Whether you’re a business owner or just the unfortunate member of staff responsible for the booking process, you’ve found yourself needing to make the arrangements for business travel. There are numerous reasons that your company may be travelling en masse, from attending expeditions to a company-funded getaway as a “thank you” to employees after a period of hard work. Whatever the reason is, it’s fallen to you to make the idea a reality.
If you’re a seasoned traveller, you’ve likely had plenty of experience when it comes to making travel arrangements, so you won’t see too much of a problem in this. Surely the only difference will be that you’re selecting larger numbers when booking flights and hotel rooms? What could be so difficult about that?
Well… you may be in for a shock. Finding the right travel arrangements for a large group of people is always tricky, and it’s made all the more difficult when you are booking for people you may not necessarily know well, such as employees who work in a different department to you. So you may want to prepare yourself for the following thoughts and issues you may experience, such as…
DEALING WITH LARGE BOOKINGS IS A NIGHTMARE
It seems like booking a large number of seats on an airline would be as simple as booking for just a couple of passengers, but this is far from the case. You may find there are restrictions on the number of seats you can book, or you need to place time-consuming calls to the airline to confirm such a large reservation. It won’t be long until you find yourself wondering “how much does a private jet cost to rent?” and seeking out alternative options.
In reality, a private charter flight might not be such a bad idea, especially for large parties. You’ll be able to bypass security if you use a charter flight, and you can arrange the exact flights for the exact number of people you are seeking to accommodate. If the business is paying, then it’s well worth having a chat with your boss — or your accountant, if you’re the business owner — and seeing if the option might make sense, both financially and in terms of convenience.
EVERYONE WILL HAVE DIFFERENT REQUIREMENTS
This issue is predominantly found when booking the hotel, but it can rear its head when browsing for flights also. While there may be some people in your organisation who genuinely don’t mind how they fly and where they stay, there are others who will be very choosy indeed– and they won’t be afraid to instruct you to find options to meet their exacting standards.
This is exhausting. If the problem makes it difficult for you to confirm any booking, then it’s often worth laying down a rule: only essential requirements will be considered. What’s the difference between essential requirements and standard requirements? Here’s a few examples:
- The hotel needs to have access to gluten-free menu options for sufferers of Celiac Disease.
- The hotel needs to be disability-accessible.
- The flight cannot leave before 8am as an employee has to take their children to school on the day of departure.
- The hotel needs to have a swim-up bar.
- The hotel needs to be located in a very specific part of the destination.
- The flight needs to leave within a specific two-hour window.
You can do your best to meet the non-essential requirements, but ultimately, only the essentials are the ones you have to prioritise. When planning a large business trip, you will quickly learn that you can’t please everyone with your choices, but if you focus on meeting the necessary requirements, then you’ll have done a good job.
YOUR PRIORITIES WILL SLIP DOWN THE LIST
As a result of the above issues you may experience, you will find that your specific priorities and ideals soon begin to slip. While it may seem like being the one in charge of the booking is an opportunity to have an influence on the choices being made, you will likely sacrifice this influence — at least in part — so you can have an easier life.
If you find this is happening, and the ideas you’d planned are beginning to slip away, then it’s worth remembering why you have been chosen for this task. This is something you can do, that your travel experience gives you a unique insight into doing, and your opinion is just as — if not more — valid than those of other employees.
If you’re the business owner and are making the booking out of necessity, then it makes sense to be fluid on your decisions, but don’t be afraid to rely on your own expertise too. You’ve travelled, so you have a genuine insight into tips, tricks, and ideas that will make the trip as good as it can possibly be.
IT WILL TAKE FAR LONGER THAN YOU EXPECT
Due in no small part to the issues above, and also to the basic logistics of organising a large group of people, the booking and confirmation process is likely to take far longer than you might expect. You may find yourself having to wait days for people to pass essential information to you, and having to amend your plans constantly to adjust for changes in circumstance.
As a result, it’s best to begin planning the trip as far ahead of time as possible. The more time you have to resolve the various issues, the better.
While booking a travel experience for business purposes, there’s no doubt you will go through a few periods of strife, indecision, and concern. However, it’s helpful to try and see your responsibility as inherently beneficial too. After all, you’re not going to be stuck with a terrible hotel, or a flight schedule that someone with no experience of making travel plans threw together at the last minute. You have control, so you can use your years of travelling to ensure the best possible trip is enjoyed by all.