Business travel is a critical element for corporate growth. Employees travel for different purposes such as sales, marketing, training, trade shows, and business meetings. Managing business travel bookings is tricky because of several out-of-control factors, including flight delays and cancelations. Corporate travel managers must have proper training on how to manage corporate travel to offer a safe and satisfying travel experience.In fact, they need many other skills to effectively manage their everyday functions. Continue reading to discover effective tips for managing corporate travel bookings like a professional.

5 corporate travel management tips

1. Book flights in advance

Airlines dropping airfares to fill up empty seats just before the flight’s take-off is a misconception as most airfares are costlier in the last hours. Ideally, booking a flight ticket over 60 days in advance helps get the cheapest deal. Travel managers should set policies to make employees raise booking requests well in advance.

The employees should also mention a range of traveling dates to help travel managers choose the best deal. Flights on weekdays are mostly cheaper as compared to weekend fares. Choosing them also helps employees to avoid the weekend rush and travel peacefully.

2. Manage flight cancelations

Flight cancellation is a terrible situation unless the employee or the travel manager has access to notifications for timely action. Reputed online platforms and some airlines allow the facility of updates regarding rescheduling or cancellation of the flight in time. Timely information about flight cancellation helps make alternate arrangements.

Knowing the cancellation policy of an airline is imperative. Avoid choosing an airline having rigorous policies. Look for air carriers offering flexible refund policies or the facility of booking other flights in the event of flight cancellation.

Corporate travel managers should proactively book flights that have some gap between the second flight to the same destination. It helps in keeping a margin for arranging the next flight following the cancellation of an earlier time with minimum delay.

3. Set up SOPs (Standard Operating Protocol)

A comprehensive corporate travel policy having a standard procedure for employees to submit booking requests helps travel managers work more efficiently. Sending requests through diverse modes of communication can add up to the difficulty of a travel manager. An SOP will help employees provide the precise information that a travel manager needs for booking flights or accommodation.

Creating a standard booking request format will reduce unnecessary errors and last-minute rush. Many progressive companies leverage advanced platforms like Paxes for automating multiple travel management activities, including raising booking requests. Employees can submit requests using an app from their smartphone. The mobile application or online platform provides details of past business trips by the employee to help travel managers proceed with booking using the employee’s travel data.

4. Build an extensive inventory

Developing connections with regional LCCs and building an inventory of accommodations is always helpful in reducing costs and providing employee satisfaction. Travel managers can also ask employees about their choice of hotels.

You can also dig out information from the documents on employee travel. Try including all relevant information to save time lost in searching for email addresses and other details at the last moment. The inventory building should be an ongoing process.

Adding contact details of local healthcare services is helpful during a health emergency. It will also help comply with the duty of care requirements. One may keep adding new resources to get the latest information about flights, local transport services, and hotels.

5. Embrace Automation

Travel managers can streamline corporate business trips of employees by creating individual formats for different activities. Managing business travel is an intricate job, as the travel manager must look after employee safety, besides making travel and accommodation arrangements in diverse locations.

These forms will provide details of the employee undertaking particular travel like name, designation, the purpose of business travel, duration of travel, and destination. They can get approvals from line managers before submitting travel requests to the travel manager.

A separate form for preparing a month’s tour program is also necessary for sales staff because they are touring more often. A travel manager should provide a list of personal safety precautions while handing over the approval for the upcoming tour.

How to manage corporate travel by inculcating automation

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Travel managers can find myriad tips to make their job easy, but most tips cannot mitigate the complexity of the time-consuming manual work. Embracing an automated travel management platform can significantly simplify and improve corporate travel management. It helps travel managers and employees reduce manual work.

Paxes is a helpful travel management platform for streamlining corporate travel for organizations. It is a SaaS-based platform that allows travel managers to enforce their travel policies and automate the approval flow. These policies can be customized for various employee levels, easing the burden on the management. Additionally, corporates get instant access to thousands of accommodations across the globe. Besides regional LCCs, they get access SOTO fares with options of special fares, SME, coupon, and Flexi fares.

A travel managers’ role has become all the more crucial after the pandemic due to multiple reasons. They must look after the security of the employees during business trips and ensure strict compliance with the duty of care. The travel managers should understand how to manage corporate travel for cutting traveling costs. Finally, to ensure smooth travel, organizations should maintain seamless communication with TMCs, employees and several other stake holders.