16 Steps for a Successful Business Trip

business trip

So, a member of your team—or perhaps your entire tech team—is heading on a business trip. Whether they’re heading off to work from a new location for a while, are joining the larger company for a conference, or something else, there’s a lot you’ll need to know to ensure a smooth trip—turbulence is often unplanned. 

However, with the right tools and processes in place, you’ll be as ready as you can be for this business trip. What’s more, you’re in the right place. Treat this article as your go-to checklist for everything you need to keep in mind before, during, and after the business trip. 

Buckle up, we’re about to take off. 

Your go-to business trip checklist

This checklist has been put together in order to ensure you don’t miss a beat. Bookmark the page, send it to your team, lean on it as a valuable travel resource that you can use time and time again. Let’s go. 

Pre-trip: things to keep in mind when planning

  • Bag a travel management company 

From the get-go, you’ll want to invest in a travel management company. Why? They’ve done this before, they know what they’re doing and they’ll make your experience that much smoother. 

Whether it’s helping you reclaim VAT after the trip, ensuring employees book within policy, or providing on-the-go support for those last-minute surprises, a travel management company is an absolute must to ensure your business trip is as smooth as possible. 

  • Get your calendars aligned 

Before you or your team make any more plans, you’ll need to ensure the trip lines up with everyone’s calendars. Think about the people you’re traveling to meet as well as those you’re leaving behind. What is a bigger priority? 

  • Book your flights first 

Next up, get on booking those flights as early as possible. More often than not, they’re the most expensive part of your flight, and the ones you’ll benefit from the most by booking early. 

If you’re using a travel management company then this step will definitely be less of a worry as they tend to have long-standing booking relationships and can aggregate a lot of the popular booking platforms within their app. 

  • Book your connecting parts 

After your flights are in the bag, you’ll want to turn to everything in between. This means airport connections, rail or bus tickets you may need, as well as that all-important hotel. You’ll want to pick a hotel that’s within budget, but also gives your traveling employee the experience they deserve, while making their commute in this new location more manageable. Yep, there are a lot of moving parts. 

  • Grab insurance 

Once you’ve got all of your moving parts in line, we’d highly recommend you look at insurance options. If there’s anything the last few years have taught our world it’s to expect the unexpected, and that needs to be reflected in your insurance policies. 

A few insurance types to consider are: 

  • Employer liability insurance
  • Personal goods insurance: phones, laptops, wallets, etc 
  • Travel insurance: to protect your traveling employee against cancellations, delays, lost luggage, and injuries
  • Research your destination 

Great. That’s a lot of the heavy-lifting out of the way. Now it’s time to research your destination. A few things to keep in mind for research are:

  • Language 
  • Currency 
  • Cultural norms 
  • Cultural no-nos 
  • Transport 
  • Food
  • Drinking water 
  • Tipping culture 
  • Emergency lines 
  • Weather 
  • Crime 
  • Walkability 

Ensure your traveling tech teams put together a day-to-day itinerary. That’s not to say they need to be working all of the time, make sure they book their free time into this plan as well! There’s a high chance your traveling employee doesn’t have that much time at the location so it’s important they plan accordingly to maximize their stay. 

Remember: Anything back-to-back never helped anybody. Give your employee room to rest, and room for things to go wrong or fall behind schedule. 

During the trip: things to keep in mind

  • Keep an eye on warnings

A lot can go wrong in new locations, and if your employee isn’t in the know, it could spell disaster for them. Most travel management companies come with some kind of app that will alert your employees of things like natural weather disasters, public unrest, or COVID crises changes

However, if you’re not using a travel app, then make sure your team knows their go-to resources for this sort of information, and have customer support lines to help with any unplanned bumps along the way. 

  • Use the language

You don’t have to be perfect at the local language. However, learning a few phrases and expressions along the way will definitely help your employees get around. 

Even if the locals can’t really understand what they’re saying, it’s the thought that counts! Language apps are a great free option to pick up some of the basics while your employees are traveling to their destination. 

  • Book some free time 

Work hard, play a little. It’s all well and good that your team is willing to travel for their work. However, if they don’t feel like they’re rewarded for going out of their way, then they won’t be traveling for your business again. 

Ensure your team has some time off scheduled for their trip, perhaps they even want to bookend it with some holidays? Find a way that you can say thanks during this free time, perhaps it’s a meal, perhaps it’s an extra night’s stay in their accommodation, or a complimentary spa visit. Say thanks! 

  • Keep your receipts 

This is a big one for reclaiming expenses and reclaiming VAT if your employees aren’t using a company card. If you want to maximize your business travel spend then keeping your receipts is an absolute must. 

At the same time, this depends on how you’re managing your employee’s travel budget. Do they have a miscellaneous travel allowance from your company to spend? Or, do they need to claim back everything at the end of the trip? 

  • Keep up commas 

Lastly, it can be tough for teams that are typically in the office to go remote for the first time, especially working across time zones. It’s important that your traveling team members keep up communications throughout the trip with regular asynchronous check-ins. It will put everyone’s mind at ease.  

Post-trip: everything to welcome employees home

  1. Reclaim expenses 

Ensure you’ve got a streamlined process for your employees in place for them to be able to reclaim their expenses. You’ll also want to manage expectations on this if they’ve been paying for everything out of their own pocket–tell them exactly when they can expect to see their hard-earned cash returned. 

It’s also well worth checking with your finance team the exact type of receipts they need in order to do their job and make this clear with your travelers. 

  • Keep track of VAT 

Your business could be saving up to 20% on travel if they’re reclaiming VAT the right way. This VAT refund calculator can give you a better idea of how much you could be saving per financial year. VAT is not something to play around with if you’ve got a travel program that’s growing fast. 

  • Debrief with the team

It’s a good idea to host a debrief with the team. It’s a chance for your travelers to offload their learnings to the rest of the team. But, it’s also a chance for the team that didn’t travel to update the traveler on anything they missed, and help them prioritize their work upon return.

It can be overwhelming coming back to a full inbox, so a catch-up meeting like this makes coming back to the office a lot smoother. 

  • Feedback to travel managers 

Last, but not least, there’s always plenty of room for feedback on any business trip. What did the employee enjoy and what didn’t they enjoy? What can be done better? What learnings would they like to share with you or your travel manager? 

It’s best for employees to share this kind of feedback via an online survey, so you can accumulate your data better, spot trends, and quantify responses. 

Wrapping it up and shipping it off

That’s everything you need to pack for a successful business trip. Hopefully, you’ve found this article useful. Feel free to bookmark this page and come back to it as often as you like. More so, if you think anything has been missed then reach out! Aside from that, what’s the only thing left for your IT team to do? Smile and say: “Hello, world.