5 TOP things you didn’t know your travel manager could do for you
It goes without saying that corporate travel is and will be a very different experience for the foreseeable future. With new rules and regulations in place, there's a lot to consider in a post Covid world.
As a busy business owner, travel booker or a regular business traveller; having peace of mind that all your business travel needs are being managed and cared for by someone you trust, will make this transition to the 'new normal' that bit easier.
With that being said, we asked Jonathon Tas (pictured right), a Manager at Flight Centre Business Travel’s Sydney office, to share his insights into the wonderful world of corporate travel management and highlight 5 things you may not know a Travel Manager can do!
1. Problem-solve your travel logistics
Your travel manager isn't just there to book the flights you've chosen. They'll look at your whole travel request and consider how each element works in terms of your overall travel itinerary and whether there are better options for you. This is especially helpful in the current pandemic landscape.
"We are essentially a second set of eyes to go over everything and our experience and knowledge of destinations means we can pick up if something isn't going to work on the itinerary. For example, the request might call for a connecting flight between Qantas and Rex airlines, but I’ll know that it’s physically impossible to get through that airport in the time you have, so I’ll look at other options” says Jonathon.
Your travel manager will consider the practicalities of the situation and weigh up the risks. It’s about knowing what logistical challenges you may come across in your travels and troubleshooting before you get to that point.
2. Help you stretch your budget further
Your travel manager knows not just to look for the lowest prices, but also to consider the total trip cost from door to door.
From pre-paying lengthy ground transfers on competitive rates, to tracking unused airline credits that could be used to offset your new airfare cost, your travel manager knows all the tricks to stretching your travel budget further.
"Making use of unused ticket credits before they expire is a huge priority for a lot of SMEs right now, and there can be a lot of confusing conditions attached. We make the process simple and ensure a company's credits are applied to new bookings whenever possible" says Jonathon.
Often when travellers look only at the base room cost when booking a hotel, a trip can end up costing the company substantially more by the time breakfast, wifi or parking is added. That's why your Travel Manager will always try to source value adds like free breakfast or room upgrades through our exclusive hotel rates.
"If you're going to pay $15 to $30 every day for breakfast, only to claim it back through expenses later, it makes sense to get it included in the rate upfront - you'll save money and the extra admin. Our HotelsPlus & SmartStay rates all include complimentary breakfast and wifi, plus another bonus, like a complimentary room upgrade as well!" says Jonathon.
3. Hold airline seats for you
One of the benefits of booking through your travel manager is that they can hold seats on ideal flights for you, giving you time to confirm meetings and schedules. This simple action can save you money and stress.
“Business travellers might know when they need to be in another city but still need to confirm meetings and travel times. So, we can place a tentative hold on seats for a period of time without a deposit and either confirm them or let them go when we make the booking. This helps to avoid fare increases or costly change and cancellation penalties” says Jonathon.
This applies to both domestic and international flights and can result in a saving of hundreds or thousands of dollars, as fares are known to increase closer to the travel time.
“We can also jump in and see how many seats are available on a flight and put a hold on them if they're down to their last seats. It gives you peace of mind while you're still working out your travel schedule" says Jonathon.
4. Keep your travel profile up to date
Setting up your profile with FCBT involves filling in details, like your frequent flyer, hotel frequent guest and car rental memberships, passport details and your travel preferences, including meal requests and where you’d like to sit on the plane.
“We manage all those details in a traveller’s profile so we can use them across bookings. For example, if we’ve got their Qantas Frequent Flyer membership number on record, it will carry across when we’re booking with an international partner airline” says Jonathon.
And when you’re travelling overseas, your travel manager will be alerted when you’ve only got six months left on your passport, so they’ll likely prompt you to update it.
5. Make your life easier
At Flight Centre Business Travel, we work to eliminate problems before they happen and offer solutions to common issues when managing your travel program. There are never enough hours in the day and that's why working with us will give you back precious time and eliminate unnecessary stress.
“Business travellers have busy jobs already, so if there’s something we can do to make their life easier, we will” says Jonathon.
Giving your staff a single point of contact for all bookings will improve productivity and morale. We are an extension of your business and there to support you and your travellers for all your travel needs.