10 things every PA needs to know when planning a business trip
Everyone knows that planning a trip abroad can be stressful; when it comes to planning one work, the pressure really can pile up quickly. But it doesn't have to be this way!
Our Travel Managers have decades of experience planning high-profile business trips. Here we are sharing our top tips that every PA needs to know when planning an important business trip.
1. Create an itinerary
It's one of the basics, but it's an excellent starting point when it comes to planning a business trip. It's key to find out exactly what your manager is planning during the venture. Who are they meeting? Where and when? How far is that in relation to the hotel you were going to book? Is it miles away? Then maybe you should consider a different one? All these questions needs at least semi-solid answers.
Have you thought about how your manager is going to communicate while they're away? There are numerous options available when it comes to using phones abroad. You can upgrade their existing mobile plan with their current provider to ensure that they are getting the best rate for international calls, texts and data usage.
3. Check Times Periodically
Flights are constantly rescheduled. As a PA, it's your responsibility to be up to date on the latest info. Constantly checking for updates and changes on flight/check in times, whether it's via the phone or on the internet (although we'd recommend both), are key to ensuring that your manager isn't left stranded, doesn't miss their flight, and aren't wasting their valuable time for flights that have been rescheduled or cancelled.
4. Purchase refundable tickets
We all know how quickly things change in business. Old meetings are cancelled and new ones are arranged at the drop of a hat, so purchasing refundable tickets wherever possible is vital. It could end up saving your company a lot of money if plans change at the last minute, and it will also make you look like a forward thinker when it comes to promotion time.
Checklists, much like the one you're reading right now, could be your saviour when it comes to planning a trip like this. Create lists for everything: what travel documents are required? Is there any important documentation that your manager must not forget for their meetings? Note everything down to ensure you're on target for a smooth, successful business trip.
If your manager is abroad it's likely they are going to want access to their own vehicle. This will ensure they get to meetings on time and remove the need to trust in unreliable public transport. It can also be incredibly disorientating using a train or bus service in a country that doesn't speak your native tongue, so it's likely whoever you're organising the trip for would like a chauffeur.
7. Customs Regulations
Do you know the rules and regulations at customs in the country that your manager is travelling to? It's worth making a note of and letting them know. You don't want them to be stuck in an airport in Dubai because they bought a box of chocolate liquors, so to ensure a smooth trip for everyone and a more relaxed time for yourself, it's always safe to check what is and isn't allowed through customs in the respective airports your manager will be frequenting.
We all know that the weather is a beast that cannot be tamed, but the idea with this point is to ensure your manager knows what they are in for and can react to the situation. If their trip is in New York in December, encourage a huge winter overcoat to keep the chill away. Or if it's perhaps in Australia ensure they pack light clothes that are professional yet comfortable. If there's some room to manoeuvre around where your manager goes, then be sure to check the weather of any destination you're considering at the time of your the trip is being taken. There's nothing worse than being stuck abroad with short sleeved shirts and no umbrella when you're constantly met with freezing downpours instead.
9. Travel Insurance
Whether you're going on holiday for business or pleasure, travel insurance is one of those vital things that everyone needs to take care of before they can go away. The insurance covers everything from hospital costs, baggage cover, cancellation fees and more, and could prove to be invaluable if the trip decides to venture off from that perfect plan you had in place. So make sure you have it before you leave the country!
10. Make it as relaxing as possible
As a PA, you will be used to the busy, ever-changing schedule of your manager. It's worth trying to make the whole experience as comfortable as possible for all parties involved. This means perhaps shipping larger items so that your manager doesn't personally need to carry them. It means ensuring that your manager is at the airport with ample time to spare so they don't feel hassled and rushed, and it's even worth investing in access to an airline lounge to really make sure your manager is fresh and ready to face the first meeting they have set up, which potentially could be moments after they land.
If you have a daunting business trip coming up and would rather focus on the business than the logistics, call our Corporate Travel Managers today on 0203 535 9290 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to see how easy business trips can be!