Corporate Travel – Is It Time to Centralize Your Program Again?

Corporate travel has undergone a ton of changes in recent years, the most important being the advent of easy access to airfare via the internet. As more travelers found value in better control over their schedules by using the internet, many organizations loosened their travel policies to allow for travelers to book on their own online. This perceived benefit to travelers has actually cost businesses quite a bit in terms of lost productivity, lack of control over unused tickets, and lack of access to airline programs that can save the company significantly in all areas of travel.

Can we agree that online travel booking, while advantageous in some ways, has not been all we had hoped it would be from the outset? I hear stories from travelers every day about how difficult online booking can be, and how even when using the internet, travelers simply cannot be sure they are getting the best fare. This uncertainty gnaws at travelers and coordinators, and for good reason. It is difficult to be certain of what you are getting online because there is no track record of success, and no level of trust between the organization and the travel provider.

Collaboration between your organization and your chosen travel management provider is critical. This collaboration will reap benefits for your company in terms of a better working relationship and an anticipation of your current and future needs as they relate to the constantly changing corporate travel environment.

Centralized travel needs to make a comeback for the sake of the corporate travel program, and the sanity of travelers and travel coordinators. Because all distribution channels have access to the same fares and rates, there are fewer reasons today to continue with a decentralized travel policy. Executive level buy-in is critical, and it is easy to allow travelers to keep the level of control they like while still requiring travel booking through the preferred corporate channel. Most brick and mortar agencies now offer online booking solutions that can be customized to meet the needs of the unique corporate travel policy.

The benefits of centralizing travel again are many. Here is a comprehensive, but certainly not an exhaustive, list of reasons to regain control of this important but under-scrutinized budget. It will certainly have a positive impact on your company and its ability to serve your customers and improve traveler morale.

  • Access to airline and hotel discount programs through agency and provider contracts
  • Centralized booking allows travelers to be more organized and efficient
  • Unused tickets can be tracked and hotel cancellation policies can be managed
  • Centralized billing of hotels and car rentals
  • More efficient booking processes
  • Effective customer service for the inevitable changes and issues that come up with business travel
  • Customized and centralized financial and accounting reports

Many corporations find that the best solution is a combination of booking options, with most using an online booking portal provided by their agency partner, along with real live agent help when travelers are pressed for time or have more complex travel itineraries. The key in my opinion is to re-examine the travel program from every angle. There are more airline programs that are available to businesses than ever before. New opportunities to save money and streamline processes are out there for you. United Airlines recently began offering a discount off of every fare for corporate partners. That includes cheapest coach class seats, which even many Fortune 500 companies do not have access to. This is just one example of under-publicized opportunities for your company that can be had through the old-fashioned agency relationship.

It’s time we took another pass at the corporate travel program to see where efficiencies can be found and savings opportunities can be uncovered. Your travelers and coordinators may even be able to get back to what they’re actually paid to do. Take care of your customers and propel your business forward.

12 Tips for the Corporate Traveller

Chances are if you are an executive in today’s business world, you have seen enough airport restaurants and ‘fasten seatbelt’ signs to last a lifetime. Regular air travel has become a standard part of the job for many executives, with meetings, trainings and seminars being held all over our nation and the world.

For those that love to fly, this is just another career perk. While for others, a root canal sounds better than being trapped in a metal tube 30,000 feet above the ground. Although you might not be able to control whether or not you have to fly, you can choose how all that travel will affect you.

Travelling comes with its’ own set of health challenges so it is important for you to be aware of what they are and what you can do about them.

Low Air Pressure

Even though the inside of an airplane cabin is pressurised, it is still much lower than what you would experience at sea level. This can have several effects on your body including clogged ears and swollen hands and feet. Because less oxygen is being absorbed by the blood, it can also cause dizziness or faintness, particularly upon standing.

Dehydration

Many frequent flyers are unaware that the humidity inside an airplane can fall as low as 20%. This is substantially lower than what most people are used to and can cause you to easily become severely dehydrated. In addition to leaving you feeling thirsty, it can also dry out your eyes, nose and throat.

Confinement/Blood Clots

You know how you have been told you should get up from your desk and walk around the office every hour to keep the blood flowing in your legs? The same goes for when you’re flying. Staying in one position for a long period of time, particularly in a cramped space like an airplane seat, can increase your risk of blood clots in the legs which can be fatal if they travel to your heart or lungs.

