One in three small businesses rely heavily on PAs to book and arrange business travel, putting extra strain on assistants. The report by Trainline for Business revealed that assistants are having to take on unnecessary responsibilities due to lack of understanding in business travel.
34% of SME business travellers turn to their secretary (16%), their office manager (10%) or their team assistant (8%) to book business travel for them. The main method SMEs use to book travel is through a desktop computer (76%), with the phone being the second most popular option (18%). The SME Business Travel Index also revealed the extent that modern technology is influencing booking behaviours with 17% now using an app on their phone.
The most common means SME business travellers use to pay for business travel is to pay themselves and claim the money back (38%). The traditional corporate credit card is used by just a third (although this rises to 52% for board level / MDs), while a monthly invoice is adopted by 17%. Just 7% use petty cash, which is then reclaimed.
Reassuringly, business travellers are adapting to increasing pressure to drive cost efficiency on business trips by choosing cheaper options of travel, rather than restricting travel altogether. Nearly two-thirds of business travellers choose to travel on Off-Peak trains, with 65% citing ‘cost-saving’ as the key driver. This trend is being led from the top, with owners or proprietors of SMEs the most likely group to travel Off-Peak – than any other level.
Many businesses are beginning to realise just how important PAs are in arranging travel, and are doing more to support them. For many, online services like Assemblr are helping PAs, while companies like Blue Cube are looking to help with the additional stress entirely.
“Many of the PAs we deal with are more often than not too busy to even call us with their requirements and just forward their bosses emailed request to us leaving our agents to find exactly what has been requested and send the requests back,” explained Blue Cube’s Director of Sales, Paul King. “PAs should think of Blue Cube as THEIR Travel PA, our experts will find them exactly what they need, when they need it and all whilst providing a service that their boss will expect!”
For more information, you can visit Trainline for businesses online