Coordinating travel arrangements is harder than it sounds. The details have to line up and the entire trip must develop without any hiccups. It's your job to make it as seamless as possible. Luckily, we welcome the opportunity to assist you. Here are twelve tips for coordinating travel like the administrative professional you are.
1. Determine whether the Executive prefers one airline over another.
2. Are they a cloud-gazer or a leg-stretcher? Window/aisle seat assignment can make or break anyone’s mood on a flight.
3. Always include a frequent flyer number, or create one whenever possible. Keep this information handy—everyone loves freebies.
4. Are there any dietary restrictions to consider like gluten-free or kosher? Ensure all special meal requests to the airline are made at the time of booking.
5. Whenever possible, pay checked baggage fees ahead of time.
6. For some, a Super 8 will do just fine, but others strongly prefer more glamorous hotel chains such as the Ritz-Carlton or the Hyatt—don't forget to check for or establish a rewards number for hotels, too! Sometimes the perks from being a Preferred Guest are even more valuable than airline miles (we know several Executives who agree).
7. Think about routines and rituals the Executives have. If your boss is a gym rat, consider lodging with access to a fitness facility.
8. Make breakfast, lunch, and dinner reservations in advance, and be sure to ask your Executive about their preferences (steak, fish, Mediterranean, Indian, etc).
9. Create an itinerary that includes flight departure and landing times, car rental confirmation numbers or airport shuttle pick-up locations, hotel check-in times, meetings and locations, restaurant reservations, etc. The itinerary should be a detailed, step-by-step tracker that keeps them on time, and reminds you of their whereabouts at any given moment. Don’t forget to include relevant maps and directions.
10. Don’t forget about time zones! If your boss is travelling to a different time zone, include the time at the office as well as the time at their location. This will ensure you don’t disturb them while they're with a client, and enable you to get them where they need to be in a timely fashion. For example: Meeting with Sam Jones at ABC Meeting Point at 3:00 PM EST/ 12:00 PM PDT to discuss Technology Services.
11. Make yourself available and check in frequently. Unless the Executive you support has a travelling administrator, it’s important to make yourself available to assist while s/he’s en route. A quick phone call to ensure they have arrived at the airport is a great way to anticipate needs. If they are running behind due to traffic, or their flight is delayed, you will be able to make the necessary changes to their itinerary without disrupting their flow.
12. Confirm everything the day before. Yes, you received a confirmation email from the airline. Yes, you paid the checked baggage fee when you made the flight reservation. Yes, you called the restaurant and made a reservation for 3 people on Saturday night at 8:00PM and let them know about that very important client with the nut allergy. Call everyone again. I’ve never heard of an admin losing their job for double checking.