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Businesses spent roughly $1.3 trillion on global business travel in 2017, with the United States ranking second for business travel spend. Moreover, one-third of all travel tourism revenue stems from business travel. Therefore, it’s clear to see that modern companies are willing to go the extra mile to help their organizations succeed.
However, managing business travel isn’t always as easy as booking a flight and hotel. There are several moving parts to consider, and the details between Point A and Point B can be pretty complex.
Some businesses enlist corporate travel management services, while others tackle their travel needs in house. Whatever the case, it’s important to understand how to streamline your travel processes. Here are a few tips on managing business travel.
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Talk to Your Team About Business Travel
Building a great company culture is necessary for long-term growth. One of the best ways to achieve a cohesive culture is by speaking to your team and gathering feedback.
Therefore, collect feedback on your business travel policy and the experiences your team has during their trips. This allows you to make every trip as efficient as possible. Moreover, your staff will appreciate your dedication to their involvement.
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Sign Up for Rewards
Rewards programs aren’t limited just to individuals. Many rewards programs are geared towards businesses, too. For instance, businesses partnered with American Airlines Business Extra get reward points for each flight their employees take. Plus, the employee gets their own points, too.
Additionally, many hotels have reward programs in place, and the more you sign up for, the more you’ll save. If there’s a particular hotel or service you use often for business travel, contact them to arrange a discount on your company’s behalf.
Choose the Right Accommodations
One of the most important decisions your travel team will make is deciding on final accommodations. Of course you want your team to be comfortable, and you also want them to be productive.
With this in mind, opt for accommodations with work spaces and close proximity to meetings. For example, some hotels are designed especially with the business traveler in mind. These best of these offer expansive business lounges, boardrooms, coffee shops, and event spaces.
Create a Business Travel Policy
No matter how well-thought-out your travel rules and guidelines are, you won’t get too far without committing it to paper. A travel policy allows everyone to follow the same guidelines when it comes to business travel. Moreover, it sets the foundation for what is and isn’t permissible.
On the other hand, without a policy, you’ll find your expenses will quickly pile up. Managing receipts and paperwork will become a big hassle. So in your policy, detail the expense categories and process, as well as any spending limits. Take a look at these sample travel policies for a concrete idea on how to spearhead your own policies.
Additionally, as you build your business travel policy, it’s important to sync your management objectives. For instance, if you plan to bring several new employees on board in the coming months, take this into consideration for your overall budget. Your final business travel policy should always reflect the goals of the company.
Communicate the Guidelines
It’s important to communicate your business travel guidelines. Although the fine print is there, having a meeting will help solidify the basics and convey the importance of your policy.
“Most employees want to do the right thing, but they need to have clear travel guidelines that are posted and communicated to them,” Jeanne Liu, Vice President of Research for the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), told Airbnb.
“Then, when you can track data that shows they are booking with preferred suppliers and so on, you are in a much stronger position to negotiate for better rates. At the same time, you may also get better value, including more perks and amenities for your travelers.”
Utilize Business Travel Planning Tools
Google calendar is great for scheduling meetings and setting reminders. However, it can’t compare with the robust features of a niche business travel planning platform. When members of your company are traveling often, it helps to take advantage of these tools. With them you can streamline travel plans and collaborate among employees.
These platforms will help you keep tabs on the who, what, and where of your staff. And they can also be a great way to organize big trips among multiple groups.
For example, with the business travel planning platform Travefy, you can quickly add confirmation and flight numbers. Plus, the system populates your itinerary with relevant gate numbers, times, directions, and other pertinent details. You can also share itineraries with other people, allowing them to view and change plans as they see fit.
When you streamline your business travel process, you save travelers time and stress, and you save the company money.