Are you embarking on a business trip for the first time? Or are you a travel manager tasked with streamlining corporate travel procedures for your organization? Traveling for work comes with a variety of considerations, and sadly you won't find a business travel for dummies guide!
From keeping your flights and accommodation on budget to staying safe in a different city, there are many elements business travelers and management need to coordinate both before and after departure.
In this beginners guide to business travel, we share everything you need to do before, during, and after your next business trip, plus a list for travel managers handling the itineraries of an entire organization.
Heading on a business trip?
Before you leave
Check your company's travel policy
Before booking travel arrangements, make sure you aren't breaking any rules. Your company will likely have a business travel policy outlining the travel spending allowed for airfares, hotel rooms, or transportation. This policy will also lay out any preferred operators or a booking process for your work trip and any per diem rates for food and other expenses.
Getting up to speed with your organization's travel policy can also ensure you know the correct procedures for reimbursement so you can keep all the necessary receipts and records while you are on the road.
Look up loyalty programs
Your company's travel policy may also detail any loyalty programs the business has with hotel chains or airlines. Alternatively, your organization might be happy for you to rack up your own points and improve your travel experience with frequent flyer memberships or credit card rewards programs.
Research which loyalty schemes give you access to interesting perks for your trip. You might score complimentary wi-fi or an upgrade on your hotel room or rental car just for signing up.
Stay up to date with disruptions
As we all know, things can change fast! Keeping on top of any security concerns or adjustments to your itinerary can be challenging without assistance. Emails can get overlooked, and busy schedules can keep travelers from learning the latest developments for their destination. Using a travel management solution can keep corporate travelers in the loop by sending https://www.travelperk.com/travel-solutions/travel-safety-solution/.
Install useful apps
Thanks to modern technology, more often than not, the solution to any problem is in the palm of your hand! From accessing instant transportation options with Uber to busting jet lag with Timeshifter, there are a variety of apps that are helpful on business trips. But apps are more than just great problem solvers. They can also help you use your travel time more efficiently. For example, if you have access to your organization's expense management software, you could have your travel spending report done and dusted on your layover!
During your trip
Keep your receipts
Every expense you intend to claim from your company must be reported accurately on your return. As well as collecting physical receipts, it can pay to take photos just in case you lose the originals.
Quick packing tip. Speed up your expense reporting on your return, and take a plastic envelope to keep all your business receipts wrinkle-free and separate from those generated by personal purchases. Streamline the process even further by using an expense reporting tool that lets you photograph your receipts and submit them for reimbursement from the road.
Work on your wellbeing
Any seasoned corporate traveler will tell you that work trips can be exhausting. Staying hydrated, eating healthily, and carving out time in your schedule for your wellbeing are vital. Whether it’s an hour to hit the gym or some downtime to catch up with friends and family back home, keeping connected to your usual routine while traveling is important to avoid feeling stressed and burnt out by your business trip.
After your trip
Get ready for reimbursement
No one wants a long wait to be reimbursed for their expenses. If you have kept a good record while you are away, submitting your expense report should be a breeze! Avoid any last-minute stress and send it off straight away. That way, you can fill in any missing details while your memory is still fresh.
Looking after a team of corporate travelers?
Before travelers depart
Empower employees to book their itineraries
How employees book their travel arrangements will depend on whether your organization has a managed or unmanaged travel program. Unmanaged corporate travel will usually see team members book their accommodation and flights. A more managed approach can help businesses save time and take advantage of the corporate rates a travel management tool can negotiate.
With a travel management solution like TravelPerk, employees can still enjoy the autonomy of booking their hotels and transportation. But rather than searching through a myriad of websites, they have a streamlined dashboard with the largest inventory in the travel industry.
On top of benefitting from special rates, businesses can also integrate their travel policies and utilize automated approval systems to ensure compliance. Plus, users can benefit from first-class customer support to rapidly resolve any unexpected issues or cancellations.
Easily track your event budget spend
When you book your business travel through TravelPerk, your travel policy is seamlessly integrated into our platform. This gives your employees better visibility of what’s in policy and helps them make more informed choices when booking their trips. Plus, you can set up automated approvals giving more control and peace of mind for your finance team too!
Go the extra mile for executive travelers
As a travel manager, you may be responsible for booking the travel arrangements for company executives. On top of arranging their flights, car rental, and accommodation, see if you can improve their travel experience.
Call ahead to see if you can secure an upgrade on their hotel room or ensure they have the correct adapter or enough business cards for their trip. These thoughtful details will be noticed with execs always strapped for time before they travel.
Cut your carbon
Business travel can be a big contributor to a company's carbon footprint. To be more sustainable, travel managers might be responsible for finding greener alternatives to employees' travel arrangements. A solution like GreenPerk can help you streamline efforts to be more eco-conscious.
With a simple-to-use dashboard, corporate travelers are alerted to more environmentally friendly options during the booking process. Any remaining carbon emissions can be offset easily through VERRA-certified initiatives.
While travelers are on the road
Ensure traveler safety
The security of business travelers is always any organization's top priority. But without the proper tools, keeping your traveling employees safe can be challenging. Manually tracking your itineraries is time-consuming and risky, with oversights all too easy amid a stressful situation. Plus, without external out-of-hours support, a rotating rota of managers has to be on call to cover travel emergencies.
With a tool like TravelPerk, coordinators can track all their travelers at the click of a button. Rather than relying on the news or social media, travel managers and travelers receive real-time notifications for any safety considerations or itinerary changes. With a system in place, management can sleep easy knowing users can benefit from round-the-clock assistance from a team of human customer support agents 365 days a year.
After travelers return
Check in with your travelers
When travel arrangements run smoothly, corporate travelers can tackle their business meetings in the best frame of mind. Ask your business travelers for their travel tips and to leave reviews on any travel management systems you use. These details can be useful for improving the travel experience of a coworker and are especially handy if you are responsible for booking executives' travel arrangements.
Review travel receipts
If you are responsible for business travel for your organization, you will likely oversee travel budgets for several departments. Once your corporate travelers are back, reviewing their travel costs can speed up reimbursement and ensure all expense reports are correct before they hit the desk of the finance team.
Utilizing a travel management solution like TravelPerk can save travel managers and finance teams significant person-hours. TravelPerk's reporting tools allow management to analyze business travel expenses by various metrics in just a few clicks. No more wading through spreadsheets. Travel managers can see real-time spending by destination, department, or individual itinerary.
Want more tips to streamline corporate travel for your company? Check out our free guide to travel management