From December to February, airports and hotels are bustling with holidaymakers and families, but for corporate travellers it’s business as usual. The influx of thousands of extra travellers doesn’t always make for relaxing, cost-effective or productive business travel. But FCM Travel Solutions has a range of simple strategies to help you survive the frenzy.
Lock flights, accommodation and car hire in as soon as possible. From mid-November thousands of school leavers take to the skies, before general school holidays kick off from early December and the chaos really sets in. Both demand and prices spike from December and skyrocket post-Christmas after the festive season commitments are over and the holidays begin in earnest.
So plan ahead and flag any travel you need to complete before January (or when school restarts) with your FCM Travel Manager now. Don’t leave it until the last minute when airline seats on popular routes are rare and hire cars are booked out.
Upgrade and be flexible
If you’re permitted to travel Business Class, now is the time to take advantage of it. Most holidaymakers and families (and crying infants!) will be down the back of the plane, so Business Class or even Premium Economy can feel like a sanctuary. Or if you are flying economy, you may find that early morning and late night flights are often quieter, with more business travellers and less families. Plus mid-week flights tend to be more affordable and less busy than Fridays and Mondays.
Be patient and flexible. With more people travelling there are more likely to be flight delays and disruptions, plus long queues to pass through airport security screening. So factor extra time into your schedule and adjust your arrival time accordingly.
Use loyalty points and perks
This is the time of year when lounge memberships and loyalty points are worth their weight in gold. Use program memberships and loyalty perks to access airport lounges, enjoy priority boarding and to score airfare upgrades. All of these will help you stay more relaxed and at least a little removed from the madding crowds.
Stay up-to-date with apps
With airlines and airport services running at capacity, flight delays and disruptions are more common. So airline and airport apps can be useful sources of up-to-the-minute arrival and departure information. But if you want personalised notification of your flight’s status and itinerary changes, ask Sam. Sam (Smart Assistant for Mobile) is FCM’s all-in-one travel app which is like having a travel assistant in your pocket. Using the latest artificial intelligence technology, Sam will seamlessly manage all aspects of your business travel. Use Sam to quickly access airline check-in portals, all booking information and to even book your ride to or from the airport. Plus real-time notifications are at your fingertips include boarding gate changes, weather forecasts for your destination and even traffic reports.
Check-in online and print boarding passes at the office to avoid horrendous airport holiday queues. Now is also the time to travel lightly and take carry-on luggage only. But be aware that those overhead lockers are also going to be full of holiday gear and Christmas presents. So try to access priority boarding to stow your bag away first.
Also have your devices fully charged prior to getting to the airport. You have more chance of winning lotto, than finding a free power point at the airport! It’s wise to also travel with a power bank as back up.
During the holiday season both long and short term airport car parks are often full, so book ahead online to secure a spot as early as possible. Or pay a bit more for valet parking, but again, book ahead.
Take extra care to look after your stress levels and overall well-being during the holiday season. You’ll cope a lot better with the business of being busy, if you’re well rested and healthy. While it can be extra hard to maintain your routine at this time of year, it’s important to prioritise your diet and exercise. There will inevitably be late nights entertaining clients, but you can find a healthy balance. Eat lightly, make healthy choices and drink in moderation – especially if you have an early flight the next morning. Stay hydrated and pack healthy snacks for your trip. Plus more people travelling also means more germs, so take precautions and pack the hand sanitiser.