In the United States alone, more than 1 million people travel for business-related purposes every day.
Trillions of dollars are spent in this sector to ensure fast and smooth travel amenities for corporate travelers.
The corporate travel industry took a hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, much like any other industry. However, travel figures have shot up following the pandemic.
In this article, we have compiled 10 important tips to ensure streamlined business trips. Some of these tips apply to businesses, while others apply to individual travelers. The remaining apply to both.
10 Tips to Ensure Streamlined Business Trips
3.4 billion people would fly in 2022, which is significantly more than 2.3 billion in 2021. While the numbers haven’t reached pre-pandemic levels, they’ll be there sooner than we expect.
Now is the time for many businesses to plan their next wave of business trips. While video conferencing has made it possible to conduct important meetings remotely, you still need to be physically present in at least some situations. Corporate travel might change its garb, but it’d never be obsolete.
Here are 10 tips to ensure streamlined business trips:
1. Prepare all documents well in advance
The most critical part of traveling is to have all your papers together. In the post-Covid world, having the right documents is more important than ever. Many places require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test report. It’s easy to forget about these things since we are not used to carrying them.
When it comes to regular things – visa, passport, identity cards, business cards – you must already have them together in one place. It’s always a good idea to have a copy of all documents stored digitally on your phone. That way you do not have to panic even if you forget something important.
Keeping all documents in the same place and keeping them organized is not very difficult. All it takes is a little foresight and organizational skills.
2. Use business travel booking software
Over the past decade, business travel booking software and tools have improved significantly. Travel management software is now extensively used by both commercial tour operators and corporate travelers.
It’s a great way to maximize available resources and make smart decisions regarding when to book and how to book. Using these tools can help you save a lot of money.
There are many travel booking platforms available, and some of them are geared toward corporate travel. With so many tools at your disposal, it is easy to get confused. Always go with a platform that suits your needs.
If you do not have to book tickets for dozens of people, you would not benefit from bulk booking features, for example.
The right business travel software will make every aspect of your corporate travel smoother.
3. Always plan well in advance (wherever possible)
Corporate travel is generally not spontaneous. You would know weeks in advance, if not months. The earlier you start working on your bookings and reservations, the better your deals would be. It’s especially critical if you are traveling during the vacation season.
Flight tickets are always more expensive when booked on short notice. Even if it’s not possible to book everything in advance, some things like hotel reservations (if it’s flexible) can be done ahead of time.
When you plan early, you have the time to compare different quotes and make the best decisions. You also get the time to recoup in case something goes wrong. There are plenty of arguments in favor of booking in advance, and very few against it.
4. Keep space for unexpected delays
Unexpected and unforeseen delays can happen at any time. Sometimes it can be due to bad weather, and sometimes due to personal reasons. There’s no limit to the factors that can cause unexpected delays in business travel.
One of the biggest challenges that business travelers face involves managing advance booking while keeping space for delays. That’s where a travel management platform comes in handy. These platforms often allow flexible booking, which is a great feature for all travelers.
If you fail to make space for unexpected delays, you would be in deep trouble when something unforeseen happens. There would be a significant loss of time and money whenever something unexpected happens, and no one wants to lose money over a trip you never take.
5. Sign up for loyalty partnerships
Loyalty partnerships are a great way to save money. To put it simply, loyalty partnerships are ways for hotel/flight/transport companies to reward their loyal customers. It’s a win-win arrangement for both the service provider and the buyer.
Many hotels offer loyalty programs, especially to corporate travelers. These programs demand only one thing, and that’s consistent bookings. While there are several advantages to loyalty programs, make sure that the hotels you partner with are available in multiple locations.
While hotels commonly offer loyalty programs, so do airlines and transport companies. Research the programs and their terms and conditions before deciding on one. When used correctly, loyalty partnerships can save companies a lot of money.
6. Know the geography of the place you are visiting
Thanks to GPS and Google Maps, you would not be lost in any city in the world. However, that does not mean you go to a new place without knowing anything about its geography.
You need to know about the busy hours, the most efficient modes of transportation, and local travel rates. If you rely 100% on Maps, you will have a hard time getting around.
Knowing about a new place is easier than ever. All you have to do is go to the internet and read up about the place. Read from multiple sources to not be misguided. These are simple things that every traveler must do, whether they are traveling for business or otherwise.
7. Pick up important terms in the local language
Here again, Google Translate would come to your aid. But it’s not always feasible to translate a word in real-time when you are talking to other people. That’s why it is important to know at least a few terms in the local language.
When we say you should know some terms in the local language, we do not mean you have to learn the language itself. All you need to know are a few words for the most common things. For example, you should know the local words for cab, hotel, police station, hospital, etc. when visiting a new place.
Knowing these words is as simple as a google search. There’s no reason to not do it when visiting a new place.
8. Research the clients/business partners you are meeting
In the humdrum of business travel, we often forget the most important aspect of it: the clients. Every business trip has a specific agenda of achieving certain things.
To achieve that target, you need to study the clients or business partners you are going to meet. It’s the most important factor in a business trip, and should always be the top priority.
Researching clients and businesses may be difficult if you do not know much about them. Social media is a great place to learn about others, especially on professional platforms like Linkedin. Look at their achievements and interests and come up with conversation points. That will help you guide the meeting in a positive direction.
When planning for a business trip, make sure you spend a significant amount of time studying your clients/business partners.
9. Keep track of spending
Since you are technically spending the company’s money while on a business trip, it’s important to take note of any amount you spend. Tracking expenses can be very difficult when you are trying to do it manually. Instead, use an expense tracking app to automatically track all spending.
Keeping a track of spending also makes it easier for you to differentiate between needs and wants, and the things you buy for personal reasons.
If you want to take a souvenir home, it would not fall under the company’s expense. These expenses can easily mix up if you do not track spending.
10. Pack light
The last tip is also the simplest and something that experienced travelers already know. Pack light and keep your outfits simple. While it definitely depends on the duration of the trip, try to minimize weight and the number of bags to the minimum.
The packing light looks different for different people. Some can pack a single suitcase for a month, while others can do the same for a week at most. Use innovative packing techniques, buy multi-utility clothes and choose the best packing options to travel as lightly as possible.
We hope these tips and ideas will help you streamline business trips, no matter how long or short the trips are. There are several ways to make business trips more streamlined, some of which may not have made it to this list.
The idea is to discard all unnecessary elements and use technology or competent professionals wherever possible to make traveling more efficient.
Atreyee Chowdhury works full-time as a Content Manager with a Fortune 1 retail giant. She is passionate about writing and helped many small and medium-scale businesses achieve their content marketing goals with her carefully crafted and compelling content. She loves to read, travel, and experiment with different cuisines in her free time. You can follow her on LinkedIn.