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Travel Best Practices Part 2: Creating End-To-End Itineraries

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Planning and booking travel can often feel overwhelming, with hurdles every step of the way. However, there are basic checklists and templates that you can use to leap towards travel planning success. Traveler profiles helped you conquer the first hurdle in booking and planning for your travelers. Now, it’s time to book for your travelers and provide them with end-to-end itineraries.

Research Available Options

Save time researching flights, hotels, and rental cars by gathering all of your traveler’s trip information. Travelers are often all over the place when sharing trip information. Some admins receive trip requests in emails, some in person, and some in chats. This can be extremely hard to manage and often leads to multiple follow up emails. Instead, you can use tools like Google Forms, JotForm, or Type Form to do this. Just like with gathering traveler information, these tools are perfect because they are mobile friendly, easily editable, and notify you any time a traveler submits a trip request. When you create these forms, be sure to include fields for:

  • Traveler Names and Emails
  • Trip Name or Project ID
  • Scheduled Event Information. Be sure to ask for address, date, and time.
  • Requested flight dates
  • Preferred airlines, hotels, and ground transportation.

This form can be edited to include fields that are specific to your company. Many of the admins that we have spoken with have said they include fields for things like cash advance requests, client numbers, and supervisor approvals.

As soon as you get this information from your traveler, you’re nearly over the hurdle. Combine your traveler’s trip requests with their preferences to narrow down the thousands of options to only a couple that truly work for them.

Sending for Approval

Before you finalize your traveler’s bookings, you must get your itinerary approved. This is probably one of the most frustrating hurdles because it is one that relies almost exclusively on your traveler. Admins can spend days waiting for traveler feedback and often this feedback comes in the form of questions like “What are my earlier options?” or “What if I want to fly on Delta?”. To respond to these follow up questions, admins typically have to rerun all of their searches, refilter all of the results, and send additional options based on these traveler requests.

A lot of this back and forth can be avoided by anticipating your traveler’s questions. Make a note of what they typically ask and start curating a list of options that will answer their questions before they even have to ask. Format your suggestions using a template like the one below with columns for company, details, price, and notes. This makes it easy for your traveler to compare all of their options and respond with their preferred choice.

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Finalizing Bookings

Once your trip has been approved, you’re ready to finalize your traveler’s bookings. This hurdle should be a cinch with a properly completed traveler profile. Use your traveler’s profile to make sure you have everything off the following checklist completed.

  • Loyalty programs for airlines, hotels, and rental cars
  • Preferred seat: Aisle, window, front or back of plane, exit row, bulkhead seat, etc
  • TSA Precheck or Known Traveler Number
  • Preferred room type: king, queen, full, twin, etc.
  • Preferred car type: manual vs automatic, economy vs compact, etc.

Last, but certainly not least, double check everything!

Creating End-to-End Itineraries

Itinerary creation is a painstaking and meticulous task. You have to include all necessary information and any additional details. Whenever you create your traveler’s itinerary, your goal is to make sure you provide them with all of their information, from the moment they walk out the door to the moment they return.

Start with a basic template that has 4 columns: date and time, location, details, and notes. Then list everything in your traveler’s upcoming trip in chronological order. Depending on the item, the critical information you need to provide will vary. You can see a quick example of an itinerary template below.

Flights

  • Date and Time
  • Location: Airport, Airline, and Flight Number
  • Details: Confirmation Number(s)
  • Notes: Terminal Number

Hotel

  • Check In and Checkout Dates
  • Location: Hotel Name and Address. If they are going to be traveling internationally, provide the address both in your traveler’s native language and the local language.
  • Details: Confirmation Numbers
  • Notes: Contact Information for the hotel

Ground Details

  • Pick Up and Dropoff Date and Times
  • Location: Start and end locations
  • Details: Confirmation Numbers (if applicable) or Expected Traffic Times
  • Notes: Contact information (if applicable)

Event Details

  • Event/Meeting Date and Time
  • Location: Name and address of meeting
  • Details: Link to presentations
  • Notes: Contact information for local admin

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About TRAVO

TRAVO makes creating end-to-end itineraries easy. Easily manage incoming trip requests with TRAVO’s trip manager. Admins can share forms with travelers, assign trip planning admins, create linked itineraries, and view trip statuses from one central location. While you are creating a trip, your traveler’s preferences are automatically applied to results. In addition to this, you can suggest additional options directly from the results the page to send to your traveler for approval. Saving you from having to take screenshots, manually type out information, and redoing searches. When you book, your traveler’s information and loyalty numbers are pre-filled on the checkout page, preventing any mistakes. Last, itineraries are generated as you search making it easier than ever to provide your traveler with all of their trip information. Every TRAVO itinerary can also be shared as a Word Document, Outlook Calendar file, and as a mobile friendly itinerary. TRAVO could not be where it is today without the support from organizations like ASAP and we want to thank the community in any way possible. Sign up for your free TRAVO account to start creating profiles and planning your next trip!

About the Author:Tae Lee is the CEO and founder of TRAVO, the trip planning and booking tool for administrative professionals. Prior to founding TRAVO, Tae served as executive vice president of Operations and Technology at the leading video advertising technology firm, ZEFR.

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