Over the last few weeks I have been looking at the four stages of business travel planning. Today I am going to write about stage two – delivering your Executive to their destination. At this point we have organised the trip, confirmed flights, booked the hotel, written the itinerary and waved goodbye to our Executives. Now, from the comfort of our desk we have to ensure they arrive at their destination without any problems. Hopefully getting from A to B shouldn’t be too much of a problem but it is worth looking at each part of the journey in closer detail so that if anything does go wrong you will know how to fix it – or even anticipate the problem and solve it before it affects the trip!
Leaving the office (or home)
Anticipate how long it will take to get from the office or your Executive’s home to the airport. Are there notorious traffic spots along the route that can cause delays? If so make sure you build this into your itinerary. It is worth asking your Executive how much time they prefer to spend at an airport – some people don’t like to rush and prefer a little time in the terminal while others want to arrive just before the gate closes.
Navigating the airport
There are loads of apps that can help you track your Executive’s journey and I would suggest you get a few that also give you a little more insight into the airport layout. I’ve heard many stories of Executive’s phoning their assistant to ask where certain shops, restaurants or other amenities are while in transit. Many of the assistants had never been to the country let alone in the airport! I’ve put together a list of travel apps that will help you with all your business travel plans.
Up in the air
Once upon a time assistants used to breath a sign of a relief knowing their Executive was tucked up in their airline seat and unable to contact the outside world for a good few hours. Unfortunately WiFi on flights has put an end to that little luxury. Again it is worth asking if your Executive plans to do any work on the flight so that you can keep an eye on what they are up to and if you need to respond to any incoming tasks. It is really important that you also keep an eye on the flight times, if the plane has been delayed you can ensure that the hotel, ground transport and other key contacts know that your Executive will be behind schedule.
A great tool to help you with this is the airline’s app. They are all free so if your manager travels on one airline frequently it is well worth downloading their app. Most will have details on flight times, on-board entertainment, electronic ticketing and lots of other useful information.
Arriving into town
The flight has landed and your Executive is now out in the big bad world without your assistance. Or are they? Well you can’t physically be there to guide them around but you can make sure you have prepared them for the next part of the trip. Do check the time your manager is arriving into their destination – if they arrive in the middle of rush hour they will probably be caught in traffic. So just make them aware on the itinerary there may be some delays. Also if they are arriving during the day it may take longer for them to get through customs, particularly in busy airports so do factor this in too.
I want to remind you that their are still free places available for Assist Travel. If you do book complex business trips for your organisations the conference sessions will really help you develop your skills in this area.