Let’s face it: booking corporate travel isn’t always easy. Sometimes travel companies will make you jump through hoops before completing the booking process. For travel managers and business travellers alike, this creates a bad user experience that few people have the patience to endure. Situations such as not being able to use all of those airline miles that you’ve racked up the way you want to, or filling out dozens of manual paper forms are things that get in the way of a good corporate travel experience. Therefore, here are six challenges in the form of memes that you should look out for when booking corporate travel.
1. Rising hotel costs
Not all travel and booking management companies offer a broad range of hotel options that give you the most competitive hotel rates. As a result, spending limits are often exceeded, or employees book outside of mandated corporate travel platforms to find most affordable options available. This external booking causes corporate policy compliance issues for the organisation as it makes it difficult to track hotel reservations which the employee must then submit through [manual] expense reports, leaving room open for human error.
2. Freeze on travel requests
Have you ever started a new job that required a lot of corporate travel, only to learn that there’s a freeze on all corporate travel requests? If you have, you know all too well what an unpleasant experience this can be. How are you to conduct business if you can’t get to your destination? Unfortunately, there’s not much that you can do about this, except perhaps to persuade executives of the pros and cons of not letting you travel for business. The alternative is conducting your meeting virtually, but that can have its drawbacks as it’s not as personal as a face-to-face meeting.
3. Corporate policy barriers
So you’ve found the best hotel option available, only to find that the price exceeds your spending limit within the company policy. What are you to do? Well, if it’s spelled out in company policy what you can and can’t spend, there’s not much that you can do to get around that. Therefore, your best bet is to look for other hotels that include the amenities that you need, such as meeting rooms or conference space, and sacrifice those that you do, such as a pool or spa services. Remember, you’re there for business, so stick to booking hotels that feature the amenities that you need out of your trip, rather than what you want.
4. Booking difficulties
Booking corporate travel can be a headache especially if you don’t have the right tools and systems in place. If the technology that your company uses for booking travel is outdated, then it’s time to have a chat with your procurement manager or key decision maker. Talk to them about the features that you need out of a travel platform and offer up solutions that fit your corporate policy requirements. Then discuss the impact to the business of not having that solution, like more time and money spent booking travel. That should [hopefully] help to sway their decision in your favor.
5. Airline miles restrictions
Congratulations! You’ve reached the 100K airline miles limit, which entitles you to all kinds of perks and rewards. But wait...those miles are spread across four carriers. What are you to do? Depending on the airline, you might be able to transfer them if they have a partnership with an airline where you have miles racked up. The other alternative is to look for promotions where you can use a portion of the miles to book separate round-trip flights to exhaust some of those miles to consolidate the number of airlines in which your miles are spread out.
6. Absurd upgrade policies
Taking a domestic or international flight that takes more than six hours isn’t enjoyable when you’re cramped in economy class. So sometimes, you want to upgrade your flight to business or first class. However, when you go to upgrade, they tell that you that costs an extra $500 and 40,000 miles to upgrade your flight. Seriously? Who makes up those rates? To get around that, book travel at quieter times when demand is less, be more loyal to your preferred airlines when booking, or show up early to your flight to have a greater chance of booking a better seat at a lower cost.
While booking corporate travel isn’t always easy, there’s likely always an alternative solution if you dig a little deeper. Talk to your travel manager or airline to find the best rates, or negotiate your way into a better seat. Whatever you do, make sure that it enables you to have the most enjoyable travel experience possible - especially if it’s going to be a long flight.
Written by David Fastuca @Locomote