Have you ever wondered how successful businesses maximise the value of their business travel? A well-thought-out strategy is the driving force behind any successful journey. Want to know their secret? The six phases or stages of business travel deserve your attention.
Do you know these stages that ensure efficient and productive travel? Who are the stakeholders associated with each stage? What are the important aspects on which you need to focus at each stage of business travel?
This guide helps you to unravel the six pivotal stages of business travel, and you can think of this guide as a blueprint for business travel mastery. Let’s begin with the first stage, which occurs before any trips actually begin.
Stage #1: Pre-Travel Plan
If you are thinking, what is a pre-travel plan? Well, there is a delicate tango of preparation and strategy that goes into every business trip before the plane takes off or the train pulls out.
At this point, it is solely the responsibility of the company’s top decision-makers, as well as the heads of human resources and travel management. What do they do? What are the things they need to make and plan before a business trip?
If you are the responsible person for this phase, first, you need to establish a company travel policy, and then you can move on to setting SMART goals for your business trips.
Business Travel Policy
What is a business travel policy? It is also known by the name of corporate travel policy. In some companies, they prefer to create a separate policy named “employee travel policy,” which is in turn a subset of the business travel policy.
Basically, such a policy is like a handbook for your organisation, with detailed explanations of things like the approval procedures, the list of approved service providers, and the travel budget.
Let’s say a top executive needs to make a quick trip out of town to sign a crucial contract. They may have trouble determining things like which flight class to take or which hotel class to book without a clear policy in place. With a defined policy, they can stop worrying about the little things and concentrate on the big picture.
Purpose and Goals
Ask yourself, What’s driving your travels? Are you aiming to ink a partnership, strengthen client relationships, or maybe mark a presence at an international event? Pinpointing the reason behind the travel not only aids in better organisation but also in setting actionable goals. Speaking of goals, have you ever heard of SMART goals?
SMART Goals: A goal-setting framework that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. It’s not just about having a goal, but about having a goal that’s clear and achievable within a specific timeline.
Let’s delve deeper with an example. Imagine your sales director is setting off for a week-long trade exhibition in Europe. A generic goal might be “Connect with potential clients.” However, a SMART goal would be more like “Engage with at least 15 potential clients and secure preliminary agreements with at least four by the end of the week.” See the dissimilarity? The latter motivates a method that is more targeted and productive.
Stage #2: Booking Stage
Booking: a seemingly simple term with enormous potential impact on the outcome of the trip. Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the variety of providers and travel options available for business purposes? Let this section try to get you through the confusing process of making reservations.
Choosing the Right Vendors
Without a plan, it can be intimidating to wade into the sea of vendors. Have you ever felt stressed out by juggling multiple email addresses and phone numbers for the various vendors you need to contact to handle the various aspects of your booking?
Imagine coordinating with one vendor for flights, another for hotels, and yet another for ground transportation. Sounds chaotic, right? Such fragmentation can cloud the travel management process, leaving room for errors and confusion. So what’s the solution for this?
One-Stop Solutions: In a world where simplicity is a superpower, having a consolidated platform like TaxiVaxi can be a game-changer. Ever wondered how impactful it could be to manage all booking aspects seamlessly under one umbrella? To learn more, kindly schedule your meeting with us.
A centralised service provider like TaxiVaxi allows the travel manager to focus more on strategic issues and less on operational turbulence by streamlining the approval, compliance check, and coordination processes.
Strategic Cost Alignment
Price has a significant impact on booking decisions. Have you struggled to make bookings easy for customers while staying within the company’s financial parameters?
Let’s pretend we have to decide between an expensive direct flight and a more affordable one with multiple stops. The convenience of a direct flight is appealing, but it comes at a high cost. Choosing options that are both affordable and convenient for travellers is where a travel manager’s strategic skills really shine. However, if the volume of such reservations increases, it becomes impossible to shop around and find the best deal. This is where the L1 Options Strategy employed by TaxiVaxi shines.
Ease of Management
Simplifying the booking process can be a breath of fresh air in a field where time is of the essence. Think about a method of booking that also includes efficient management, with everything in its proper place. It includes the Online Approval System, Oneline Booking Management, and Expense Management.
Stage #3: The Business Trip “Experience”
Experience is the point at which expectations are compared to actual circumstances and strategies are put to the test. Now employees are going to experience and try to fulfil the goal of the business trip.
All the stages of business travel leads to the main experience. Have you ever stopped to think about how many different elements come together to form a business trip?
Quality of Services
The quality of service provided stands out among the many factors that shape the travel experience. How do the upscale accommodations, stress-free flights, and reliable cab rides all come together to form a memorable vacation for you?
Imagine setting out on a trip where everything, from the plushness of your hotel bed to the promptness of your cab, works together in perfect harmony. In contrast, a disruption in services, such as a late flight or a dirty hotel room, could disrupt the equilibrium and cast doubt on the goals of the trip.
Business trips always have a specific goal in mind, whether it’s meeting with clients, forming new business alliances, or attending a (MICE) meeting of the minds. However, how does the event either strengthen or dampen the echoes of this function?
Imagine going into a client meeting full of enthusiasm and ready to close the deal at any cost. The supportive environment, punctuality, and seamless execution of your plans are like a wind at your back, carrying you ever closer to your objective. Or, picture a scenario in which unplanned events or subpar support sap your motivation and stand in the way of your progress towards your goals.
SMART Goals: Goals that are not specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, or time-bound are not likely to be successful. But what function does it serve in the context of business trips?
