Well the holidays mean that it’s time to adjust your travel policy and advise your employees on the best ways to survive the busy travel season. The sudden “invasion” of this country’s airports, train stations, etc. by legions of family members traveling for their first time can take even the most seasoned travel veteran out of their game. The goal of any company during this period is to ensure that its travelers continue to arrive on time, in good health, do their jobs to the highest company standards, and get home safely. Here are some tips.
- Don’t book the last flight out for the day. With flights being canceled and rebooked, and with passengers being shuffled — all due to inclement weather — travelers need options. Booking the very last flight out to your destination is particularly dangerous this time of year. Make sure you have a fallback plan or that you could fly standby if necessary. Many companies make this a policy.
- Elite status is now worth more than ever. Whether it’s airline status that grants access to the reserved seats on the plane, short security lines, and early boarding; car rental status that lets you walk up to your car and drive out; or hotel status that lets you walk right in to your room and the executive lounge, getting around the teeming masses of travel debutantes is a well-deserved luxury. Advise your traveling employees to take advantage of their elite status by securing their seats early to avoid getting shuffled around to accommodate a family of seven. Also remind employees to board early while there’s still enough space to stow their bags and other carry-on items.
- Invest in some quiet time. Your employees need to escape from the noise and the holiday hoopla to get some work done. Consider buying that one-day pass to the airline club lounge at the airport or executive lounge at the hotel so an employee can find some quiet. The overall “cost of doing business” during the holidays goes up; so be prepared to weigh the cost of a traveler spending $100 to get a quality hard-wired Ethernet connection away from the thousands of new travelers competing for space on the airport’s wireless service. A quiet room with a solid connection can return quite a bit of good quality work for that investment.
- Remember the power. Your travelers must pack and take along some extra batteries. Mobile phones and laptops are essential when planes are delayed; so your employees should make sure they have an extra battery for each of those devices and make sure it’s charged. Power outlets are in high demand during delays; so it’s best if your travelers take along their own power.
- Take advantage of taxis. The traveling masses don’t take taxis as much as they rent cars. Take advantage of that. Your employees know how to hail, pay, and get where they want in a taxi. Many travel rookies have never been in one before (at least not with their families in tow).
- Ask for the upgrades. Remember, most holiday travelers are also bargain shoppers. That means that airlines, hotels, and car rental firms would all rather give you an upgrade to make their lower-cost rooms more available to the masses. They don’t want to risk that spot going empty or unsold. Be sure to ask about any available upgrades, most are available during the holidays at a surprisingly affordable cost.
The busy holiday travel season calls for an adjustment in your usual travel policies so that your employees can keep making their business trips productive. Spread the wisdom on smart holiday travel via your corporate travel wiki and get everyone to share their own insights on the best cost savings — and the best way to travel sane and safely in this hectic season.