In Chinese culture, eight is considered to be the luckiest number. Number eight is pronounced 'Ba' in Chinese and contains meanings of prosperity, success and high social status. So using this as our inspiration, we have compiled a list of eight tips for travel smarter in 2018!
If you travel a few times a year or more regularly for work make every trip as successful and valuable as possible by following our guidelines below for academic travellers.
This advice is relevant to individual travellers and also to travel program managers who are looking for advice on what is best practice for academic travel programs.
Adopting these simple behavioural changes will help to keep you safe, easily contactable and importantly, secure you the best rates for your travel or your organisation's travellers.
1. Tap into academic industry rates
This one might sound like basic knowledge, but if you’re new to the academic sector or an academic organisation, familiarise yourself with what industry discounts are available for your airfares, as well as transport and hotel rates. These are unique to the academic sector. WHY? As a traveller you'll save signficantly on international airfares, car hire, hotel rates and if you're a PhD student - you'll have access to cheap student fares!
2. Use preferred suppliers
Travellers should also make themselves aware of who their academic organisation’s preferred travel provider is and if there are preferred hotel and airline suppliers to book through. WHY? Again it's all about the savings. Your university will have negotiated special deals for airfares to common international routes, have access to discounted hotel rates (through your travel provider) and items such as airline lounge access (through your travel porvider).
3. Book through the preferred channels
If your academic organisation uses a preferred travel provider, ensure you always book your travel through their consultants or their online booking tool. This means your travel is recorded in a central reservation database, you’ll have someone to call for support 24/7 globally if you run into trouble and if you need to make changes it’s always easier with a travel provider than an external website or call centre. WHY? It's much safer and easier if you are delayed and need urgent help. You'll have a direct number to call and deal with someone that is familiar with your organisation's policy.
4. Make your travel mobile
Ensure your travel provider offers your travellers a mobile app. This means your travellers can store and view their upcoming itineraries anytime any place from their phones! WHY? Academic road warriors need access to all their travel details on the run. This is where an app comes in handy! Not sure what to pack? Use the app for weather forecasts at your destination.
5. Consolidation is king
By working with a single travel management company (TMC) or travel provider (rather than a panel of agencies or different travel companies), your academic organisation can benefit from a one-stop-shop approach that makes the booking process easy for your travellers, delivers process efficiencies, cost savings and more visibility of your travel activity and spend. WHY? Your travellers have one point of contact for all things travel and your university can more effectively work towards a best-practice program.
6. Ensure you’re using the latest online booking technology!
The new generation of online booking tools demonstrate what ‘machine learning’ is all about. Intuitive and full of handy prompts the next generation of online booking tools remember your last few bookings which makes it quick and easy to re-book hotels, flights or other travel requirements. WHY? Different online booking tools provide a different experience for everyone in the travel chain. A good online tool like Campus Travel's ZENO tool - soon to be introduced, makes booking travel much faster and easier than other tools in the market.
7. Ask your travel provider about FBT compliance tools
Staying abreast of the constantly changing Fringe Benefits Tax compliance laws can be a challenge. So let your travel provider help you with easy online tools that automate FBT management, streamlining the process for travellers and their employers! WHY? Because FBT is a tax paid by employers (not employees) the Australian Tax office may audit your university for discrepancies. With many academic travellers adding personal leave to their work trips - this aspect of business travel is closely monitored.
8. Be an earlybird
One of the easiest ways to stretch your travel grant or faculty budget further is to purchase your airfares in advance. Particularly when it comes to international trips. Often earlybird fares for Europe and the USA will be advertised 10 to 12 months out from the travel period. WHY? Analysis by Campus Travel indicated savings of more than 70% on domestic airfares when booking 21 days or more in advance.
If you’d like to find out what is considered 'best practice' for your faculty, department or organisation - please contact Campus Travel to talk to an industry specialist.