The Stress-Free EA: Easing the Pain of Booking on BehalfBy Jeanne Hopkins
Booking on behalf is one of the biggest frustrations for Executive Assistants. But, with the right tools in place, it doesn't have to be.
You wouldn’t think booking travel for your exec or your fellow employees would be such a burden. Yet, EAs and office managers often tell us “booking on behalf” is one of the biggest frustrations within their role as corporate travel coordinator. It doesn’t have to be!
The Problems Are All Too Familiar
There are certain issues that immediately jump to mind for any administrator that has ever booked travel for another employee. These include:
- Excessive back and forth
On the face of it, booking on behalf is more efficient. It expedites things for travelers, at least. They don’t have to research flights and hotels, compare prices, etc., and they don’t have to pay with personal credit cards and then wait around for reimbursement. But the work of booking doesn’t disappear, it falls on you, the EA.
If the average business traveler spends 108 hours a year self-booking (and they do), those hours become your hours. As an EA, you’re already up to your neck in to-dos.
To make matters worse, booking for someone else is more complicated than DIY. It requires lots of back and forth communication to find out what airline to use, preferred timing for flights, preferred seat selections, which hotels to book, the correct spelling of the traveler's name — you get the picture. That wastes time and delays booking, which can lead to spiked prices and/or sold out flights or hotels. Now no one benefits.
Time-consuming back and forth continues when travelers are on the road. Since they are beholden to you for booking, every time there’s a snafu with their flight or hotel, you’re the one who has to jump in and fix it.
- Lost loyalty points
Traveler-friendly employers definitely allow employees to keep their business-related rewards. But booking on behalf can derail that benefit because employees who do not book for themselves cannot always get the miles or points they would earn from the trip.
Here at Lola.com, we understand your frustration. It’s why we created a different kind of corporate travel management platform. Lola makes it easier for EAs and office managers to book on behalf of employees. Here's how:
- Everything in one place for easy visibility
You know the old efficiency maxim: a place for everything, and everything in its place. Lola is a one-stop shop for booking (whether for yourself or on behalf of someone else), so EAs and employees are both able to see or change the booking details. More importantly, each traveler's preferences can be stored in their profile.
For example, you can store hotel preferences by specific property within a given city, as well as other personalization options. For flights, stored data can include home airport, airline and seating class preferences (economy, premium, business or first), red eye flight yes/no, and seat preferences for daytime and overnight flights.
No back and forth needed. No one’s time wasted.
- Streamlined travel booking
Lola not only makes it easier for EAs to book on behalf of travelers, but also employees can just as easily and efficiently plan and book their own travel. That’s a particularly popular solution, since frequent business travelers have told us they feel that booking can waste time whether they do it themselves or someone handles it for them.
- Automatically applied loyalty rewards
Lola also stores each traveler’s loyalty program numbers within their profile, so even when you book a flight for them, their loyalty rewards are automatically applied to that flight or hotel stay. This helps employees save up faster for their own personal travel because they continue to collect miles and points on each business trip.
But there are more benefits. Your company saves money by accruing miles if you have a corporate credit card that offers flight rewards. And if your company and the traveling employee have loyalty programs with the same airline, they both win. Your company and the traveler both get the points. Automatically applied loyalty programs enable employees to “double dip” by racking up rewards during business trips and leisure travel.
Sound Too Good to Be True? It’s Not!
Beleaguered EAs, we assure you booking on behalf can, indeed, be painless. You don’t even have to take our word for it. Does “3 days to 10 minutes” sound good to you? Then check out what adopting Lola.com did for Drift’s travelers and admins. And if you’d like to report “tons of travel, no complaints” to your CEO, read about how Robin put Lola to work in their organization.