Business travel is not always as glamorous as you might think. Corporate Traveller General Manager Oz Desai shares how business travellers can jeopardise their trip.
Planning your business trip last minute
We get it. Sometimes you find out about a fantastic opportunity late in the game. An overseas conference you've been invited to, a potential client that you need to win over urgently, a partnership opportunity that's better dealt with in person. But, if you leave confirming meeting details too late, this can lead to a few issues.
There’s nothing worse than to realise your client has forgotten that meeting for which you just travelled 10 hours by plane. It sounds obvious, but re-confirming dates and times a few days prior can save you time and embarrassment.
The client's not always to blame, either. We've seen business travellers getting important details wrong. Imagine rocking up to an empty industry event, realising you're a whole week early (suddenly, it makes sense why your nearby accommodation was so cheap!).
Travel mix-ups happen to the best of us. One of the best ways you can avoid these headaches? Working with a dedicated travel manager who can organise every last detail for you.
Booking the cheapest flights
Ever heard the saying: you get what you pay for? It is no different with airlines.
Picture waking up at 3 am, rushing to the airport for a conference in Johannesburg, only to see 'cancelled' next to your flight code. You approach the help desk to see if you can get another flight, but the best they can do is in 5 hours’ time. By then, you'll have missed the event you paid to attend.
We always recommend customers fly with trusted airlines with which they have corporate agreements in place.
Not having a clear packing list
One of the best ways to ensure your luggage arrives with you is to fit everything in your carry-on bag. This might be a tad tricky, but it saves the frustration of watching bag after bag come out on the conveyor belt, only to realise yours didn’t arrive. Not the greatest scenario if you’ve booked a meeting straight after your flight.
Be smart about what you pack, don’t leave things to the last minute and be prepared. You don’t want to be the traveller who arrives at their destination with their phone on 2%, only to find their South African charger doesn't fit foreign power outlets.
Booking the red-eye flight without accommodation
Sometimes red-eye flights can be a great option; they're usually cheaper and less crowded. But a common mistake for corporate travellers is not booking the previous nights' accommodation when they get there.
If you land after midnight at your destination, your hotel booking needs to cover the night before you arrive, not the same day. Otherwise, you'll rock up to your hotel early morning, tired and grumpy, only to find out that you can't check-in for another 12 hours.
Not booking the right hotel
When booking a hotel for business, some travellers argue that waiting until the last minute offers a cheaper rate. While true, this strategy also comes with a lot of risks.
For instance, there's nothing worse than having to travel over an hour to get to a meeting, just because nearby accommodation was unavailable when you booked. Or worse, your only hotel option isn't in a safe neighbourhood, making the suited-up businessman a prime target.
After location, the next thing to check is those pesky T&Cs. If you're expecting free wi-fi,' it's wise to check that this extends to your hotel room and not just the lobby. Or 'late check-out' refers to a generous 10:30 am - a whole half hour later than the norm. Now you find yourself with hours to kill before your flight and nowhere to store your luggage or sleep before heading home.