Jet Lag

Long flights that take you across time zones can leave you feeling disoriented, sluggish and even sick to your stomach. In fact, your body takes approximately one day to readjust its natural rhythm for every time zone you cross. You obviously can’t prevent jet lag from happening altogether but there are some things you can do to lessen its effect on you.

Food Choices

Airline food can sometimes taste bad or be bad for you. It is generally loaded with preservatives and unnecessary fat. So your choices are limited. It is important to eat well leading up to your flight and include lots of colourful vegetables, fruits and plenty of fibre to keep the digestive system in good working order. This ensures your body is loaded with the nutrients it needs to fight off any potential nasties.

When next travelling, consider these tips:

12 Tips for the Busy Traveller

  1. To combat ear stuffiness and pain, chew sugarless gum that will help your ears to pop. You can also pop them by yawning or swallowing.
  2. If you are prone to swelling, be sure to wear loose-fitting clothes and remove your shoes during flight.
  3. Drink plenty of water before and during the flight. Don’t rely on the beverage service since it may take a while for the attendants to get to you or they may have to forfeit service if there is severe turbulence. Always bring your own bottle of water onboard with you – where possible.
  4. Avoid beverages that have a diuretic effect such as coffee, tea and alcohol. If you absolutely have to have them, compensate for their effects by drinking water with them as well.
  5. Get up and move. Don’t worry about being the weird guy that keeps getting up. You’ll be the healthiest guy on the plane!
  6. Avoid crossing your legs. You should also avoid staying in the same position for a prolonged period of time.
  7. For long hauls, wear compression stockings that add extra pressure to your legs. You can purchase them at your local chemist.
  8. Start adjusting to your new time as early as you can. If possible, change your clocks at home a couple days before your flight to start getting your body’s sleep cycle closer to where you’re headed. If that’s not possible, set your watch to your new time as soon as you board the plane.
  9. Once you arrive at your destination, try to stay awake until your normal bedtime and stay in bed until it is time to get up. It may be difficult but will help your body to readjust faster.
  10. Take Melatonin supplements at bedtime which may also help you to fall asleep at your destination and helps regulate sleep patterns.
  11. Why not pre-order the low-fat food options online to ensure you get the healthiest meal possible.
  12. Oversized and overweight bags are a sure way to stuff up your neck or back so it’s a good idea to pack light and/or ensure not only your suitcase, but your carry on luggage has wheels on.

As you can see with some forward planning and by adhering to the 12 Tips above, will ensure your transition into a new destination or time zone will be seamless, creates less stress on your body, protecting you from lethargy thus producing a successful trip!

Enjoy A Comfortable Stay At Lesser Prices – Corporate Housing

Corporate Housing refers to renting fully furnished apartments for those who are seeking accommodation on the temporary basis. These apartments are well equipped with all sorts of amenities that a hotel would usually offer after charging an arm and a leg. These corporate houses are offered by different housing companies for flexible duration of stays. It means that one can stay for the longer number of days in case of extensions in work schedule in unknown locales.

Benefits Of Corporate Housing

Corporate Housing is a cost-efficient option because they are more comfortable and cost-effective than staying at a hotel. This is a better option for executives traveling for business tours as such apartments offer arrangements to allow conducting business meetings too. Also, these apartments are available in prime locations to offer optimum accessibility to most important places and landmarks, with minimal commute times, you can get a lot more work done. Plus, any extensions in the stay won’t be a pricey deal for the company.

Along with cost effectiveness and staying flexibility, they also ensure optimal comfort and safety. All corporate apartments are fully furnished, have washers, dryers, kitchen, meeting space, privacy, security and other entertainment options. Thus, one feels as if they are staying in their second home, rather than staying in hotels.

Not just for business travelers, but they are one of the most-favored options for students looking for temporary accommodation for as long as a semester, tourists and travelers, people who have to renovate their home, etc.

Such facilities address one of the biggest problems of people who travel for business especially longer duration, the lack of home cooked and healthy/nutritious food. With Corporate Housing, people are able to go to the store, come home, and cook anything of their choice in the modular and fully equipped kitchen.

Live Out Of Your Suitcase

Corporate Housing facilitates people with luxurious accommodation for temporary stays on the rental basis. They are highly cost-effective, situated near prime locations and let one live a normal lifestyle, even if they are on a business tour, pursuing studies or staying out of their homes owing to several other reasons. They provide all the necessary facilities at lower costs than hotel bills, and ensure a homely environment. Corporate Housing stands as a win-win option for business travelers and the company, as for the person, it is very much comfortable option, with all the amenities while it fits in the strictest budget of the company.