How to Brief Your PA for the Holiday of a Lifetime
PAs tasked with organising corporate travel to destinations around the world have a multitude of considerations to keep in mind, not the least of which is safety and security. It’s for this reason that many PAs and their employers prefer to leave the arrangements to professional Travel Management Companies such as Simplexity, as they can ensure that all arrangements are watertight and that any last-minute changes are handled with minimal cost or stress.
Of course, many executives also charge their PAs with putting together their personal holidays, which can often require similar levels of planning, especially if these are special getaways for couples and families where you want to create treasured memories.
For a PA to be able to liaise effectively with us, we recommend a brief along these lines...
The most important element of any brief is ensuring we know your budget for the holiday. A two-week stay in a Greek villa will cost far less than two weeks in a luxury Caribbean resort. Your PA will need to give us your maximum spend, any flexibility in the budget, and if possible a quick breakdown what you have in mind for spend on different parts of the holiday, such as accommodation and meals. This is vital. In short - every other aspect of the holiday depends on the budget available.
You may have a specific country, city or even resort in mind. Or perhaps you prefer to keep it fairly flexible, such as “a high-end winter sports destination with good ski school for kids.” We’re more than happy to make suggestions, but we’re unable to second-guess your requirements even if you tend to take the same sort of holiday every year. Your PA will also need to give us your dates of travel as these can have an impact - for example some ski resorts see their best snow later in the season than others, while some Asian countries are best avoided during monsoon season.
Arranging your itinerary will be a lot easier if your PA can give us a good sense of the type of holiday you want. Now of course, if you want a trip to Barbados, you’re probably after a beach break, and if we hear Val d’Isere in winter, then we know you’re probably looking at a ski trip. But South Africa? That might mean anything from adventure to wine-tasting, safari to road-trips. If your PA can give us some direction when planning it will help us ensure that you get the experience you want from your holiday.
Of course, ensuring that your passports are in order falls to your own responsibility, but if they are due to expire at some point soon then we’ll need to know when, to ensure that the holiday dates are viable. Visas may also be required, which means passports will need to be handed over to the relevant embassy for a short time - might this conflict with any upcoming business travel?
Wherever you want to go in the world, chances are that you can get there flying from London. Not everyone wants to go by air though. For instance, you can now take the Eurostar as far as Marseilles, and in a few years, you may be able to travel as far as Japan by rail. You may want to cross the Atlantic by cruise ship, or enter the Med by yacht. The other issue to keep in mind is of course travel while abroad - there may be certain connections you want to make, or certain modes of transport that you want to use, such as private helicopter charters, limousines or hot air balloons. These should all be incorporated into the brief so that our Travel Manager gets them included.
The other vital consideration is naturally where you want to stay. An all-inclusive luxury resort, moments from the beach? A chic ski chalet at the foot of the slopes? A heritage hotel overlooking a beautiful Indian tea plantation? Or a traditional river cruiser on the Amazon? The more information that your PA can give us in this regard, the more likely you are to be happy on arrival. Don’t forget to mention other aspects related to accommodation that can be crucial, such as whether you need there to be vegetarian restaurants on-site or nearby, leisure facilities like spas, childcare, or secure car parking.
These elements make up the basic structure of a good holiday brief that Simplexity can develop from. But we can also help your PA with other areas that might be relevant, such as what mobile or Wifi coverage and charges can you expect while away, and can a SIM be bought in advance? Will you require any injections such as against malaria or rabies? What activities or evening entertainments are available in resort?
Your PA can then work closely with one of our dedicated Travel Managers to ensure that your itinerary is suitable, and bought at the best possible rates. A vast amount of time can be saved in this fashion.
Lastly, though it’s not something people really like to dwell on, it’s worth keeping in mind one of the principal advantages of using a Travel Management Company like Simplexity, and that is 24/7 emergency support. In the event of an emergency such as a natural disaster or a coup, as unlikely as that may seem, it’s a big reassurance to know that there is a professional team at hand to look after you and bring you home safely.
Discover exactly how Simplexity can work with your PA to arrange the holiday of a lifetime.