A Beginner’s Guide to Booking Business Travel

Sam Gilbertson

Written by Sam Gilbertson

4 min read – 

31 March, 2022

A Beginner’s Guide to Booking Business Travel

So, you’ve just been asked to book a business trip and don’t know where to start…

Never fear! Our handy step-by-step guide is here to walk you through all the considerations and requirements.

Step 1: Safety first

The pandemic may be coming to an end but conflicts are ever-present. Know the exit strategy, emergency procedures and checkpoints for travellers. Employees travelling solo may need additional protections and safeguarding. Keep traveller safety at the forefront of your thoughts whenever you’re booking business travel.

Step 2: Plan where, when and why

Let’s say you need to move a three-person IT team to install a rack of specialist hardware at a new data centre location. The installation will take a day, with an additional two allocated days for testing, software installation and configuration.

The project is time-sensitive and requires sensitive technology to travel so you’ll have to factor this into your flight and ground transfer plans.

You’ll need a suitable hotel booking for multiple rooms; close to the work site and on budget, but at a hotel that will give your team the comfort and rest they need to do their best work.

Allocate time for rest and unforeseen circumstances. Although three days are prescribed for the job, travel can be exhausting – and even the most effective teams can run into snags on a project. The budget will need to allow for additional expenses too, like spare parts procured on site.

Try to plot this in detail, and consult your team on their needs. Refer to the travel policy at all times, to make sure the plan will be approved before moving on to booking.

Step 3: Transport

The cheapest airfare might not always be the best if it means sacrificing time, adding on specialist cargo or splitting up your team (though always check your travel policy to see if there is a limit to how many team members can take the same flight.). If the best price is your only goal, then your job (or your travel management company’s job) will be simpler, but that may come at a different cost to your team.

Ground transfers to and from the airport, and daily commutes to the work site must be considered. Rental cars need to be booked where appropriate. Keep records of all bookings and double-check names and numbers at every stage.

Step 4: Booking hotels and accommodation

Depending on the duration, lodging is likely to be among the biggest costs of business travel, and one of the most important as it will profoundly affect your teams’ quality of life (and work) while they’re away from home.

Hotel bookings for business travel could be the best solution, but other lodgings are available – like shared houses or apartments for teams working away for longer periods, or corporate housing. 

Step 5: Create a detailed itinerary

Once travel and lodging are agreed and booked, collate all the information about the journey: flights, ground transfers, rental cars, hotel bookings, contact information – plus all times and dates. Include maps and details of the working environment or meeting space too.

The itinerary should be very detailed but simple and clear – allowing your team to do their job while only having to refer to the itinerary for guidance.

Step 6: Tracking and paying back expenses

Make sure your travelling team knows the relevant parts of the travel policy on expenses – what’s allowed and what’s not. Decide if you’ll provide a company credit card to all parties or one team leader and give them a guideline daily budget.

Tracking and calculating taxes on expenses is easier with a company credit card – but there are risks even if you trust your team explicitly, such as loss and theft. A specialist travel payments provider (with digital apps) might be more effective for your business travel requirements.

Still need help?

Business travel can be complicated, but travel management companies (TMCs) are available to help. They use advanced tools – like HotelHub’s hotel booking software – to simplify the process and provide the best experience for travelling teams.

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