Keeping track of attendees in the lead up to and during a company event
Who hasn’t been on the receiving end of a complicated email chain at work? You know how things go: It starts out simply enough, maybe with just one email asking a few people when they’re going to arrange their flight bookings for the upcoming company event. Then before you know it, you’re drowning under a barrage of “reply-alls”, as employees try to answer your question while coordinating their travel plans with each other. Your inbox is pinging nonstop, and you’re getting increasingly stressed out, constantly clicking on emails and unable to focus on your other tasks.
Luckily, this scenario isn’t inevitable. There are plenty of trip planning solutions out there that can help travel managers and admin professionals coordinate group business travel more easily, without the hassle of constant notifications or complicated email chains. In this guide, we’ll explore the various options you have for group travel tracking, and how to choose the option that’s most suitable for your team’s next trip to an event.
Why is group travel tracking so challenging?
Any time you need to coordinate a group to do anything, things can start to get messy pretty quickly. This doesn’t just apply to travel, but to every type of activity in a team-based workplace. According to research cited in Forbes, 97% of employees and executives think lack of alignment within a team directly impacts the outcome of a task or project.
The larger and more spread out a group is, the more complicated it will be to coordinate between group members. In the case of company events, if your company is remote-first or has multiple offices, you might have participants traveling to events from a number of different places.
Some attendees may want to extend their getaway or change their departure destination for “bleisure” reasons (adding a few days of leisure travel to their business trip). And travelers might have different preferences than their peers when it comes to accommodation and transport. You’ll need to consider company policy, traveler needs, and budget when making bookings for each individual.
As a trip planner and travel manager, you’ll want to have full control and visibility over travel bookings before and during the event. This is especially important if changes and cancelations happen: you’ll need to know exactly what’s going on, and will need support to help you deal with the problem.
But email doesn’t give you this visibility or support. You’ll have to figure things out entirely on your own, and with different messages flying around, some information will inevitably get lost. In the worst-case scenario, this could lead to canceled trips or a disrupted event.
What kind of solutions exist for tracking group business travel?
Recommended solution: Travel management software platforms
Today, an increasing number of companies are turning to software to make communication, coordination, and travel management easier. A Gartner survey showed that 80% of companies were using some type of collaboration tool in 2021. Since coordinating a group of people can be tricky, using one centralized software can help you keep information organized in a single place.
Travel management software is a great way to get the best travel experience, and save time and money when booking business travel—while also providing you with easy solutions for group travel booking and management. Travel planning apps can give you access to exclusive deals and discounts on car rentals, hotels, and flights, plus tools for carbon offsetting, VAT recovery, expense reporting, and more. Some travel management platforms also have built-in solutions for group travel tracking and corporate events.
For example, TravelPerk Events, an industry-leading event travel management solution, can help you gain full visibility over your group travel bookings. The platform allows you to view all travelers’ plans and changes in real time. This means no more email chains, spreadsheets, or tracking documents. Instead, you’ll have all your information stored in one place.
TravelPerk Events is suitable for groups of all sizes, including small (1-5 travelers), medium (6-20 travelers), or large (20+ travelers). Using the software, you can easily see everyone’s travel bookings and RSVP status at a glance, and message people individually if needed. You can book transport and accommodation for travelers directly through the platform, or they can self-book from TravelPerk’s exclusive inventory according to your company policies.
TravelPerk Events gives you control over all aspects of the travel process. You can:
- Check arrival and departure times
- View travel itineraries
- See who’s taking the same flights or trains
- Review check-in and check-out dates for hotel or Airbnb bookings
- See which groups will be in which hotels
Best of all, if anything goes wrong, travelers won’t have to try and fix things alone—TravelPerk offers 24/7 human support both offline (by phone) and through our mobile app for iOS (iPhone) or Android. Your travelers will have a response within 15 seconds or less.
Corporate agencies or local travel agents
Another possible solution for group trip planning and management is using a travel agency. Some companies opt to work with travel agencies that focus specifically on corporate clients, while others partner with local travel agents who sell primarily to individuals.
When it comes to booking business travel for a medium-sized or large group, travel agencies can take some of the work off your hands. They are able to secure and manage group bookings for transport and accommodation, and can share this information with you.
However, booking through a travel agency can actually end up making things even more complicated. You’re now introducing a third party into the booking process, which just adds more people for the information to go through. As the travel planner, you’ll have very little control over what’s going on: Every time you need an update on trip itineraries or anything else, you’ll have to contact the travel agency again.
Travel agencies often don’t provide 24/7 support, and even when they do, their offsite support teams aren’t always able to solve the problem quickly or effectively. A recent report from Next Caller showed that 65% of consumers found their experiences dealing with customer support in the travel industry to be “just OK” or “slow and frustrating”.
Unfortunately, trip cancelations, delays, and lost luggage have been all too common in recent years, with 73% of frequent business travelers saying their recent trips have been disrupted in some way. Since there are so many ways trips can go wrong, it’s extra important to have access to fast, hands-on support at any time of day.
Consumer booking websites/self-booking
You also have the option of making all your bookings via consumer websites. If your company is small and just starting out with group business travel, you may be using this method. By making all the bookings yourself, or allowing each traveler to self-book online by credit card, you’ll have more control over the process than you would by using a travel agency.
However, this still isn’t an ideal solution for booking group travel. If you allow travelers to book across multiple websites and apps, you’ll end up with a mess of different bookings that are extremely hard to keep track of. And if there are any changes or cancelations while travelers are on the road, you won’t have much support, and are very likely to lose all or most of the money spent on their bookings. Compare this to TravelPerk’s FlexiPerk system, which allows you to cancel at any time up to two hours before travel and get 80% or more of your trip refunded, and you can easily see why investing in travel management software is well worth it.
To see how TravelPerk Events can help you gain better visibility over your group travel bookings, contact us to see our platform in action today.