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  • feedwordpress 16:52:37 on 2017/06/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Travel   

    Emotional Intelligence Meets Travel Planning 

    travel_planning

    What do emotional intelligence and travel planning have in common? Plenty. I have been traveling extensively for business (and a little pleasure) for 3 straight months. To be honest, it is wearing on me. Several of my trips involved being gone for 5 days; only to come home for 3 or 4 days and leave again for a week. I have been a business traveler for 27 years.

    While the typical person thinks traveling is glamorous, the business traveler has a different perspective. Often business travelers put in very long days. They may not pack until late at night before their departure the next morning. Then they wake up early to get to the airport in plenty of time to wade through security lines. The traveler then sits and waits until boarding time. Sometimes boarding times are delayed—even by hours. Then the traveler gets to sit on an airplane for hours before finally arriving at their destination.

    The busy executive traveler may get to the hotel quickly or not. Hotel check-in is next which usually goes pretty fast but maybe not because a group of conventioneers is checking in. This is followed by dinner and then working on emails and getting ready for the next day’s meetings, or in my case, teaching full-day workshops to 25 attendees. If the executive is dedicated, they will squeeze in their time at the gym. And I must not forget, their time to call their family or significant other or ailing parent.

    If you are an assistant reading this Monday Motivator, you know the story. But what you may not realize is the importance of your role in doing the best job possible to ease your executive’s travel experience. While planning the logistics is critically important, the only way you will be a Rock Star in your executive’s eyes is to use emotional intelligence.

    That means you will walk yourself through the trip as if you were the traveler but through the eyes of an executive who already has 100 things on their mind. One quick example of using emotional intelligence is reminding your executive to have plenty of single dollar bills on hand before they leave for their trip. These dollar bills come in quite handy for tips! I hate it if I don’t have any single dollar bills because I don’t want to tip the skycap $5 for 1 bag and I don’t like having to ask the skycap for change. This may seem minute to you, but not to your traveler. Be a Rock Star!!

    I remember when I was an assistant, I had one executive who had to know the configuration of the plane and see the chart of seats. Now, this was in the day when we did not have the tools we have today. I had to call the travel agent or airline to get a picture of the configuration of the plane. I couldn’t figure out why it was such a big deal. Well now that I’m a traveler, I get it. Fortunately, I can easily see the configuration of a plane and also discuss my preferences with Melia (my assistant).

    Another way an administrative assistant can be a Rock Star is to create a list of all the important items your executive should pack. Yes, you! Again, make traveling easy for your traveler. They have enough things on their mind. This list would include everything from chargers to rain coats, workout clothes (in detail), to toiletries (in detail) and special medications. I have a list like this that is on every itinerary my assistant creates. I always go through the list just before I close up my bag to ensure I have everything. While you might think a person who travels all the time would have this down pat, don’t assume so. It’s actually the opposite. Because I travel all the time, it is easy to forget that one little item and then it creates issues for me or consumes time for me when I get to my destination. I don’t need any extra work or stress when I am traveling for business.

    Another area you can apply emotional intelligence is if you arrange travel for a female executive. The greatest concern for female travelers is safety. So think through their trip. Are there nice restaurants in walking distance? Is there a full-service restaurant in the hotel so when they arrive late from their flight, they can just stay at the hotel to eat? Is there a nice spa close by so your busy female traveler (who is probably a wife or mother), can treat herself to a spa treatment?

    I am just touching the tip of the iceberg on this subject. What this boils down to is:

    1. Be empathetic of your traveler, even if you only arrange a few trips a year. Also, this information would apply to your own trips or family trips.
    2. Know your traveler’s preferences inside and out! Example…. I will not use Uber or Lyft. Yes, thousands of people use them even several of my females friends use them. For me, these services are not regulated enough nor monitored like a town car service. Personally, when I travel by myself, I will not use those services. I am happy to pay extra money to feel safe.
    3. After every business trip, you should hold a debrief meeting with your executive. Discuss what your executive liked and what did not work. When I return from a trip, I will tell my assistant what I liked about the hotel and whether I would stay there again if I am to return to that city in the future. I will discuss specifics of that hotel and we make notes of things I liked or did not like. If I don’t go back to that city for a year, I will not remember every little detail. I even document which restaurants I liked and why I liked them. I don’t want to have to think about these things every time I go to that city!
    4. Don’t just let your executive say, “The trip was fine.” If you use emotional intelligence, you want to know exactly what worked so you can duplicate it. And not duplicate what upset your executive. Executives are funny people in that they won’t talk to their assistant about the little nuances but when they hire me for coaching or training, they tell me every little minute detail that frustrates them that their assistant does when coordinating their travel. So take the time to be an investigator and ask the right questions.
    5. One assistant I had, used to surprise me with little post-it notes in my trainer toolkit or file folder that I would see upon my arrival or the first day of training. She would write a short hello note and wish me a great day or trip. I loved that she took the time to add that extra touch and it made me feel closer to home.

