The complete guide to corporate travel planning

Organizing transportation, booking accommodation, complying with a travel policy, properly reporting expenses… Travel planning can seem like a tough mountain to climb—especially when there’s no cable car options to book! Fear not, in this article we’ll look at the best practices to make business travel stress-free so you can leave the headaches at home.
Before we dive in, let’s take a look at some of the challenges involved in business travel management and planning that so many travel managers can relate to.

The challenges of corporate travel planning

Corporate travel planning has some of the same pain points you’ll encounter when booking personal travel. A family trip entails keeping within a budget, and trying to accommodate everyone’s needs when booking travel or accommodation.
It stops there for private travel, but is 10x’d when it comes to corporate travel planning. Booking under the umbrella of corporate policies, employer duty of care responsibilities, entire team bookings, will make things that much more complicated.
There are four key challenges for every when it comes to business travel planning:

Compliance and control

Balancing employee mobility with adherence to organizational travel policies is crucial. mitigates risks associated with non-compliance: like breaking budgets or putting employees in vulnerable situations.
Those who plan corporate travel also need to ensure things like vaccines, visas, passports, and other travel documents are all in order for the trip.

Cost management

Escalating travel expenses requires the optimization of travel budgets—without compromising on the quality of travel arrangements. Identifying cost-effective solutions and getting the best deal for the company is an uphill climb corporate travel managers need to deal with.

Traveler safety

Prioritizing the is imperative. Navigating geopolitical landscapes and addressing health and security concerns are part of the comprehensive risk management strategies that anyone planning corporate travel needs to have in their luggage.


The digitization of the workplace has revolutionized corporate travel planning. It can help streamline processes by bringing many of your processes under one roof, or in one app in this case.
But, it also introduces its own set of complexities. For example, managing multiple booking tools and third-party websites while ensuring data security is a beast that seemingly forever needs taming.
Besides these main areas, modern travel preferences have been changing. From the rise of bleisure travel to the demand for sustainable options, corporate travel planning requires a forward-thinking approach to be able to book with these preferences in mind.
Now that we understand the many challenges there are when planning corporate travel, let’s look at how you can make corporate travel plans easier for you and your team.

7 Steps and best practices for planning successful corporate trips

We've all felt the headache of planning business trips. But, there's light at the end of the tunnel for corporate travel planners everywhere. Let's dive into seven best practices that can turn corporate travel planning hassles into hurrah!

1) Budget wise and clear

First thing’s first, let's talk money. Setting a clear budget lays the foundation for successful corporate travel planning. Knowing your financial limits helps prioritize expenses and prevents overspending. Plus, it ensures that you're getting the most bang for your buck for every trip.
Here are some key questions you should consider when it comes to :
  • How much funding is available for this trip?
  • How can we keep spend low, while not shortcutting on traveler safety?
  • Are there any potential cost-saving measures or alternative options to consider?
  • Can we benchmark the of this trip against previous trips?
“A big thing we consider for business trips is the company’s expense policy, and giving employees the resources they need to act on it. Employees should have a clear understanding of what they’re allowed to expense, and how much they’re allowed to expense on each category. For example, hotels, food, and transportation all need policies, budgets, and clear guidelines.”
—Grace Berry, Assistant Management Accountant at LGT Wealth Management.

2) Craft a digestible corporate travel policy

Bullet points can help employees understand their destination's dos and don'ts, covering everything from safety protocols to preferred modes of transportation. A well-defined keeps everyone on the same page, minimizing confusion and maximizing efficiency.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to take into account safety considerations for specific destinations within your company policies, as well as include any legal or regulatory requirements that the policy needs to address.
Wrap all of this up in a one-pager if possible, deliver information in a way that employees will either remember it clearly, or can access easily and quickly while on the move.

3) Choose the right travel management platform or software

When selecting a travel management platform, aim for a comprehensive solution that will feel like having a whole travel agency or experienced travel agent in your pocket.
Look for a platform offering a wide inventory of travel options—including flights and accommodation—along with crucial features like duty of care, automated reimbursement approvals, and click-and-grab expense reports.
You’ll also want to consider the quality of customer support you’ll be getting—you don’t want your travelers to be stuck anywhere without access to speedy help or they likely won’t be traveling again for your business.
We spoke to , HR Business Partner at . Anja shared some key considerations to keep in mind when choosing a travel management tool:
  • What specific features and functionalities are essential for our organization's travel management needs?
  • How user-friendly is the platform for both travel planners and travelers?
  • What level of support and assistance does the platform provider offer?
  • Are there any potential integration challenges with our existing systems or processes?
  • What level of training and support will be necessary to ensure the successful adoption and usage of the software or platform?
  • How can we measure the effectiveness and return on investment of the software over time?

4) Run thorough destination research

Before sending employees off on their adventures, do your homework. Dive deep into destination details like weather conditions, transportation options, and local safety concerns.
It’s important to research any cultural or social norms that travelers might need to be aware of and pass this information on. This will enable your travelers to be successful in operating their way through a new environment.

5) Craft detailed itineraries

It may seem daunting, but trust us, detailed itineraries for every travel booking are well worth it. These leave no room for uncertainty, covering everything from flight details to car rental pick-ups and drop-offs, business priorities, sightseeing spots, and free time for relaxation. They should be a mix of business and (personalized) leisure to ensure the travel experience is equal parts productive as it is enjoyable.
Not only does this save travelers time, but it also adds a layer of organization that's invaluable during busy trips, and the template can be rinsed and repeated for future trips.

6) Book in advance

Remember the golden rule: the early bird gets the worm. Booking flights and accommodation well in advance comes with cost-saving benefits galore. It allows for greater flexibility in choosing preferred travel options and securing corporate discounts where you can.
However, keep in mind that you’ll also need to be prepared for some last-minute changes, so plan for those as much as possible and stay on your toes (or at your fingertips) when travelers are on trip.

7) Choose your accommodation wisely

A good night's sleep is essential for productive business trips. After all, a well-rested traveler is a happy and productive traveler.
Here are some questions to keep in mind when it comes to choosing the right accommodation for your travelers:
  • How important is proximity to the primary business activities or event venue?
  • What amenities or services are essential for ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay that’s within budget?
  • Is the room far enough from street level if you’re booking in a busy city?
  • Is the accommodation type suitable for business travelers—we don’t want to be booking CEOs in hostels!
By considering these seven best practices, you’ll be able to navigate the complexities of corporate travel with a little more confidence and efficiency than before.

Key metrics for measuring travel management success

Picture this: you’ve planned the trip, your travelers are now back in office.
Now what?
A key thing to do is evaluate the effectiveness of your corporate travel program. To do this, you’ll need to set some key performance indicators (KPIs) in place like:
  • cost savings achieved
  • traveler satisfaction
  • compliance rates
  • percentage of changes and cancellations
By analyzing these metrics after each trip by implementing post-trip debriefs, travel managers will be able to ensure more successful trips (and trip planning) in the future.
Ready to improve your corporate travel planning?

Make corporate travel planning a doddle with TravelPerk

Whether you’re a corporate travel planner or a travel manager, corporate travel can be made a whole lot easier when you use a travel management company like TravelPerk.
TravelPerk’s easy-to-use platform allows you to book transport, accommodation, and more from one place. You’ll be able to enjoy a baked-in , get real-time visibility on travelers and expenses, and access with a 15-second response time.
to see how TravelPerk can streamline your corporate travel planning today.
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