Since the onset of COVID, most corporate travel programs have focused on issues like traveler safety, navigating international restrictions, and conducting business virtually. Post-pandemic, businesses are re-evaluating policies and placing a renewed focus on the value of face-to-face meetings.
Now more than ever—as business travel bounces back to pre-pandemic levels—executive travel is included in the “mission critical” category. The key to C-suite travel success is a strong travel policy that fully addresses a wide spectrum of domestic and global considerations. Specific traveler needs and preferences along with policy inclusion are essential.
Below we have provided guidance within a few key areas to help you assess and implement efficient and comprehensive travel policies for VIPs.
Risk Management for VIP Travelers
VIP considerations extend far beyond premium amenities and exclusive service elements. While traveler experience is important, one of the most vital factors within travel policy is risk management to ensure that your executive team members stay safe.
Top situations that demand a thorough risk management policy include terrorism, areas of political unrest, cyber-attacks abroad, extreme weather conditions, and COVID outbreak areas. A prime preventative policy measure lies within planning for the worst-case scenario, such as including a stipulation that requires key executives travel on different flights. In this case, if a major incident or accident occurs, other leaders are readily available to keep the corporate engine running.
Duty of Care is also a major consideration within all levels of employee travel, especially within the executive travel realm. C-level executives have tight deadlines, intricate schedules, and provide thorough oversight and direction for all big picture elements. Missed flights, unexpected illness, lost passports, and major accidents can affect a company’s bottom-line yielding a greater need for high standards.
Direct Travel’s Chief Technology Officer, Daryl Hoover, touched on this topic in relation to human equity as part of a recent a DirectLive webinar saying, “It’s not only about being able to deliver services and help keep employees safe. We’re also improving the traveler experience and reinforcing the value that companies place on their most valuable assets—their people.”
C-suite Travelers and Policy
Business unit managers and C-suite team members have specific travel needs due to stakeholder obligations and contributions that hold quantifiable value for their company’s bottom line. Industry experts highly recommend evaluating VIP specifications and needs separately from other employees for the following reasons:
Members of leadership are primarily responsible for exploring new markets.
Managers need to be on the frontline of business negotiations and decisions; this is more effective “in-person.”
Executives are brand ambassadors at the highest level and excellent relationship managers.
To ensure VIP traveler satisfaction, travel managers can book business-class plane tickets and make exclusive hotel reservations. Companies can also include larger per diems within policy and issue corporate credit cards with specific guidelines for charges. Additionally, travel managers can foster executive travel satisfaction by expanding the preferred hotel list to include a wider variety of prestige hotels. Boutique properties cater to C-suite travelers in a myriad of ways that make conducting business easier and provide the level of sophistication needed for executives.
Another primary way to enhance executive travel is by including VIP needs and expectations within your travel policy evaluation. Crucial VIP input and feedback is important at all levels of travel policy development and implementation. Travel managers can provide due diligence by assessing upper management and C-level needs as quickly as possible. When executives have an active role in policy creation, they are more assured about the budget and can travel seamlessly.
High-Touch Service for Travel Managers
Preparing for every contingency can be a major challenge for travel managers but partnering with a Travel Management Company (TMC) can deliver access to technologies and support needed to manage executive travel with ease.
Your organization’s corporate travelers deserve responsive support 24/7, regardless of location. No matter what happens, our advisors are ready to help. Our expert staff can manage everything from flight booking to last-minute updates to a global itinerary. We understand that timing is everything in business and that’s why we make sure your VIP travelers never have to wait for assistance.
Booking executive travel requires in-depth industry knowledge and expertise as well as dedication to personalized service. To learn how to optimize C-suite travel at your organization, speak with a Direct Travel advisor today.