    I would like to challenge you to think about where else you can apply emotional intelligence when coordinating your executive’s travel. Dig deep and see how you can be a Rock Star Travel Planner!

    Joan Burge

    P.S. If you currently don’t book any travel, still keep my words of advice. Your situation can change at any time.

    Join TRAVO and Joan Burge for more tips and tricks on travel planning by signing up for our free webinar. You can learn more about TRAVO by clicking the banner below.

    Travel_Planning_App

    The post Emotional Intelligence Meets Travel Planning appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 17:00:16 on 2017/04/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Travel   

    Tips for the Traveling Administrative Professional 

    travel_tips_for_assistantsAdministrative professionals are the superheroes of travel planning. Admins use their telepathy to know what brands their travelers prefer, time travel to get days of work done in mere hours, and teleportation to support their travelers, even when they are halfway around the world.

    Their only kryptonite? Themselves. Admins spend their days prioritizing other’s needs and often forget to think of themselves. Then, when it’s finally time to take a day off and relax, or travel for business, they’re starting from scratch and the planning process suddenly feels more stressful than ever! The checklist below is split up into different sections of the trip: booking, planning, packing, and flying! Use the checklist to help organize your travel planning superpowers so you can feel the joy of a stress free trip.

    Calling all admins: celebrate admin day and treat yourself!

    Booking Your Trip

    Booking your trip is probably the most stressful part of the planning process. By taking these steps, you will be able to find the best options within your budget so you can travel in style.

    • Create Your Traveler Profile: In your traveler profile, add your preferred airlines, hotel chains, and rental car companies. If you haven’t had a chance to do a lot of traveling, use your travelers as a reference point. Recall the countless horror stories of delayed flights or sub-par service to your advantage and craft your own “no-fly” list.
    • Know Your Budget: Before you start creating your itinerary, check to see what your budget is. There is nothing more frustrating, as you know, than going through the entire itinerary creation process only to find out that there was a pricing limitation and having to restart.
    • Search for Loyalty Programs: Most admins know their traveler’s date of birth, phone number, address, and loyalty programs by heart but couldn’t even guess a digit in their own loyalty programs. Search for your loyalty program before you book. If you haven’t signed up for a program yet, sign up for one now! They’re totally free and as you start to travel more often, you’ll be able to collect more points and get perks, including free nights at a hotel!
    • Book Hotels Direct: Most hotels don’t allow you to collect points through online travel agencies and websites. These sites can be a little tricky because they say you can earn points. However, these points can only be applied to their website and you miss out on collecting points through your hotel’s loyalty program. Also, you are more likely to get a better room and have more leeway for upgrades.

    Create an Itinerary

    It’s easy to fill an itinerary with meetings and events, but don’t forget to schedule some fun for yourself! Even if you are going to be traveling for a conference, look for an open window where you’ll be able to get out of the hotel and do a little sightseeing.

    • Add Meetings and Events: If you’re traveling for business, start your itinerary by adding your meetings and events. This helps you visualize your free time.
    • Use Social Media: Reach out to the incredible network of admins just waiting to help you! Post on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to see if people have tips for sights and restaurants in your destination. And as a bonus you can see if anyone will be in town at the same time for you to schedule an in-person meet up!
    • Reserve on Open Table: Start making reservations through Open Table if you don’t already. Every time you make a reservation for a traveler, you get to collect Open Table points from the comfort of your office. Then, check to see if there are restaurants in your destination where you can redeem your points and treat yourself to an extravagant meal!

    Packing Your Bags

    Before you leave, there are a couple things that you should always throw in your bag.

