Travel Management Tips for
What could be easier than organising your boss’s business trip?!
How you answer that will depend on if, as an executive assistant, you’ve ever booked one. Those that have will know there is rather a lot more to it than booking a return flight and leaving the tickets on his or her desk.
It probably goes without saying that this is very much something you need to nail as perfectly as possible, for both your boss’s sake and yours. So check out our tips to guide you.
Be cost-effective... but don’t cheap-out
If your C-suite boss is taking time out to travel for business, it’s likely going to be for a pretty important reason, like securing a major new client for the business, that could help transform the company’s fortunes. With that in mind, the potential ROI of this kind of trip is going to be significantly higher than that of a more route business trip, and this should be accounted for when choosing style of travel. It’s probably worth considering Business Class tickets at a minimum, or maybe even First Class. The same goes for accommodation - it’s important your boss is as well rested and comfortable as possible.
Be incredibly efficient
As you will know from day-to-day work, your boss’s time is incredibly precious, and this is especially true when he or she is travelling for business, when the sheer logistics of getting from place to place means there is less time to have meetings and plan strategy and the like. Therefore it is up to you to ensure the trip is as efficient as it possibly can be. If you find a way to save 10 minutes, and it doesn’t seem worth it, just imagine if you could find six of those - that amounts to an hour, which very much is worth it.
Have a Plan B. And a Plan C. And a Plan F
When it comes to business trips, there are a lot of moving parts, and your boss is just one of them - literally. When one of those moving parts fails to move, or breaks in some way, it can have the knock on effect of stopping all the others, too. Therefore, as the person ultimately responsible for the logistical side of things, you need to anticipate things that could go wrong, and have a solid backup plan to resolve things. The better you plan, the more stress-free the trip will be - for your boss, and for you.
Be mindful of privacy and subtlety
It’s entirely possible that at that level of management, the discussions your boss will be having when away on business could be super sensitive. Hopefully he or she would give you some indication of things in that regard before leaving, so you could plan appropriately, but either way, it’s generally better to be on the safe side. So, for example, if booking a restaurant table where an important meeting is going to take place, consider asking for a corner table, or even a private room.
Be a bit more flexible with budgets
If your company has a Travel Policy, it will likely define various limits on various travel expenses, for example on hotel rooms. But it’s important to be aware than at the upper levels of management, things are usually a bit more flexible. So in other words, don’t be a total stickler for the rules when booking travel and accommodation for your boss - as noted above, sometimes the potential ROI of a really big trip far exceeds any travel costs involved. If you’re not sure, just check with your boss directly - how strictly budgets are observed will naturally vary from company to company, so it’s best to treat on a case by case if you’re not sure.
Closely monitor them throughout
This is a bit of an add-on for having backup plans, but whatever you do, don’t assume that once your boss’s plane has taken off on time, everything will run perfectly smoothly from that point on. If you have a clear itinerary laid out, you should technically know where your boss is at all times. FCBT’s tech offerings will allow you to monitor the whereabouts of people from your company, so if you notice your boss is - for example - in the wrong hotel, then you’ll be able to quickly alert them to get back on track.
Ensure their phone has appropriate software
One of the more helpful preparatory things you can do for your boss before they leave is to install software on their phone that’ll help them keep to schedule on a personal level. FCBT’s Sam is perfect for this; it’s been built primarily as a travel itinerary management tool, offering things like real time travel and weather alerts to those on the move. Make sure it’s downloaded all ready to go, and walk your boss through how to use it, too.
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