Giving Corporate Travelers the Support They NeedBy Mike Baker
Travel disruptions are a part of life, but dealing with them on your own doesn't have to be
Traveling for work is hard enough on its own, but it becomes that much harder when travel plans go sideways. Cancelled flights, missed connections, lost reservations — these disruptions can do more than frustrate travelers; they can derail entire business trips.
Of course, your company isn’t in the business of leaving travelers out to dry while they’re out on the road. You want to help your road warriors in every way you can.
What kind of support do your travelers need to get where they’re going (and back) efficiently and safely? And what help might they need along the way?
The rise of technology has made all of us DIY’ers, especially when it comes to researching and reserving travel online. Perceptive companies now employ comprehensive corporate travel management software that makes it easy for travelers to plan and book travel details and submit receipts the digital way – all within the company’s travel policies. Self-help? No sweat. Have you met Lola.com?
However, when things go sideways, DIY may not be an option. Or, at least, not a good one.
Support requires humans as well as technology
As marvelous as intelligent automation may be, it takes live humans to fully support your employees when they’re on the road because there are a lot of things AI just can’t do. And the last thing you want is to leave some weary or stressed out traveler in limbo, trying to handle (perhaps multiple) last-minute challenges all on their own. That suggests you don’t care about them as a person, nor do you really care if they accomplish the reason for their trip. Ouch! That’s a recipe for burnout and dissatisfaction.
But you love your corporate travelers, so here’s how you can support them.
- Assistance re-booking
Imagine you're still in the air when your next flight gets bumped. Or you’re busy at a company meeting or event and don't have time to check your flight status. Corporate travelers have a million things on their minds, especially while they're in transit. Navigating airline and hotel phone trees and support numbers is not typically high on their list. They may rely on their office manager / EA for this, but those people aren't travel experts and they also have other priorities to work on.
Helping travelers re-book eliminates the chance they will choose whatever alternative is quickest and easiest, regardless of whether it’s in keeping with company policies. So you’re not only assisting the person on the road, you’re protecting your corporate travel budget.
- Making proactive changes
Business travelers are on a mission, whether they’re headed to a conference to learn new things or headed to a meeting to close your company’s next Big Deal. They’re focused on that. What a relief to know someone else is focused on their itinerary. Wouldn’t you be pleased to get a message from your support team saying, "I see that the first leg of your plane was delayed, which means you will miss your connecting flight, so I went ahead and booked you on the next flight."
- Checking in for flights and hotel rooms
One of the support services travelers love most is the ability to have someone else remotely check them in for a flight or their room. With all booking information stored in the same place, that might be a Lola support specialist, or it could be an EA or co-worker. When the support team sees someone’s flight is going to arrive early or late, outside the hotel’s specified check-in window, they can work directly with the hotel to smooth the way. Support specialists can also work with hotels and airlines regarding special requests or problems that might crop up.
- Updating itineraries
Businesses must maintain up-to-date itinerary information about every traveling employee, in order to accurately record expenses and to perform corporate duty of care. But itineraries can change so fast! Lola is on the job 24/7, instantly assimilating changes that co-workers back home will be able to see right away because itineraries are stored in one place. So there’s no need to call the office and explain what has changed and why. And no need to worry about time zones – will anyone even be in the office when you call?
All the help they need, all the time
Corporate travel management software is a great thing. But without a live support team poised to assist round the clock, you are shorting travelers when they need help the most.
Ah, but when road warriors know someone is always there for them, any time, every day, they can relax and stay focused. Something might go wrong, but it’s not the end of the world. Help is just a click or call away.
Have you met Lola?