    • Cardigan: This is number one thing to pack when going on a trip, especially if it is going to be for a conference. If you’re deciding between your favorite pair of shoes or an extra cardigan, always go for the cardigan. Hotels are notorious for keeping their meeting rooms cold and you’ll regret not coming prepared with an extra sweater.
    • Battery Pack: You’ll most likely be out of your room all day and traveling in a new place can be very tough on your phone’s battery. Using your phone’s GPS, searching for things to do, and taking countless selfies can drain your phone faster than you thought possible. Invest in a small battery pack that will keep you going all day. You can find plenty of options that will fit in your bag and are so light you won’t even notice it.
    • Dryer Sheets: This might seem like an odd item to bring on its own, but they can be a total life saver. Pack a couple dryer sheets in with your clothes. These can prevent wrinkles from forming in your suitcase, and your clothes come out smelling laundry fresh rather than like a stale airplane!
    • Tylenol: Always bring a Tylenol or your painkiller of choice. It is very easy to become dehydrated when traveling and that leads to painful and pounding headaches. Before you get on the plane, take a Tylenol and drink plenty of water so you can hit the ground running rather than searching for a convenience store.
    • Basics: And of course, don’t forget the basic. Shirts, pants, business clothes (when appropriate), socks, underwear, pajamas, sunglasses, shoes, and swimsuit.

    In the Air and On the Road

    Traveling can be unpredictable. No matter how much you prepare and plan, there are always going to be snags along the way. Use these tips to help maneuver around these twists and even get a couple extra perks along the way.

    • Befriend the Concierge and Front Desk People: They are like the hotel admins. Not only will they be able to give you some amazing recommendations for restaurants and activities, they will also be able to make sure you are better taken care of than any of the other guests.
    • Schedule Changes or Delays: Dealing with a delayed or canceled flight is something every admin has done for another traveler. But being in the chaos of the airport while it is happening can be a totally different beast. As soon as you know your flight is going to be canceled or delayed, hop in line. Then while you’re waiting in line, call the airline directly so you can see which line will move faster.
    • Don’t Be Afraid To Complain: Remember! This trip is all about you. Admins rarely get to have a selfish moment. Make the most out of your trip away from the office. If something doesn’t feel 100% right, chances are it is an easy fix and if it isn’t most companies are more than happy to give you a credit for a future flight or hotel stay.
    • Create a Contact System: Even when you’re out of the office, a little part of you is always wondering what is going on at home. If you’re not able to unplug entirely, change your ringtone on your phone to be different for calls coming from your boss. This way your heart won’t skip a beat every time your phone rings. You’ll be able to focus on having fun and you’ll only need to respond when you hear that specific ring tone!

    Long story short, make sure that you take as much care of yourself on personal trips as you do when planning for others. Even superheroes need the day off and our goal is to help you make the most of it. TRAVO is a trip planning and booking tool created specifically for administrative professionals. We have spent the past 2 years talking to thousands of admins and collaborating with the most prestigious organizations, like Office Dynamics, to address some of the most common pain points in travel planning. TRAVO corporate rates allow admins to easily sort through flight options across all major carriers. Admins can instantly create end-to-end itineraries including flights, hotels, ground transportation, meetings, forecasted traffic, and estimated Uber pricing. After creating an itinerary, send the trip for approval and book in an instant. Best of all, TRAVO is completely free: no booking fees or subscription fees.

    Happy Administrative Professionals Week and Day to all you office super heroes! Go out and treat yourself, you deserve it!

    About the Author:
    Tae Lee is the CEO and Founder of TRAVO, the trip planner for administrative professionals. Prior to founding TRAVO, Tae served as executive vice president of Operations and Technology at the leading video advertising technology firm, ZEFR

    The post Tips for the Traveling Administrative Professional appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 13:45:51 on 2017/04/07 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Travel   

    Solution for Major Travel Planning Pain Points 

    travel_planning_for_administrative_assistants

    Travel planning is infamous for being a huge time, patience, and sanity suck for administrative professionals. What seems like a simple there-and-back trip to a traveler is a whirlwind of coordination and research for the admin. “Hey, can you book me a trip to San Francisco next week?” Inevitably leads to, “Hey, can you book me a trip to San Francisco on my preferred airline, in an aisle seat, that gets me in on time to meet with John? And can you try to get me reservations to my favorite restaurant and hotel. Also, I would love to be back in time to pick my kids up from school.”

    Administrative professionals are the second largest employment group in the United States and nearly every single admin doubles as a travel agent. Despite this, travel companies have largely ignored their cries for help and have continued to develop for consumers and corporations. We surveyed over 600 admins on their travel planning practices. 60% use a corporate travel agency like Concur, 20% use an online travel agency like Expedia, and 17% book directly through the airlines and hotels. Each of these tools come with their own set of problems, but three pain points stuck out in our survey: finding the best price, creating an itinerary, and sorting through available flights and hotels.

