How To Arrange Travel For Your Boss
Travelling for work isn’t like travelling for a holiday. Well, even sorting out personal travel can be pretty stressful sometimes.
Business travel adds a new level, though, and even more to think about. And just because your boss seems to be living the high life, all that travelling for business is exhausting. With a tight schedule to stick to, there’s no time left over for sightseeing or soaking up the local life.
Making sure you’re on time for meetings, getting prepared to make a presentation, packing everything you need to work away – all while juggling your job and family life? That’s a big mental load. Leaders and executives barely have time to fit all that in – let alone arrange their business travel.
Executive Assistants and PAs don’t have it much easier.
Making the right decisions for your boss and your company is tricky, and stressful in its own way – which is why travel management companies (TMCs) are usually the go-to for businesses where travel at scale is the norm.
But here’s the good news for internal Travel Managers and Executive Assistants; there are lots of best-practices that you can use to arrange travel for your boss, without getting overwhelmed.
So – let’s get into it: here’s how to arrange travel for your boss.
First, get all the details
Even if you only get five minutes to talk to your boss about the trip, make every minute count.
Get as much detail as you can about the trip directly from them – most importantly, their personal travel preferences. Get this early on, as the rest can be researched without much more input from them. You don’t want to be asking them whether they prefer an aisle or window seat at the eleventh hour!
Of course, find out the purpose of the trip, the destination (or destinations), along with key dates and times of events – this is usually the stuff they’ll give you in advance anyway. Think ahead about who they’ll be meeting with, and whether they will need any special equipment for the job at hand.
Get as much information about the trip as you can, and about who’s going, before conducting your own research. Look into the event, destination, routes and accommodation requirements in detail.
Ideally, after talking to your boss and doing some preliminary research, you’ll have:
- A clear list of objectives for the trip; why, when, where, what and who
- Clear budgets
- Past trips to work from as a base
- A list of who’s going
- All the travellers’ details for bookings (including contact info)
- Passports, visas and vaccination statuses
- Flight, transfer and hotel preferences
- Access to a travel policy or company guidelines on travel
Once you have this (or as much of it as possible), you’re ready to plan.
Planning the itinerary
Sometimes, you’ll need to work to a budget and get the most cost-effective route. But always keep the objectives in mind; is a day of back-to-back meetings really going to work out after two connecting flights, a two hour transfer and no chance to adjust to a new time zone?
Cost-cutting shouldn’t be prioritised at the expense of the objective – always refer back to the point of the trip when in doubt, and leave plenty of time for rest at every opportunity. Book flights and transfers that work around this, because it’s better to have a rested boss that can deliver a great keynote over an exhausted person struggling to hold their notes up. Try to bookend each key event with a period of rest, including before the return leg of the trip.
Now, it’s time to delve into corporate hotel bookings. Researching hotel availability and suitability can be difficult, and there are literally hundreds of tools that you could use. There may be multiple hotels that need to be booked in a single trip, or large group hotel bookings, which generally aren’t possible when booking online.
HotelHub is a tool dedicated to corporate hotel bookings – with integrated maps, and filters that only list suitable hotels, based on preferences. It also allows group bookings to be made, and will only show hotels within a corporate client’s travel policy. On top of that, it makes managing expenses on business trips super efficient (more on that later).
No matter which tools you use, plan smart.
- Make sure you know exact times and dates of key events
- Plan flights accordingly, with plenty of buffer time for delays
- Make sure ground transfers are arranged, and don’t leave any timings too tight
- Find hotels that match with the traveller’s preferences, within company travel policy
- If the most suitable hotel is out-of-policy, log the reasons for this
- Collect exact addresses and contact details for every venue and service
- Create a detailed itinerary with all of this information in one easy to access place
Creating an itinerary doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking – but it does need to have all the vital information your boss needs before travelling. And you can add little touches to boost confidence – like hotel ratings and reviews, local restaurants you think they’d like to try, or opportunities to relax between work events. That’s all welcome, as long as you have the core details covered:
- Which airport they’ll fly from
- How they’ll get to the airport
- Flight times, flight numbers, and check-in times
- Baggage policies
- Ground transfer details
- Full hotel details
- Transfers to meetings or events – with locations, times, and names
And reverse the process for the return leg of the trip. Of course, this example is oversimplified, but it shouldn;t be too far off the core of what your boss will need to know about the trip.
Access for the traveller
Your boss will need some sort of self-service tool, or a way to control the trip on their end. They’ll need a way to manage and track expenses, access their digital documentation (like tickets and booking reference numbers).
If you don’t have a centralised travel management tool like HotelHub (which can track and manage all aspects of corporate hotel bookings and expenses through a self-service app) consider creating a Dropbox or a Google Drive file for the trip. Your boss can upload receipts straight to the cloud, from their mobile phone.
Likewise, you can safely store e-tickets, booking references and itineraries directly into the same folder, giving visibility on any device – and provide a space for all the trip information.
To make expenses easier, HotelHub can be integrated with virtual payment methods, or Vcards, making the tracking and management of business trip expenses completely seamless.
Top travel apps for Executives
As mentioned, cloud storage subscriptions, and apps like Dropbox and Google Drive are all but essential. There are some other apps to consider forwarding to your boss before they travel, too:
- A currency converter app
Apps like XE currency converter are generally better suited to the task, and more accurate than Google’s currency conversions. This is helpful for keeping trips on budget and in-policy.
- Google Translate
Most people know about Google Translate, but not that it can translate whole documents, websites, and even speech.
- Hotel apps for booked accommodation
If the hotel has its own app for services, wifi, or check-in and check-out, make sure your boss has it installed on arrival.
If corporate travel is set to become more regular, growing with your company – then it’s time to consider working with a TMC, or investing in business travel booking software to manage future travel.
The benefits? Better travel experiences, lower costs – and better business outcomes, with access to tools like HotelHub.
Read more – How Does HotelHub work?