Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Tips for Having a Safe Business Trip

While you are away on a business trip, there are a few ways you can protect yourself while you are out of town or out of the country.  Beginning at the airport, you will want to keep yourself and your luggage safe while getting through customs or finding a taxi.  You can also easily get lost when you are in an unfamiliar country or city, leaving you and your possessions vulnerable to those with less than good intentions.

Here are some safety tips you can use while travelling on your next business trip:

  • Make copies of your important documents, such as passports, visas, credit cards and your driver's license, you are taking with you in case the originals are lost or stolen.  
  • Carry your identity, passports or other documents close at hand.  Use a wallet to keep them organised and available if you need to show them to the hotel or other officials while you are travelling.  Be careful about putting your documents in a purse or backpack, they could be taken by pickpockets or snatched from you by thieves.
  • Report any lost or stolen credit or debit cards immediately so they can be cancelled and your money and credit can be safe.
  • Be careful about withdrawing money from an ATM or disposing of receipts and other items with your personal information on it to prevent identity theft.
  • Don't pack any valuables in your checked luggage as they can be stolen by airport baggage handlers or accidentally picked up by someone mistaken your luggage for theirs.

If you do have items stolen or damaged on your trip, put in a claim with your corporate travel manager.  They will make a report to the company's travel insurance company so you can get reimbursed for your items.

Tips for Business Travellers to Use While Away from Work

Travelling for business can be a grueling task, especially if you are attending a conference.  You will spend most of your time in meetings or with potential clients, negotiating sales of your products or trying to promote your products to other businesses.

Even after the meetings have ended, most likely you will end up at dinner with colleagues or clients trying to seal the deals you're responsible for making for your company.  You won't have any time to yourself or to get a good night's sleep before you have to be up and at the next meeting or presentation.

To survive this travel routine, there are some basic corporate travel tips you can utilize. They include:

  • Leave the family at home.  You're there for business and your schedule with leave little room to interact with your spouse and kids.  You will also stand a better chance at getting your seat upgraded, if something becomes available, when you are alone.
  • Stay professional.  If you are travelling with colleagues, you may be tempted to let lose a bit while you are away from the office, but you don't want to do anything that can get back to the boss or that will cause your colleagues to distrust you.
  • Learn the culture and some key phrases in the language spoken at your destination.  If you are travelling out of the country, learning about the culture you will visit will help you avoid any faux pas and learning some of the language will not only impress those you meet, but it can help you find your around the city you are going to visit.

These are only a sample of some of the tips you can use while you are travelling on business.  To learn more, ask the advice of your corporate travel management company.

Incentive Travel

One of the perks your company can offer it's employees is discounted leisure travel rates for themselves and their families by utilizing the travel agency your company is contracted with for their corporate travel needs.  The travel agency can help your employees plan their vacations or holiday trips and offer many of the same discounts that your business gets for airline tickets, hotel accommodations and car rental rates.

Your company can also offer gift certificates or special packages for incentives as a reward for their work for your business.  It can be an in-house promotion for getting the most sales or for bringing in new clients to your business or any other number of reasons you why may wish to reward your employees.

The business' travel manager can set forth policies on how employees can utilize their services to make their personal travel plans and help negotiate special rates with airlines, cruise lines and hotels when your company awards a trip for an incentive.  The travel manager help you and your employees take advantage of negotiated rates they have already made with a variety of travel vendors for your leisure travel.

Having the ability to offer your employees discounted leisure travel or incentive travel is a good incentive to use when trying to hire new executives for your company.  It is a perk that not every business has the ability to offer and can set your business above your competitors when trying to land an employee who has been offered positions at other companies.

Business Travel Insurance

Travelling for business is not without its complications, especially when travelling out of country or for an extended period of time.  Almost anything can happen while in flight, on the ground or medically to your travelling employee.  To help cover any emergency expenses that may occur while the employee is on business for your company, you should purchase business travel insurance so that all contingencies are covered when one of your people has to travel.

Travel insurance will help cover costs incurred when problems arise.  This includes:

  • Lost luggage
  • Damage to equipment
  • Medical expenses for the employee
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Trip cancellation expenses

Without travel insurance, your company could end up paying for replacing equipment the employee took with him on the trip or for a car accident that the employee might be responsible for causing.  Travel insurance helps offset these unplanned expenses and covers your company's liability if necessary.

You can set-up your travel insurance policy to cover a single trip or you can negotiate a multi-trip policy if your business has employees travelling frequently to visit clients or to go to satellite offices or manufacturing plants to oversee operations.  Part of your company's responsibility in controlling costs is to insure your travelling employees so your budget won't be compromised by unforeseen problems.

If your company has a corporate travel management company overseeing your travel and expenses, they will handle negotiating a travel insurance policy for your company and handle any claims that are made when your employee has any problems on his trip.  Travelling without a good insurance policy can cost your company much more than any travel insurance costs you may incur.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Detailed Travel Reporting

A part of your corporate travel manager's job is to keep track of all the travel expenses and travel data management for your business.  Any expenses incurred while an employee is travelling for business is kept track of by your travel manager, whether it is as minimal as airport transfers or the costs of the hotel room where your employee stayed during his trip.  There are several ways in which this information can be used by your company.

Your travel manager will be able to provide detailed travel expenditure reports for use during your company's financial meetings and accountability to your stockholders, if you have any, based on expenses that were paid out during the last quarter, the past year, or indeed for any period you stipulate. They can also use the data to help put together your business' annual budget or to examine where the money has gone when your employee's have had to travel and find ways to cut expenses, if needed.

One method to track of expenses can be easily handled by the travel manager through use of corporate credit cards issued to employees to use when they travel.  Rather than keep track of receipts, which can be lost in transit or forged, a policy can be implemented that the employees have to use the credit cards for all travel related expenses.  The travel manager can then take the information on the credit card billing statement and categorize the expenses to see where cuts can be made or where policies need to be enforced.

For companies whose employees have to frequently travel for business, travel expenses can be the largest company expenses they pay out, second only to employee salaries and benefits.  Being able to easily keep track of this information keeps you informed about where your company's money is being spent.

Corporate Travel Management

Most companies do not have in-house travel agents that work for their companies to make travel arrangements for executives going out of town on business.  Usually, the administrative assistant for an executive makes the travel arrangements, which may include calling the airlines to arrive flights, making hotel accommodations and doing an itinerary.  If your business has an arrangement with a corporate travel service, you probably have a travel manager that takes care of your company's account and the assistant can call the manager to make her boss' travel arrangements.

A travel manager, who works for a corporate travel management company, not only oversees your company's travel arrangements whenever they need to be made, but they also implement travel policy for your business, negotiate rates with airlines and hotels for your employees and keep track of all of your travel expenses and records for your business.  They usually help set policy for the use of corporate travel credit cards and decide which class employees are allowed to use when they have to fly out on business.

Travel expense costs are some of the highest controllable expenses for a company, usually only second to employee salary and benefits.  The corporate travel manager helps to set the expense accounts for employees to help control what they spend while they are on business trips. That may not only include negotiating rates with airlines and hotels, but also with:

  • car rental agencies
  • controlling food and drink expense
  • client meeting arrangements 
  • office supplies and services   
  • setting gratuity policies 

Utilising corporate travel management can help your business control its travel expenses and set policies for employee travel so they what they can and cannot do while out of town on business.