The complete corporate travel planner guide

By: Jessica Freedman

As a decision maker in your company, there’s a lot to think about. That’s why we’re laying out everything you need to know about corporate travel planning in this guide.

When you think about effective corporate travel planning, it’s more than just crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s. It’s about saving money, making sure your employees are happy and safe when traveling for business and about making the most out of business trips. You might wonder how to make this possible. With our corporate travel planning guide you will find out: how to save on corporate travel, how to manage travel effectively and what you need to know to plan a trip. Ready? Let’s dive in!

What you need to plan a business trip

Planning a business trip starts with making sure your employees know what to bring. Consult our ultimate packing list for starters and then start your corporate travel planning process:

  1. Sign up for a travel management platform that is easy to use so all your staff can take care of arranging their travel plans
  2. Have either your corporate travel planner or your office manager set up your employees’ profiles and preferences in the travel management platform
  3. Encourage staff to plan trips with sufficient time beforehand (ideally 4-6 weeks before)
  4. Have your office manager create a template for scheduling meetings and be sure to squeeze in as many meetings as possible in the general area to maximize trips
  5. Once dates and times for meetings are established, have employees book and manage their trips directly from the platform
  6. Set up your approvers and approval flows to streamline the approval process
  7. Get down to business

5 Ways to save on corporate travel planning

When you are a small business or a start-up you may find yourself wasting time or effort on tasks that shouldn’t be so hard. It’s important to find a balance between obsessive control and disorganization. We’re here to remind you how to save and be on the top of your game.

Plan in advance with a corporate travel planner

One of the top ways to save money on corporate travel is by planning ahead of time. It may seem obvious but if you plan a business trip a week before, you will pay a lot more in airfare and sometimes hotel rates and car rentals go up as it gets closer to the date. By planning ahead you can make better choices about your business calendar because people’s schedules won’t have booked up yet. 

Once your employees have evaluated future business partners’ or your colleagues’ availability they can make informed decisions about the best time to travel. This way you are sure to encourage your employees to make the most out of their business trips by being sure everyone is available in the time frame that was decided, as well as being able to evaluate if a trip is really necessary or if it’s possible to just meet virtually. 

Generally speaking, it makes sense to plan a trip if a lot of potential clients are located in the same area, that way your employees can maximize their meetings on one trip. If you need help evaluating whether a business trip is necessary, check out our blog To Travel or not to Travel, which will help you make more sustainable decisions.

Define your goals

A successful business starts with having goals and objectives. While business travel is just a small part of your core business, it’s also important to have it under control, with clear goals lined out. Defining clear objectives for business trips will help you make better decisions about who to send on a trip and if it’s really necessary to travel. Whether you have a corporate travel planner or not within your company, planning is everything.

Have a clear and detailed travel policy

A travel policy is like a north star for corporate travel programs allowing you to save money and streamline the whole process so that even if you don’t have a corporate travel planner on staff, you are prepared to handle business travel in the best way possible. It should include a clear approval process, everything necessary to manage corporate meetings, such as corporate hotel booking, corporate flights, corporate car rental and per diem allowances and a reimbursement policy. 

Be sure to be clear about who is allowed to travel business class versus economy, what hotels are allowed and who is in charge of approving travel. The stricter you are, the more you will make a difference in your company’s bottom line. Travel savings come by being vigilant with your travel policy.

travel policy template

Don’t have a travel policy yet?

Save on hotel and airfare

Saving money on business trips starts with one of the most important things of all: hotels and airfare. By working with a travel management platform like GetGoing you can get access to the best travel deals on flights and hotels. Instead of scouring the internet for the best prices you can be confident that your employees have access to all the best fares. This way you know whether a flight or a hotel is within your travel budget so you can easily approve a trip or let one of your managers do so. 

Optimize business trips 

The only way to fully reduce your travel spend and optimize business trips is to get everyone involved. Get together with your whole team to give them ideas about what makes a good corporate travel planner and how to be more efficient and organized on their business trips. For example, encourage employees to share transportation to and from the airport. Sometimes it can be cheaper to leave a car at the airport than pay a taxi round trip. 

Work with your office managers and HR representatives to develop a training program around corporate travel planning so that everyone is on the same page. Only once you have educated employees about how to optimize business travel can you be sure that everyone is working together towards a common goal.

Reduce effort

Reducing the effort of travel planning starts with encouraging traveling smarter. If your employees have to make a trip, make sure they consolidate their visits and meetings to make it worthwhile and cost effective. Corporate travel planners and individuals must be organized to make this happen, planning in advance and planning ahead both in the short-term and long-term. 

Foresee the meetings and conferences that happen yearly, and the clients that should be visited regularly. Once you have the year mapped out, it will be easier to create a budget and forecast your travel spend. You will also be able to better evaluate if your employees (and your budget) have left room for more travel. Of course, be sure to set aside some budget for last minute trips.

How to manage corporate travel planning effectively

Once you’ve planned ahead of time, defined your goals, have had a clear and detailed travel policy, found a way to save on airfare and hotels, optimized your business trips by reducing effort, you’re on your way to effectively managing corporate travel planning effectively and cost efficiently. 

Another important part of effective travel planning is being resilient. Things won’t always go as you planned or budgeted for so be sure to have a flexible travel policy. Check in frequently with your road warriors to see when changes are needed, and keep communication open and honest. The more employees feel their opinion is valued, the more the process of planning business travel will become a symbiotic effort. Their input is crucial to continue to innovate and be productive on the road. 

Cede some control

As the head of a small company you are probably used to wearing a lot of different hats, but that doesn’t mean you should be in control of everything that happens in the company. While control can be good in some ways when it comes to things like having control over your budget, but when it comes to corporate travel planning, it’s ok to surrender some control. Delegating is one of the easiest ways to do this. 

Once you know who to delegate to, let your organizational structure do the work for you. Have your travel policy be created and then look over it. Make sure to set up your approvers in your travel management platform so each staff member knows what they’re in charge of. Once you automate your travel policy, it works in the background so you don’t have to worry about a thing. 

Have a good travel management platform working for you

A travel management platform is your key to optimize corporate travel planning. You can set up and automate your travel policy, delegate your approvers, and cede control, knowing that your platform is working for you around the clock to make sure you make the most of your business travel program. 

This corporate travel guide is designed to give you the tips to optimize and save on business travel. Want to hear more? Schedule a meeting now to find out what GetGoing can do for you.

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