As a business traveler, whether you travel each month or only a few times a year, you may not be fully aware of your company’s travel policy. As policies tend to evolve and change, based on new travel technology and services, you should stay up to date on what your policy offers you from real time assistance to free breakfast. Whether you have an internal travel team managing your bookings or a travel management company (TMC), they’ll be able to provide you with as much information as you need about your policy. You may also be able to find more information on your company’s intranet. Make sure to take the time to look at your company’s resources, read your travel policy, and talk to your travel manager.
We’ve come up with some of the most common questions to ask when you do sit down with them. Take a look and send the ones you’re curious about to your travel manager.
1. How far in advance can I book?
Advanced booking allows travelers that have previously scheduled trips to book far in advance, reducing the costs of travel and securing the best rates and amenities. Travel experts expect advance booking policies to decrease in flexibility in the near future, requiring advanced vs. short notice booking. Short notice booking or about two weeks prior to the trip, tends to result in increased travel costs and limited booking options. Make sure to ask your travel manager the timeframe within which you can (or should) book your travel.
2. How can I stay connected before and after the trip?
Mobile apps are a rising trend for business travel, even though they’re already a necessary part of life outside of work. Nearly half of travel management companies have implemented apps to help both you and your travel manager stay organized and informed in real time, according to our recent study with ACTE on The Evolution of Travel Policy. Make sure to ask your travel manager which apps they prefer you to use, whether it’s a shared service like Uber, or a dedicated app just for your company. Alternatively, there may an email distribution list or alias that you can contact, as well as travel counselors from your TMC that can help with any additional questions or concerns.
3. How often will I receive updates on my itinerary and plans?
More than 50 percent of companies have implemented or plan to implement pre-trip messaging, as well as messaging during your travels. This is not only a question for your travel manager, but an opportunity to offer feedback of your preferences on communication frequency and channels.
4. Does any type of transportation sharing fall under my policy?
As the sharing economy grows, you may want to find out if your travel manager can offer you a discount through such modes of transportation, including Uber or Lyft. Many companies are considering including these sharing options to their policy, but are evaluating its safety. If the demand is high enough in your organization, you may be able to influence the decision to allow share economy options for business travel.
5. Is there an education policy in place for high-risk destinations?
If you’re traveling to a more dangerous destination, you want to make sure you and your team stays safe. Almost half of travel management companies offer a special program to educate travelers on what they should do in similar situations. Many companies offer emergency SMS plans should an emergency arise. Your company may also provide training in case of an emergency.
6. What if I need to make a last-minute addition or change?
Your business plans are always evolving — and so are your travel plans. Make sure you’re aware of any penalties for implementing last-minute changes and confirm the correct channel to request a change.
7. Do you have any tips for how to save on a trip?
Your travel manager may have tips on how to save or may offer group discounts for your company. Travel managers or your travel management company typically negotiate lower rates with suppliers, so booking on your own may actually be costing you and your company more. Plus, you may be missing out on free amenities that certain negotiated rates may include.
8. How can I offer my feedback?
Some travel managers collect feedback through email or phone surveys, but to make sure your company is constantly improving for your next trip, you’ll want to know the best way to offer constructive feedback. Find out if there are travel focus groups or surveys that your travel manager runs to gather relevant feedback and make sure to participate. It may be as simple as emailing your travel feedback directly to your travel manager, but be sure to connect with them on the best form of communication so they can address your needs and concerns.
9. Are any additional amenities included with my booking?
Simple, but important perks, including free Wi-Fi and breakfast may be at certain travel providers and you don’t even know it! These essentials for business travel are at your finger tips, just ask your travel manager the best way to sign-up and use them on your next trip.