It may be the holiday season but business travel never stops. Living on the road is not easy especially during the holiday season as all the focus is on holiday travelers. The influx of people into the airports ups the ante when it comes to making the right booking, at the right time for the best possible price.
This is perhaps more the case for the “Do-It-Yourself” business traveler as they deal with all the related issues themselves. You can avoid all the holiday travel stress and optimise your travel plans by asking your corporate travel agent for assistance as they will do all the work so you can focus on your business.
We’ve compiled a short list of business travel tips for the holidays to ensure a successful and seamless travel experience.
Fortunately traveling within South Africa sees very few layovers in comparison but it can be a real problem for a few international destinations. Flying direct can avoid unnecessary delays especially involving places with inclement weather conditions. Last year, bad weather accounted for 33% percent of flight delays in the United States alone (BTS) and the current snow and ice is seriously disrupting travel in the UK.
We may not have the same unpredictable and severe weather as other parts of the world but there are some challenges. The recent storm in Durban, for example, did result in some delays at King Shaka International Airport. Lighting storms in Johannesburg, heavy crosswinds in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth are also factors to take into account when planning your business trip.
If you know you need to travel for work and there are confirmed reports of bad weather, try to avoid flying altogether. Unless the client needs to see you in person, perhaps you could arrange a video meeting via Skype instead.
Airlines often up the airfares for Friday and Sunday flights as these are the most likely days leisure travelers and holiday-makers are going to travel. The number of travelers also increases on a Friday as business travelers rush home for the weekend making this a particularly expensive day.
According to some reports, Monday is the cheapest day to fly but Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are generally among the better options. You could swap a late Friday flight for an early Saturday flight and come back Monday morning so you can take advantage of off-peak pricing to some extent.
Holiday fever spreads everywhere with busier roads busier and parking can turn out to be a nightmare. Airport parking lots are certainly not an exception. Instead of driving yourself and struggling to find an open bay, consider using a taxi service like Uber or ask a friend or colleague to drop you off.
Airport lounges don’t always require a business class ticket or elite flyer status. In fact, in some cases you can pay an annual membership fee or gain access to VIP lounges at selected airports through an affiliation with specific financial institutions. It certainly is worth your while as lounges provide a relaxing environment away from all the regular holiday-makers, access to Wi-Fi, complimentary snacks, drinks and charging stations. Not to mention meeting like-minded business travelers such as yourself.
This is something you need to do on your own and comes with experience but we’ll let you in on a little secret. As a business travel, it’s mostly better to travel with less luggage using one versatile suitcase or roller bag. Use it as your hand luggage and maximise the limited storage regardless of your trip duration. This way you avoid packing unnecessary items and you don’t have to stand in the long lines to check-in your luggage.
On the other hand, if you are lugging around products or business equipment, consider shipping them ahead of time especially if you have a connecting flight. If your business trip ends up longer than expected, simply take advantage of the hotel laundry service.
Getting bumped is never a good experience especially if you have time-sensitive meetings to attend. Last-minute bookings are most at risk but there are a few things you can do to lower the odds especially when booking international flights.
You don’t need to face any of this on your own as your corporate travel agent will be able to find the best travel solution regardless of weather conditions, flight delays or the unending holiday queues. Being prepared is key to successful business travel especially over the busy holiday season and we understand the importance of getting it right.
With more than 20 years’ in corporate travel, we provide all of our clients with financially efficient and stress-free total travel solutions. If preparation isn’t your strong suit, consider booking your business trip through TravelManor where our experienced corporate travel consultants will gladly assist.