There will always be a point in the life of a business owner when he would need to travel to ensure the growth of his company. From presenting proposals to prospective clients or partners in Japan to seeking investment opportunities and attending industry events in Europe, you must make sure that your next business trip goes smoothly.
Fortunately, careful planning and a little bit of luck can go a long way. Keep everything organized and well-planned to avoid getting stuck at the airport due to incomplete documents or losing your hotel booking reference number. Aside from preventing delays, doing so can also help you focus on what’s important.
Follow these six steps for planning a smooth-sailing business trip:
Step #1: Do Research on the Destination
Once you’ve received word confirming your trip, the first thing you must do is to research your destination. This is particularly helpful when you’re going out of town or to any other place that you’re not familiar with.
Before treading unchartered territory, be sure to check for security risks so you know what precautionary measures you can do to avoid untoward incidents.
Reading up on current events and the political situation in the area is also wise. To avoid unfounded paranoia from exaggerated reports, be sure to verify the information you gathered with the authorities via government alerts and listings of incidents in the area.
Step #2: Book Everything Ahead
When planning business travels, you’ll need to look for a place to stay. Keep in mind that if you are traveling to the UAE, for example, then booking an Abu Dhabi hotel should be done way ahead of the trip.
When choosing accommodation for your trip, be sure to check whether its location is close to the venue of the business gathering you’re attending. Don’t get swayed by luxurious hotels that are situated hours away from the venue. Remember: You will be staying there for business, not leisure.
If you’re unfamiliar with the place, measure the distances between the airport and the hotel, and see how far you need to travel from there to the business meeting venue. If you are hosting the gathering, it would be best to book it in the same place you’ll be staying in to avoid traffic and to ensure that the activities begin on schedule.
Step #3: Create an Itinerary
An itinerary will serve as the blueprint of your trip. It will help you stay on top of all your commitments while also serving as a go-to document for crucial business travel details. This includes your travel and meeting schedule, hotel and other reservations, and the people you are meeting.
When creating an itinerary, be sure to allow extra time for travel, if necessary. You should also make room for rest in between meetings and plan activities you can do while waiting in case of delays in your flight or if you get stuck in traffic. You should also include a detailed schedule for meetings, dinners, and presentations, as well as names of contact persons and hosts.
Other details your business trip itinerary can include are:
- Check-in and check-out times
- Potential weather conditions
- Travel connections
- Ideal travel times for each day
- Contact information of key organizations and individuals you will be meeting
Step #4: Make sure your Travel Documents Are Ready
The time you spend carefully researching and planning for the trip will be moot if you forget to prepare your travel documents ahead. When planning to travel abroad, you must make sure that your passport is updated and valid. You must also ensure that all the information indicated therein are consistent with what’s on your plane tickets to avoid delays.
You might also require a visa, depending on the place you are headed to. The key is to include this matter as you do research on the destination. It would also be wise to educate yourself about the countries you will be passing through during your trip.
Remember that some embassies may take several days (sometimes even weeks) to issue a visa, so be sure to deal with this matter ahead of time.
You should also keep a photo ID handy, just in case. Again, this should have the same information as your ticket and other travel documents.
Step #5: Plan Your Connectivity
Since you’ll be traveling for work, you might also need to plan for your connectivity. Aside from keeping your mobile devices connected to the Internet, you should also consider saving any file you might need in your laptop or print them out for use later. Remember to pack chargers and adapters as well so you can utilize your devices without interruption.
Step #6: Make Sure You Are Ready for the Meeting
After making your travel and accommodation arrangements, you should also think about the gathering you will be attending on your business trip. After all, a well-planned trip will only go to waste if you haven’t prepared for the very reason why you are traveling.
Take note of your goals for the trip to help you focus on them. Whether it’s to expand your network and customer base or to gain new knowledge, you must be ready.
It would also be wise to arm yourself with as much information as possible on the people you will be meeting and the places you are headed to. Find out the dress code and any equipment you might require on-site. A simple advance email should do the trick.
From choosing an Abu Dhabi airport hotel (or one in any other part of the world) to preparing for the meeting itself, following the steps in planning a business trip is crucial to its success. Remember that you have to think of everything ahead to prepare for potential hiccups along the way.