In charge of your boss’ work trip? Don’t make these mistakes!

Stressed traveler speaking on her cellphone feeling overwhelmed

From choosing the wrong time to book, to overbooking flights and accommodation, some mistakes are common missteps that assistants and team members make when arranging travel for their bosses.

Now, a new survey of business owners and managers has revealed that more than half have either been inconvenienced, stranded between flights, or lost money when their teams have looked after their travel bookings. 

The findings have been taken from a survey of an independent panel of 255 SME owners and decision-makers, commissioned by Corporate Traveller, a leading travel management company for SMEs and a division of Flight Centre.

Corporate Traveller asked survey respondents about nine mistakes that their team assistants, or someone in their organisation, has made when booking travel. 

Saskia Boxem, NSW/ACT Head of customer success for Corporate Traveller, said that by sharing the results, in-house travel bookers can take note of the slip-ups that are being picked up by their managers, and seek to address them.  

“Booking business travel can be a complicated process, especially when arranging travel for large groups or booking at the last minute,” Boxem, said. 

“As assistants do their best to juggle travel bookings alongside their other, often higher priority tasks, they can sometimes be more prone to making mistakes.”

“However, for many businesses and managers, these mistakes can have a large impact on their budgets and be costly ones to make and rectify.

“To help alleviate the pressure, team assistants should consider using travel booking platforms and travel management companies, such as Corporate Traveller, which offer round-the-clock support and the best travel expertise.

Not only are there financial implications to rectify the mistakes, but an organisation’s corporate reputation could suffer damage if a traveller arrives late to a meeting because of a simple booking mistake.

The top mistakes team assistants are making when booking business travel:

  1. 40 per cent of the mistakes are missing out on good deals by booking last minute. The most common error made by those who admitted to making a mistake, with two-fifths (40 per cent) of respondents who have made mistakes when booking travel saying they had overspent on bookings, because they booked too close to the travel date. It’s easy for assistants and office managers to be distracted with other urgent tasks and so business travel bookings can slip down the priority list. So, by the time the booking is made, prices have shot up due to demand. 
  2. Getting traveller’s details incorrect on bookings make up 27 per cent of mistakes. More than a quarter (27 per cent) of those who admitted to making mistakes said they had incorrectly inputted traveller details when booking travel. Whether it’s misspelling a name, an incorrect date of birth, or a wrong name altogether, incorrect traveller details take time to rectify. Businesses are unlikely to make this mistake when using a travel management company or platform, which eliminates manual errors by creating a booking profile for each traveller. 
  1. 27 per cent of mistakes are flights that don’t align. More than a quarter (27 per cent) of travel bookers that have made mistakes admitted to this error. Travellers can be left without a bed to sleep in if their flight arrives after hotel check-in has closed or miss their flight if their adjoining flights times are unaligned. This is the third most common mistake, which not only incurs added costs, as additional bookings will need to be made, but it can also put the traveller at risk if they are stranded in a new city late at night.
  2. 25 per cent of errors are travel booking that are not approved or go over budget. If an employee is left to book their own travel, they could risk overspending on a hotel or flight and by the time management has noticed it could be too late to amend without financial penalties. It’s the fourth most common mistake made by those who admitted to getting things wrong when booking travel, at 25 per cent. A travel management company, on the other hand, can lock in a spending cap to keep a lid on frivolous spending.
  3. Making bookings that inconvenienced travellers make up 24 per cent of mistakes. Businesses also reported that when travel is managed by assistants or other team members, there is a risk the traveller could be booked onto an inconvenient flight time, or at a hotel that is miles from their early morning meeting location. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of businesses that have made travel booking mistakes admitted to this particular error.  
  1. Booking with travel providers that have poor service make up 24 per cent of errors. An assistant that books travel on behalf of their manager may not be privy to the best travel services, and 24 per cent of those who have made mistakes booking travel said this had happened in their business. Instead, by using a travel management company and leaving business travel booking to the experts, businesses can be assured that they are booked onto the travel provider that best suits their needs and expectations. 
  1. 20 per cent of mistakes have the wrong destination or date. This may seem an inconceivable mistake to make, but Corporate Traveller’s survey results indicate this is the seventh most common mistake made by businesses that have admitted to booking errors, at 20 per cent – and comes with huge cost implications, especially if the business has booked the cheapest airline tickets that don’t allow date changes or don’t offer refunds or credit.
  1. 15 per cent of errors were bookings with incorrect people or number of people. Booking for large groups can be stressful, risking mistakes. Booking for too many or too few people, or the wrong names, can also be difficult to rectify and 15 per cent of those who have made mistakes admitted to this error. A flight or hotel may no longer have availability, or refunds might not be applicable on the type of booking made. 
  2. Overbooking, such as booking too many rooms or flight seats. While last in the ranking, overbooking was admitted by 11 per cent of travel bookers who said they have made mistakes when arranging travel in-house. If the employee making the booking has chosen the cheapest flight seat, refunds or credits might not be available. Likewise, if they have a booked rooms directly with the hotel, they might lose the deposit.

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