As an EA or PA, a major part of your job is planning your executive’s business travel. Whether it’s domestic or international, planning corporate travel requires knowledge of a myriad of different issues. Our editor, Cassie Mulhern researched some helpful information to make the planning process easier.
Whether they’re travelling alone or taking others – including you – with them, your executive relies on you to be on top of their corporate travel management.
When your executive is travelling overseas, there are so many more things to consider outside of the usual to-do list.
The first, and probably most important, is acquiring the correct documentation needed for entering the countries the travellers are going to. Each country has its own set of rules and documentation for their international visitors. Not having the correct documentation can, in the best case scenario, delay the schedule and, in the worst case, cancel it altogether.
For Australians, one helpful source for finding this important information is the government’s Smart Traveller website (smarttraveller.gov.au). This is a thoroughly put together website that provides information on all sorts of important topics necessary for any kind of travel, including business travel.
Smart Traveller is designed to be easy to navigate and allows you to search information by country. It also provides links to websites to help you gain further insight into the country your executive is travelling to.
For those of you planning travel from New Zealand, the best place to start to gather information is the NZ government’s website, Safe Travel (safetravel.govt.nz). Just as with Smart Traveller, Safe Travel allows you to start by searching for information on the country your executive is travelling to.
Both websites give comprehensive information on situations that may go awry during travel, including arrest and detention, injury or illness, becoming the victim of criminal activity, etc. While no one wants to imagine this kind of stuff happening, it’s always a real possibility and therefore, it’s important to ensure you and your executive are well-versed on what to do in these kinds of emergency situations. Knowing embassy details, country laws, and having appropriate insurance are all crucial to ensuring the safest travel possible.
When it comes to safety and security, one of the best features on both websites is the listings of which countries are or aren’t safe to travel to. Both websites categorise the countries into ‘Safe’, ‘Some Risk’ and ‘Do Not Travel’ lists. They take a clear and concise approach to this information, which makes it much easier for you in the planning stages of the travel.
Tips, tricks and info for corporate travel management
- As an EA or PA, chances are, you already use a specific program, app or website to manage corporate travel. If not, it’s definitely worth looking into. Companies such as Corporate Travel Management have online portals, software and apps all designed to give you a one-stop-shop of corporate travel planning. You’ll be able to book flights, accommodation and transport, alter bookings and itineraries, etc. all from the comfort of one program. Not only will this vastly reduce the time you spend managing the travel, it will also help you to accurately keep track of everything, should any issues arise.
- Even if you are using a program, website or app to manage the travel, it’s always a good idea to check around other places for flight, accommodation and transport prices and information first.
- Always keep track of your company’s policies on corporate travel, especially financial policies. The last thing you need when trying to manage travel and the rest of your duties is to breach any policies and have to go back to the beginning.
- Your executive is likely to have specific requests, needs, etc. and it’s important to go through these with them before you start any kind of booking and planning. This is especially important if your executive has any kind of allergies or dietary requirements. Once you’ve booked everything, it’s a good idea to confirm, at least a couple of times – once when you book and once just before the trip – that all of these needs have been accommodated.
- Whether you are planning domestic or international corporate travel, keeping yourself and your executive abreast of political, economical and legal issue in the destination region will help your executive be better prepared to conduct whatever business they need to attend to. When it comes to international travel, keeping up to date with this information can also be vital to the safety and security of the traveller.
- Last but not least, make sure your executive and any others travelling on the trip have all their paperwork, documentation, passports, etc. up-to-date and ready to go well before the trip. Give yourself time to rectify any mistakes, hold-ups and red-tape you may come across during the process.