You can make travel arrangements that are cheaper and better for your boss if you pay attention to a few details. Check your efforts to achieve the best results for travelers in these three categories:
• Don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Check your employer's policies regarding preferred vendors. An individual flight may be cheaper with one airline, but your organization may have a deal with another that depends on a certain volume of trips.
• Understand the trip's purpose so you can balance your decisions. If your traveler is meeting with a single client, staying at a less-expensive hotel a bit farther away won't matter. But if he or she is attending a conference, book a room close to that action to make networking easier. Tip: If the conference block of rooms is sold out, check back shortly before the travel date for any cancellations.
• Don't fear asking hotels for a particular room location, whether that's an ocean view or away from elevators to reduce the noise levels. If your travelers will be staying at one place frequently or for more than five days, request a price break or room upgrade if space is available.
• Weigh the value of "extras." At about $10 a day, a navigation service in a rental car could be a bargain. If a hotel says it offers free high-speed Internet access, check whether that's in each guest room or just its business center.
• Ask the traveler which services matter most. Example: Some high-end hotels now offer a "technology concierge" or "e-butler" to help guests with computer problems, and even some moderately priced hotels have staff members trained to help with basic problems.
• Check your flight options first, then schedule the appointment when you can take advantage of the lowest fares.
• Include "down time" in your traveler's schedule for recovering from jet lag, sleep, relaxation and exercise to avoid burnout.