can be automated to improve employee experience, increase compliance with company travel policies and save time for busy managers.
So how can office managers take advantage of the latest technology and make organizing travel arrangements a breeze? Check out our 8 tips below to make corporate travel management more efficient and cost-effective for your organization.
1. Create a procedure for business travel
At many companies (especially startups), there is no protocol for booking travel. Ask yourself a few quick questions:
- Do some employees ask you to book their trip over email while others ask you in person?
- Do some employees give you all the info you need while others give you just dates and locations?
- Do some employees tell you their seat preferences when first requesting the booking while others mention special requests days later?
If you answered ‘yes” to any of the questions, guess what…it’s time to set up a process for booking business travel. Some organizations still use travel requests and a system like Google forms to record the dates, location, hotel and airline preference, ground transportation needs, and the amount of flexibility of upcoming business trips.
Other companies are moving away from travel request forms and adopting the newest technology. Finding a travel management tool can streamline the booking process and assist corporate travelers with a range of tasks associated with business travel.
2. Take advantage of automation
To really level up your business travel booking, skip request forms and use the latest AI to automate making arrangements. With an online booking tool like TravelPerk, office managers can input corporate travel policies in minutes to establish clear spending limits and guarantee compliance.
Using these systems allows business travelers to build their own travel plans, saving office managers time and improving the experience for employees. Staff can pick the flights that get them home in time to pick up the kids or a hotel with room service so they can grab a quick bite after a long day of travel.
However, these systems do more than allow corporate travelers to make travel arrangements that suit their personal preferences. They remove the endless searching through multiple websites looking to secure the cheapest rate for air travel, hotel rooms, or rental cars. With a world-class inventory of travel services, TravelPerk users can select their travel itinerary from the best rates in the industry all on one easy-to-use dashboard.
After making their choices, trips that fall within your company travel policy are automatically approved, saving managers time and reducing the risk of price increases. Itineraries that require an extra set of eyes are flagged to management for the final green light ensuring travel spend is never overextended unnecessarily.
Travel management systems can also streamline cancellations with solutions like FlexiPerk offering generous flexibility on rates for business travelers. Up to two hours before departure, office managers can cancel an employees’ travel and hand over the administration and expense reimbursement to our support agents.
3. Save traveler info where you book flights
Get ready, this tip is going to save you A TON of time.
Rather than create traveler profile templates (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 TravelPerk 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 favorite person ever.)
4. Don’t make employees pay for trips and then request reimbursements later
Some employees will claim they’re 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’re 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. Advanced corporate travel solutions can simplify keeping track of business expenses and credit card payments before departure and while on the road. At the same time, managers can collate invoices for travel costs by itinerary or on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis.
But what if employee travel results in unexpected expenses? Perhaps a business traveler might have followed protocol, but the hotel could be requesting payment on site. If this happens, you’ll have to be available to clarify related expenses with the hotel. If you book with TravelPerk, our customer support is available 24/7.
5. Don’t waste time looking at the wrong hotels
With flights, there are usually only a few great, viable options. Finding the balance between airfare and the number of layovers can be challenging, especially for international travel. 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 only search among hotels that are:
- Preferred by your company
- Benefit from negotiated room rates
- On budget with allowable expenses for your travel destination
TravelPerk’s hotel search function makes it easy to filter results and even gives you map overlays so you can quickly weigh location against various filters as well.
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.
Anything booked with TravelPerk is saved in one place automatically and can be accessed at any time with just one log-in. On the move? The TravelPerk mobile app allows corporate travelers to see all their details on the road. Plus, with TravelPerk’s travel safety solution, managers can comply with their duty of care and give their teams total peace of mind.
Both management and travelers can receive real-time notifications alerting them to security concerns, changes to their itineraries, and travel regulations updates.
7. Go above and beyond for executives
Establishing protocols for employees to make arrangements for their work trips is a fantastic way to streamline the travel booking process and save money on travel expenses. However, executives may still need office managers to handle their next business trip itinerary.
In the past, office managers had to employ complicated systems to keep tabs on each exec’s personal preferences, reward programs, and other travel needs. A travel management tool can save passenger details, avoiding embarrassment around who has permission to travel business class and who sticks to economy class.
These online travel solutions can also provide concierge services similar to those of the traditional travel agent. These extra assistants can help secure restaurant reservations and other exclusive perks for your executive travelers.
Whether it’s ensuring they have chargers or extra business cards to scoping out wifi speeds or travel tips for their destination, outsourcing administrative tasks can free up office managers to go the extra mile for top-tier management.
8. Demand great customer support whenever you book travel
You’ve been there…you dial yet another phone number and wait on hold to tell the same story to the 4th customer service rep in one day.
Relieve some of the stress of trip booking off your shoulders by making sure to book with a corporate travel site that has excellent support. You deserve it, and your company needs you. The time you save booking travel can be spent on the myriad other administrative improvements you’re putting in place!TravelPerk helps executive assistants and office managers save time booking and managing travel for their teams with traveler profiles, corporate-approved hotel searches, and superior customer support.
Make business travel simpler. Forever.
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