Unless you work for a large organisation with their own Business Travel implant or have an account with a travel company, the chances are you either do your own travel arrangements or make use of your personal assistant or secretary.
This may work for you, but is this really an effective use of your precious time, especially if the perception that you are saving money is actually wrong?
Think about it. We at Millington Business Travel for instance, use a Global Distribution System (GDS) called Galileo – this is the same system British Airways use for making reservations, checking you in at the airport, booking your special meals and assigning your seats. We can see at a glance all flights with all airlines from, say, Heathrow to Zurich, and can then find any combination of fares, check all the rules and restrictions, and then hold space on those flights without any commitment to buy.
More. We can reschedule your flights, add or subtract hotel reservations, car hire, book airport lounges, sort out your visa requirements – all at the drop of an e-mail or phone call. While you or your secretary are still figuring out who flies where, maybe even committing to non-refundable or non-changeable flights without fully realising it, we would have it all done for you.
Are you even saving money anyway? With low cost carriers we will charge you a small booking fee, with scheduled carriers we may have our own fares that are not even available direct to the public. We can make hotel reservations on the day of arrival. Our team have an emergency hot-line so you can get us 24 hours a day if you experience a problem.
All air travel is financially protected by the requirement of your travel provider to hold an ATOL (air tour operators licence). The ATOL does not cover any independently booked travel arrangements however. So, taking a real recent example Low Cost Beds – one of the largest providers of hotel accommodation in Europe went into liquidation earlier this year. Not only were business travellers turning up at hotels with worthless hotel vouchers, the hotels were in many cases refusing to honour the rates, or in some instances has already re-sold the rooms leaving travellers literally with nowhere to sleep.
As an ATOL holder, we sorted out all of our customers problems, got them re-booked in to alternative accommodation, paid any re-booking fees, changed flight schedules where necessary. The same thing happened a few years back with the volcanic ash cloud and when there was a terrorist incident at Brussels airport.
On a business to business basis we do also consider credit terms, allowing settlement for all travel arrangements by the end of the month following travel, benefitting your cash flow.
If you are booking accommodation and flights separately, book the element that is most easy to alter first in case one has changed while you are booking the other (usually the hotel)
Make sure you have checked all the passport and visa regulations before you leave (Spain require you to have a minimum of 6 months left on your passport for example)
Make sure you have the 24 hour emergency contact number of your insurers easily accessible (in the notebook of your phone for instance)
If possible avoid travelling either to France or destinations requiring overflying France anywhere near a bank holiday (strike disruption almost guaranteed)
Do not lock any checked baggage – if they want to inspect your case they’ll break it open anyway.
Book airport lounges whenever possible if travelling in economy. They are around £20, include free snacks and beverages as well as a peaceful environment where you can concentrate and catch up on business.
Don’t think of D.I.Y travel as either a time saving or cost saving. Contact us and you’ll definitely save time, will probably save money, be fully ATOL protected, and have someone to turn to when things go wrong that will do all the troubleshooting on your behalf.
For more information call 01536 653333 or visit: www.millingtontravel.co.uk