When making business travel arrangements for Executives, Travel Managers will want to go above and beyond to deliver a great experience. Here’s how.
Imagine for a moment that your CEO or another important Executive has an essential meeting with an existing client or to pitch a prospective client. And you’ve been asked to make the business travel arrangements.
The pressure is on.
You will want to create an itinerary that supports the objectives of the trip, while also ensuring that the Executive is comfortable throughout the journey.
Here’s a look at 5 strategies that today’s Travel Managers are using to support Executives by making business travel arrangements in a thorough and effective way.
1. Frontload the Heavy Lifting
As a Travel Manager, you always want to do a great job arranging travel for any team member. But, when arranging travel for an Executive, there’s a heightened level of awareness and attention.
That’s why you’ll want to do as much research as possible on the front end, before you start making the actual arrangements. This is especially true in the age of COVID-19 when moving about the country (and especially the world) is a little more difficult than it is during normal times.
Start by researching all of the regulations and guidelines related to traveling to a given destination. You’ll also want to take into account any geopolitical concerns related to traveling internationally. For example, you’ll want to be aware of Brexit-related constraints before sending an Executive to the United Kingdom and other destinations in Europe. You will also want to investigate passport requirements and any visas needed to travel to specific countries.
In short, research to such a degree that you have ready-made answers to any questions that come up before, during or after the Executive’s trip.
2. Prep Contacts for Your Executive
Things can go haywire during any business trip. As any business Traveler knows, itineraries can get disrupted by weather and other unforeseen circumstances. Make sure your Executive is prepped with accessible contacts before he or she leaves the office for work.
In many cases, that means connecting your Executive with your travel management company (TMC) and agents who are available around the clock to support your Executive if something goes wrong during travel.
Also, make sure that your Executive knows how to get in touch with any relevant parties in the destination city, as well as how to get in touch with you at the office or your colleagues as needed during the trip. If your Executive is traveling internationally, will he or she need an international cell phone plan? Make this part of your preparations as you make business travel arrangements for leaders at your company.
3. Consider Every Detail
Almost every disruption or delay in a business trip can be anticipated. As a Travel Manager, try to anticipate as many challenges as possible — and build into the itinerary potential solutions.
For example, encourage Executives to get to airports a little bit earlier than usual. The TSA is reporting longer wait times than usual at some airports due to inconsistent processes at different Traveler checkpoints. Electronic documentation (rather than paper) can help streamline processes.
You can also build in a little bit of extra time during layovers to mitigate the impact of delayed flights. Also, use airports that have multiple flights daily and multiple airline options so that your Executive can easily make a change if needed.
When you start mapping out an itinerary, go step-by-step and try to think through anything that could go wrong during that portion of the trip. Consider questions like:
- Does your Executive have enough time to make his or her connection?
- Does your Executive have enough time between his or her final flight and the first meeting of the day?
- Does your Executive have enough time to freshen up each day before moving from one meeting to another?
Answering questions like these can help you carefully consider each detail before you finalize any travel arrangements for your Executive.
4. Add Some Final Flourishes
Arranging business travel for an Executive is an opportunity for a Travel Manager to demonstrate his or her capabilities. It’s also an opportunity to demonstrate the level of care that’s given to any team member when they are traveling away from the office.
So, add some final flourishes to the itinerary that demonstrate that you’ve gone above and beyond in creating the Executive’s travel itinerary. You can reach out to the company your Executive is visiting to get restaurant recommendations. If your Executive likes artwork, consider choosing a hotel located near a museum — just in case your Executive has some down time. If your Executive enjoys baseball, check to see if the Major League team is in town during his or her stay. If your Executive places an emphasis on physical fitness, ensure that the hotel has a quality fitness center, or that there is a gym located nearby that she or he can use.
These are small things that any Travel Manager can do to create an outstanding experience for an Executive — and to empower her or him to maximize the potential of the trip.
5. Prime the Executive for Success
The final thing you can do as a Travel Manager is create a comprehensive travel brief for your Executive. This brief should include a full rundown of where the Executive needs to be and at what time. It should also include any key considerations and options available to the Executive at different points in the itinerary.
Make this brief available via laptop, tablet or mobile device — or print off this brief for any Executive who prefers a hard copy. (You can also combine both approaches, just to be safe.)
An Executive’s time is valuable to the company. By creating a comprehensive travel brief, you’re able to save the Executive time, as well as assist him or her with focusing fully on the business objectives of the trip.
World-Class Travel Support for Today’s Executives
No Travel Manager can facilitate great trips for Executives alone. Companies with robust travel programs rely on TMCs to help them create the best experiences for Travelers, no matter the title or role.
At JTB Business Travel, we serve as a comprehensive corporate travel agency that delivers outstanding service to all Travelers — Executives and anyone else working away from the office. Behind everything we do is a common-sense approach to business travel.
Are you looking to maximize your company’s travel program? Contact us today to learn more about our services.