Planning travel isn’t easy, but it’s nothing compared to planning travel for someone else. Many travelers, myself included, are guilty of expecting the travel planner to read their mind. We expect our travel planners to anticipate our preferences and needs to create seamless end-to-end itineraries. This already difficult task becomes even harder when you factor in that in the age of technology you must also consider how to keep all of this information safe. Fear not! The first step in creating itineraries is creating a traveler profile, and we are going to share with you everything that needs to go in that secure folder!
Find Out Traveler Information
Collect the traveler’s most basic information that is required to make any booking. The information in this section includes:
- Full Name (exactly as it appears on their government-issued ID)
- Email Address
- Date of Birth
- Phone Number
- Passport Information
Organize Traveler Preferences
Having detailed knowledge of your traveler’s preferences is the most important step in creating their profile. This section will allow you to decide between certain choices and anticipate which option your traveler will prefer. Lodging, flight, and ground preferences each have their own intricacies which are listed below.
- Preferred Chains
- Room Type Preference
- Minimum Star Rating
- Preferred Airlines (within these preferences, try to get your traveler to provide rankings)
- Seat Preference
- Preferred Class of Service
- TSA Precheck Number/Known Traveler Number
- Preferred Vendor
- Preferred Mode of Transportation (rental car, ridesharing, or public transportation)
- Car Type Preference
Learn Loyalty Programs
Make sure your travelers are receiving points for all their trips by compiling all of their loyalty programs to use when booking. As you learn more about your traveler and their loyalty programs, add their status to this section as well. This will help you decide which is the best available option. For example, if there are comparable Delta and United flights, but your traveler has Gold Status on Delta, you know to book the Delta option.
Debrief with Travelers
Preferences are always changing with each trip your traveler takes. They may have a terrible experience with an airline and decide they never want to fly them again. Or they may have an amazing stay with a hotel and want to stay there every time. Keep track of these changing preferences by holding a debriefing with your traveler after every trip. You can create a simple questionnaire to see how their trip was and include questions like:
1. During your trip, were there any problems with your flight, hotel, or rental car?
2. Would you stay at this hotel again?
3. Would you fly this airline again?
4. Would you use this ground company again?
Establish Yourself as Secure
Being a safe and trusted assistant is going to be a huge asset to your personal brand within your team. Some admins store their traveler’s information in notepads or in Excel spreadsheets. This is not only inconvenient, but it’s also risky. Your company and travelers are trusting you with their information and they need to know that it’s going to be safe. I recommend using a service like LastPass or 1Password. These sites are great for creating secure, password protected notes. They even allow you to create a custom traveler profile form so you can easily add additional travelers and ensure you have all of the necessary information. Best of all, they allow for sharing between users. This means your traveler can update it and you can give access to other admins when you're out of the office to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Rejoice in Planning Success
Once you have created a complete traveler profile, you are ready to start creating itineraries for your travelers. Here at TRAVO, we truly believe that traveler profiles are the backbone to every itinerary. We have built our entire tool around making it easier for admins to create profiles and use them when planning trips. Not only are admins able to securely store, share, and gather information in one secure location, but they are also able to immediately apply these profiles directly to their searches and have multiple separate travelers in one profile. TRAVO could not be where it is today without the support from influencers like Christina Holzhauser of Tips for Assistants and we want to thank the community in any way possible. Sign up for your free TRAVO account to start creating profiles and plan your next trip!
Tae Lee is the CEO and founder of TRAVO, the trip planning and booking tool 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. You can connect with the TRAVO team on the following platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Email.