Guest Blogger Tae Lee is CEO and founder of TRAVO
Creating traveler profiles helps you plan like a pro
As a virtual assistant, you are tasked with the extremely difficult task of creating a highly personalized itinerary for someone, who you likely have never met face to face. Creating a perfect itinerary is a highly elusive goal and can be extremely frustrating and time consuming. Creating personalized traveler profiles can simplify this process greatly and will save you a ton of back and forth time between you and your client. Using these five simple steps, you can create a traveler profile that can be applied to all future travel plans.
1. Flight Profile: Booking the right flight isn’t just about booking the cheapest flight. Each traveler has unique preferences that they need to stay comfortable in the air. When talking to a new client, be sure to ask for their preferences for each of the following:
a. Preferred Brand: What airline do they prefer and which brand do they like to collect miles for?
b. Preferred Seat Class: Economy, Economy Plus, Business, or First Class?
c. Do they prioritize duration or price? Is your traveler willing to pay extra for a direct flight? Or are they simply looking to book the cheapest flight available?
2. Lodging Profile: Hotels are going to be the biggest determining factor for a traveler’s happiness and satisfaction levels. You want to make sure they have everything they need in a hotel. Your goal should be to find them a home away from home. Hotel profiles should include:
a. Preferred Brand: Similar to airlines, which brand do they prefer and like to collect points for?
b. Amenities: What do they absolutely need in their hotels? From wifi to gyms, make sure you are able to provide as many of their required amenities as possible.
c. Proximity or quality? Do the prefer a mid-tier hotel close to their meeting or are they willing to drive a little further for a top-tier hotel?
3. Ground Transportation Profile: Ask your traveler how they prefer to travel when they’ve reached their destination. Ground transportation can be extremely stressful for the traveler and is the thing that you have the least amount of control over. Therefore, you should make sure that you do everything in your power to make sure the option provided is as close to what the traveler requested as possible.
a. Type of Ground Transportation: Travelers now have 5 major modes of transportation: rental car, taxi, ride sharing, car service, and public transportation. Find out which your traveler prefers so you can pick the right service.
b. Preferred Brand: Like the two above, make sure you find out the preferred brands for your traveler. Do this both for the car provider as well as the type of car.
4. Airport: Most frequent travelers have a preferred airport that has the better lounge, or wifi, or restaurants. Find out what these preferred airports are and make sure they are always flying into those airports when available.
5. Timing: Most frequent travelers hate feeling rushed. Traveling is already stressful enough without the added pressure of having to run in between meetings or flights. Find out what your traveler’s timing preferences are and build that into their flight schedule.
a. Domestic flights: How early do they like to arrive at the airport before domestic flights?
b. International flights: How early do they like to arrive at the airport before international flights?
c. Meetings/Events: How early do they like to arrive at their scheduled events? If they need at least an hour to prepare for an event, don’t book them a flight that will require them to go directly from the airport to an event.
d. Arrival and Departure Dates: Do they prefer cushion days at the beginning and end of trips? Or would they prefer to get in as late as possible and out as early as possible?
6. Confirmation: Once you’ve created a complete traveler profile, type it up and email it over to your traveler to make sure you have included everything they need. Also include a section where they can include additional sections.
How TRAVO can help…
TRAVO was designed to help administrative assistants and virtual assistants save time and keep the little details of trip planning organized. Traveler profiles are built into the product itself and each user can create as many profiles as they need to keep track of the preferences of each individual person. Once profiles are created, TRAVO will automatically take those preferences and instantly create itineraries for meetings and events. Rather than using many different websites to compare flights, lodging, and ground options, TRAVO can do all of this for you in an instant. Once you’re finished making the perfect itinerary, you can export it to the traveler’s calendar or as an editable word document to send to the user.
About the author:
Tae Lee is the CEO and founder of event based trip planning tool TRAVO. Prior to founding TRAVO, Tae served as executive vice president of Operations and Technology at the leading video advertising technology firm, ZEFR