    Finding the Best Price (34%)

    Finding the best price for airlines is probably the most frustrating part of travel planning. Admins are limited not only by price, but also by their traveler’s preferences. Currently, admins are searching for flights on each individual carrier’s website as well as on online travel agencies. One user told us they take screenshots of each individual site then import it into a Word Document so they can easily scroll through options and compare them side-by-side.

    Solution: Run your initial search on SkyScanner which will show you prices across all major airlines without opening up 50 different windows (like many other price-aggregators). Use the filters to narrow your results to just those that work for your traveler’s schedule. This helps you get a good idea for the price range of flights. Then, run the same search directly through your traveler’s preferred airline. You can now send your traveler a list of flight options: those that fit their budget and those that fit their preferences.

    Creating an Itinerary (34%)

    Creating an itinerary was tied for first with finding the best price as the number one travel planning pain point. This pain point came in two parts. First, many travelers only choose to share part of their itinerary with their admins making selecting timing optimized flights very difficult. Second, admins are typically making bookings on a number of different websites which makes keeping track of confirmation numbers tricky.

    Solution 1: Create a travel request form that you can send to your traveler with the information that you absolutely need to have. Keep the form as short as possible. If you have planned for this person in the past, no need to ask for their preferences. The main focus should be on the meeting and events that your traveler will be attending while they’re in the destination. Last, include a simple yes or no question asking if they are planning on adding additional meetings. This will help you choose which type of flight to book: round trip vs one-ways, nonrefundable vs refundable.

    Solution 2: Create a filter in your inbox that looks for emails with subjects like “Booking Confirmation” or “Upcoming Trip”. This way you don’t have to manually filter through your inbox to look for confirmation numbers. After you book, receipts and confirmation emails will be filtered into another folder for easy future reference.

    Communicating with Your Traveler (12%)

    Communicating with your traveler is a frustration beyond just getting trip details or itineraries approved. Admins are often faced with the problem of sending out emails and never hearing back. This leads to delayed bookings and trip finalizations, which inevitably leads to increased pricing.

    Solution: Download a plug in, like Boomerang, that can help you send automatic follow-up emails or reminders if you don’t get a response by a certain date or time. These automatic reminders mean you no longer need to create calendar items for yourself to follow-up with a traveler.

    TRAVO As A Solution

    TRAVO is a trip planning and booking tool created specifically for administrative professionals. We have spent the past year working with organizations like Office Dynamics and surveying thousands of users on their pain points to help admins save time, money, and their sanity when planning travel! TRAVO allows admins to create a traveler profile for each of their travelers. Traveler profiles include basic information (like date of birth), preferences, loyalty programs, and payment methods. Admins only need to create this profile once and the information will automatically be applied to all future searches. Any time you run a search for TRAVO, you will have access to our exclusive corporate rates which can be 10-30% off publicly available rates. In addition to this, you will be able to compare pricing across all major brands on one single website. And bookings made through TRAVO are done directly with the airlines and hotels.

    TRAVO automatically builds an itinerary for you as you select flights, hotels, and ground transportation. Then, as you add meetings and events for your traveler, we will update your itinerary to include turn-by-turn directions and expected traffic conditions. After your itinerary is finalized, send the trip to your traveler for approval with a click of a button. Your traveler will receive the entire trip and will even be able to see all the available options minimizing the need for back and forth emails. After booking, your itinerary is updated to include your confirmation numbers allowing you to export to your traveler’s calendar and as a Word Document in an instant. Best of all, TRAVO is completely free: no booking fees or subscription fees. Sign up for a free account or reach out to us at susan@travo.com for more information!

    About the Author:
    Tae Lee is the CEO and Founder of TRAVO, the trip planner for administrative professionals. Prior to founding TRAVO, Tae served as executive vice president of Operations and Technology at the leading video advertising technology firm, ZEFR

    The post Solution for Major Travel Planning Pain Points appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 11:27:32 on 2016/11/08 Permalink
    Tags: , annual conference for assistant, , planning travel for your executive, professional development conference for assistants, Travel, travel planning, TRAVO, ,   

    Interview with TRAVO at the Annual Conference for Assistants 

    TRAVO is an incredible travel planning tool in development for administrative professionals. TRAVO was one of key sponsors at the 2016 Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence and we are so excited that Debbi Shaffer of Audacious Admin was able to sit down with TRAVO for a brief interview to talk about what they are doing.

    Check it out here…

    Are you a travel planner without a corporate booking tool? If so, check out TRAVO. It’s a free tool and it’s worth checking out.

    The post Interview with TRAVO at the Annual Conference for Assistants appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
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