SMART goals are like beacons that show you the way and provide focus and motivation. They instill a sense of direction and make every step congruent with the trip’s overarching goals.
Stage #4: Cancellations, Changes, and Last-Minute Hiccups
Everyone who has ever taken a business trip knows that the only constant is uncertainty. But what do you do when emergencies strike? How does one deal with the seemingly inevitable occurrence of last-minute changes, cancellations, or other disruptions when taking part in business travel?
Navigating through cancellations
Just imagine: You’ve scheduled a productive business meeting in a distant city. Everything is planned out, from the flights to the accommodations to the meetings. However, a major client abruptly cancelled. Tell me what it is that you do.
Scenario 1: Use a comprehensive travel management system that allows easy cancellation and rescheduling. Such a system minimises losses and makes the process less tedious.
Scenario 2: Having a robust pre-travel plan, as discussed earlier, helps. When cancellations occur, a backup plan can be quickly activated, ensuring business continuity and minimising disruptions.
Managing sudden changes
The only constant in life is change. The unexpected can happen at any point during a business trip, from a delayed flight to a switched meeting location.
A flight delay could cause you to miss an important appointment. It is where a dedicated relationship manager from TaxiVaxi or your travel management team can help you reschedule the meeting or book a new flight so that your business doesn’t suffer.
Handling Last-Minute Hiccups
Unanticipated problems that arise at the last minute are called “hiccups.” How can you make sure that these sorts of problems don’t spoil your business trip?
Consider this an example. Just before an important business meeting, your car unexpectedly breaks down. Meetings can go off without a hitch when you have a one-stop solution provider, like a comprehensive travel management platform, to call on for help. The key to a smooth trip, even when obstacles arise, is having the right mechanisms in place, such as a dedicated relationship manager, a thorough travel management system, and a thorough pre-travel plan.
Stage #5: Billing and its Management
Business travel costs can seem daunting, but they don’t have to be. Expenses can be easily monitored and accounted for with the help of efficient billing management. Then how can this important phase be planned without a hitch?
Role of the Expense Manager
The expense manager is the unsung hero of the business travel world. What is their goal? To compile, verify, and oversee all business trip expenses.
The most common example is that after a business trip, multiple invoices flood in: hotel accommodations, flight bookings, and miscellaneous expenses. The expense manager orchestrates this chaos, ensuring every bill is in compliant format and recorded on time.
Unified Billing Management with Tech Solutions
Why struggle with stacks of paper when we can use modern technology instead? The ‘Bill-to-Company’ feature is available in sophisticated solutions like TaxiVaxi. This technological advancement is crucial for success and not just a handy perk.
Imagine having one consolidated bill instead of several from different suppliers. An invoice that covers all of your travel costs in one place and complies with GST and TDS This not only makes reconciliation easier but also more precise and productive.
Easy accessibility and analysis
A centralised database where billing information can be quickly retrieved and analysed is not just a necessity but a superpower for making important business decisions.
Data-driven business travel is encouraged, and the audit process is simplified with the help of platforms like TaxiVaxi, which make it easy to sort, filter, and access billing details.
Effective billing management is like the backstage crew in a theatre production—silent yet indispensable. It ensures the spotlight remains on the core objectives of business travel, leaving financial complications and hassles in the shadows.
Stage #6: Post-Travel Analysis
Travel isn’t done when you get off the plane or leave your hotel room. The post-travel analysis is the stage where reflections are made, lessons are learned, and strategies are refined for future business travels. It is most-crucial one from all the stages of business travel. What makes this phase so indispensable?
Reflections and learning
Even though your trip is over, you can now reap the benefits of your hard work. In this phase, you’ll evaluate the objectives and determine if they were met.
Ask yourself. Did the business trip meet its SMART goals? Were the meetings fruitful? Were partnerships strengthened or new ones forged? Each aspect of the trip is analysed to glean insights and understand areas for improvement.
An essential part of this stage is reconciling the expenses. Ensuring that the actual expenditure aligns with the planned budget is crucial for financial integrity and planning future trips.
With a unified billing system, reconciling becomes more straightforward, allowing for a clearer view of the ROI of the trip. The results justified the expense, right?
A thorough evaluation after returning from a trip yields valuable information for future planning.
The information gleaned from the data is priceless. Business trips can be made more efficient and fruitful with the help of pattern recognition and iterative strategy development.
The point is to always develop and advance. Each business trip reveals both new weaknesses and fresh opportunities. Keep an eye on them, correct for their flaws, and make the most of any opportunities you can.
Each business trip is better managed, more in line with business goals, and more successful as a result of this perpetual cycle of learning from the past, improving the present, and strategizing for the future.
Conclusion: Perfecting the Art of Business Travel with Mastering Six Stages
Navigating the labyrinth of business travel is no less than orchestrating a symphony. Each stage, from the initial planning to the reflective post-travel analysis, holds a significant note in the melody of a successful business trip. The key lies in understanding and mastering each of these stages of business travel, ensuring that they harmonise to create a rhythm of efficiency, productivity, and success.
Whether it’s the planning phase or the post-trip analysis, each is an important part of a successful business trip.
But what makes a business trip truly successful? Is it just about reaching the destination, attending meetings, and coming back? Or is it about ensuring that each moment spent, every rupee invested, and every decision made align seamlessly with the organisation’s broader objectives?
Careful planning, being able to quickly adjust to changes that come up, using new technology, and always trying to get better are all important for the success of a business journey. TaxiVaxi and other tools like it make it easier, faster, and better at any stages of business travel, which is very important for the success of your business trip.