Checklist: For the Travel Arranger
By Jennifer Puckett
One of the many hats an executive assistant (EA) is required to wear is one of a travel arranger. In this role, you spend a lot of time planning, booking, and managing your executive’s travel, but keeping this checklist on hand will ensure every booking experience is a success.
BEFORE BOOKING A TRIP
- PERSONAL INFORMATION – Make a photocopy of your executive’s driver’s licence, passport, travel visas and cards, and corporate credit cards. Also document dietary restrictions, an emergency contact, and loyalty program membership numbers. Keep all photocopies and personal information secure.
- PREFERENCES – Note your executive’s travel preferences, as well as the preferred method of communication while travelling.
- TRAVEL CONTACTS – Keep on hand all contact information (including after hour numbers) for your internal travel department, corporate travel agencies, and for all preferred hotels, airlines, and ground transportation companies.
- CORPORATE POLICY – Familiarize yourself with your company’s corporate policy.
WHEN PLANNING A TRIP
- TRAVEL ADVISORY – Check if there are travel advisories for the intended destination and, if so, alert your executive.
- ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS – If travelling to a different country, review the entry requirements and confirm that your executive has the correct documentation. Also, advise your executive if a departure tax is enforced.
- TIME DIFFERENCE – Is your executive travelling to a different time zone? If so, record the time difference and consider it when scheduling all aspects of the trip.
- TRAVEL OPTIONS – Determine all necessary air, water, and ground transportation, including: airplane, helicopter, bus, train, ferry, taxi, limo, and rental car.
- BAGGAGE – Will the trip require your executive to travel with special items and/or equipment? If so, check the baggage policies for the intended method(s) of transportation.
- ACCOMMODATION – If available, choose a property from your company’s list of preferred hotels or one that offers a discounted corporate or conference rate. In addition to finding the best rate, also consider the hotel’s location, amenities, cancellation policy, and whether a deposit is required.
- CORPORATE POLICY – Ensure the intended method(s) of travel, level of fares, and accommodation are compliant with your corporate policy.
- INTERNAL APPROVAL – Obtain internal approval, if required.
- TRIP COLLABORATION – Are there other executives required on the same trip? If so, work with their EAs to synchronize travel arrangements.
AFTER BOOKING A TRIP
- CONFIRMATIONS – Ensure you receive ticket numbers and confirmations for all bookings.
- RUN THROUGH ALL DETAILS – Walk yourself through the trip to ensure there aren’t any mistakes or missing details.
- UPDATE CALENDAR – Note as much information about the trip in your executive’s calendar, but clearly and cleanly.
- ANTICIPATE ISSUES – Prepare yourself for changes. Record all cancellation policies, alternative airports and airlines, and the locations of the nearest train station and car rental office. If travelling outside of Canada, also note the country’s emergency services number and the contact information for the nearest Canadian embassy/consulate.
PRIOR TO DEPARTURE
- UPDATE CALENDAR – Keep your executive’s calendar up-to-date with any travel changes.
- CASH – Remind your executive to withdraw (or, if you have access to your executive’s bank account, ask for permission to withdraw) local currency to have cash-on-hand while travelling.
- PHONE PLAN – If travelling outside of the country, make sure your executive’s phone is set-up with an international calling and data plan.
- INSURANCE – Is business travel insurance and car rental insurance covered by your company? If not, arrange all required insurance for your executive’s trip.
24 HOURS BEFORE DEPARTURE
- RE-CONFIRM ALL DETAILS – Review the full itinerary to ensure accuracy and re-confirm all details.
- CHECK-IN – Check-in online for your executive’s flight and either print the boarding pass or have it sent electronically.
- NOTIFICATIONS – Sign-up to receive all flight notifications.
- MAPS – Provide your executive with printed maps and directions for any unfamiliar routes.
- RENTAL CAR – If your executive is renting a car, include a map and directions indicating the last gas station to fill-up at before dropping off the vehicle.
- TRAVEL DOCUMENTS – Provide your executive with printed copies of the full itinerary, tickets, confirmations, maps, on-site contact numbers, and insurance policy details.
WHILE YOUR EXECUTIVE IS TRAVELLING
- ALERTS – Keep an eye on local weather, news, and airport alerts in case issues arise that could potentially disrupt travel.
- ADDITIONAL FLIGHTS – Check-in your executive up to 24 hours in advance of all flights.
- LIMOS – For limo transfers throughout the trip, always send a reminder to the company the day before the scheduled service.
WHEN YOUR EXECUTIVE RETURNS
- RECEIPTS – Collect all receipts to assist with expenses.
- MATERIAL – Review all printed documents that returned with your executive to either file, forward, or shred.
- TAKEAWAYS – Ask your executive if there are any takeaways from the trip.
Checklists are key to ensure consistent and successful execution of tasks as you continue to show your VALUE and earn the RECOGNITION and RESPECT you deserve.