What do you need to know about planning a business trip?by Cristóbal Manjón | June 17, 2020
Planning a leisure trip with friends can be a fun experience, sometimes it can even be one of the most exciting parts of a trip. Planning a business trip is something completely different and it can be very problematic if your company doesn't have a clear and structured procedure for corporate business travel.
Whether you're planning your own business trip or you're planning someone else’s, there can be many things to consider. Luckily, business travel has become a common practice worldwide and the resources to help companies get better every year. In this article, we'll guide you through some of the basic questions on business travel.
How do I get corporate bookings?
Finding the best deals in transportation and accommodation is one of the most important things. This can be done by registering in customer programs with airlines and hotel chains, using the available online platforms for corporate travel, or by finding flights and hotels that adapt to your corporate needs.
Location, price, amenities, and availability will be decisive factors when booking accommodation for a business trip. Eventually, you want to establish a quick booking method with hotels you know will not disappoint. To do so, you can establish partnerships with hotels or hotel chains that you know for sure to comply with your company standards and align with the company’s budget and needs.
Some major hotel chains already have well-established corporate travel plans. If those fit your needs, it might be the easiest option since they offer expertise and they will have everything business travellers could need.
If you work for a smaller company that might not have the resources or the budget to participate in these kind of business chains, you may want to try to set up a partnership with hotels that employees have previously stayed in, especially if you know that more travelling will be required in that specific location.
Most airlines have some sort of business travel program. That does not mean that you need to pay for an executive or business class ticket every time an employee flies, but it may offer interesting benefits if your company will regularly fly out employees.
Finally, there are companies that offer business travel management specifically targeted at companies with business travel needs. Depending on your needs and your budget, this might be the best solution so that you can focus on other things instead of booking hotels for employees. Travellers, Airbnb for Work, or TravelBank are only a few of the many options out there.
Can you book for a hotel room without paying for it upfront?
One of the most common questions when establishing business travel policies in a company is who pays for travel expenses and when. Some companies have their employees pay for daily expenses such as food and transportation and reimburse them at the end of the trip. Other companies provide their employees with a credit card or a sum of money to be spent during the trip. In any case, a company should always pay for accommodation.
Nowadays, most hotels offer flexibility in their reservation policies. Cancellations and changes happen very often in business trips, so making sure that your business accommodation has a fair cancellation policy will be crucial.
It’s always advisable to take as much responsibility as possible off the employee’s shoulders when they are on a business trip. Travelling for work can be stressful, and having to worry about how to pay for accommodation and other expenses while keeping track of all receipts can distract employees.
In order to help your employees to stay focused and do a great job during a business trip, it’s a good idea to have things like accommodation paid upfront.
How far in advance should you book your accommodation?
The destination, the dates, and the importance of the business trip will play an important role in how far in advance you should book your business travel accommodation. Some destinations are in higher demand than others and it is very important to check what is going on during the dates of a business trip. It’s not the same travelling to Barcelona for a business trip involving the World Mobile Congress than travelling to Paris during Fashion week.
If you’re travelling to a European city in peak season, it is extremely recommended to book at least a few weeks in advance. Chances are that the best deals and most conveniently located hotels are the first ones to be booked out. European cities tend to be packed with tourists all year long, and it can be hard to find accommodation when looking for a specific location or price range, especially in summer and special events.
In other parts of the world, such as North or South America, where cities are larger and there is more space, finding accommodation is usually not an issue even if you book it only a few days in advance.
If you travel to Asia, there shouldn't be any issues to get your accommodation. The Asian continent is home to many international business hubs such as Hong Kong, Singapore, or Tokyo, and there is a high demand and a great offer of business accommodation all year long.
Is it cheaper to book online or the same day at the hotel?
Booking accommodation in advance can help you find the best deals and save money. Regardless of where an employee is travelling, booking at least one week in advance is recommended in order to secure the booking and the rate.
Walking into a hotel without a reservation can result in a higher rate or no availability, which could eventually put the whole business trip at risk.
Checking major yearly celebrations as well as cultural and religious calendars will help you avoid last-minute surprises. Events like the Chinese New Year, Ramadan, Easter, Christmas, National holidays, and international fairs could get in the way of your business trip as booking prices are higher and availability is lower during those times.