PAs are the Swiss Army knives of any organisation and the ability to book business travel for colleagues is just one of the flick-out utensils in your arsenal. Although booking travel probably constitutes a small part of your role, it can take up a surprising amount of time. So we’ve compiled a few ways you can save yourself some hassle in booking travel, and be sure you’re out the door by 5.30.
Be prepared for uncertain travel plans
If there’s one thing that you can rely on when booking other people’s travel, it’s that plans will always change and so travellers are reluctant to set timings in stone – particularly when travelling by train. To begin to get a hold on this, try booking an outbound ticket as soon as plans are put in the diary and then book the return journey when timelines are confirmed.
Streamline your itineraries
More complicated trips can drain time and leave you in a tangled-web of browser tabs, awaiting an influx of confirmation emails, so finding simpler solutions is the key to ticking travel off of your to-do list as quickly as possible. Find yourself a booking site that aggregates results from multiple brands and allows you to make rail, air and accommodation bookings all in one place. This also allows you to monitor travel spend better, as you don’t have to draw your data from lots of sites at once.
Know your travel preferences
Everyone knows that each travellers has favourites for their business travel trip, but it can be hard to remember which hotels Susan from Sales will and won’t stay in. The fix here is to create traveller profiles; either by keeping a track of preferences offline in a spreadsheet and referring to it when booking, or by using a booking site that allows you to store the information and preferences of individual travellers ready for when you need it.
Standardise your travel requests
Your travellers are busy people too, so no wonder they’re scrawling out rushed travel request for you to translate into a travel booking. Consider using a template of questions for anyone who’s asking you to make a travel booking for them, finding out about specifics, including how flexible they can be with their plans and which stations or airports they are able to travel from.
Have a documentation list to hand
The documents required for each trip vary not only on the location of the trip, but also on the traveller themselves. Start by keeping a check list of all the important paperwork that might be needed for a trip; all the way from plane tickets/reference numbers to visas, immunisation certificates and insurance details. If you’re using a booking site that allows you to store traveller profiles, you could add important notes on visa validity and passport expiration to individual profiles so that you’re able to check information before booking.
travel.cloud is a booking tool that can help take the time and hassle out of booking business travel. It’s free, so give it a try!