If you're a frequent traveler, you know what to pack for your trips. But having the right business travel services in place can be equally important, especially when you encounter unexpected snags while you're away from the office. Here are five of the top services small-business owners should consider for their next business trip.
1. Buy Online/Pick Up in Store
A power cord, a mini-projector, extra presentation folders — those types of items are important for business travelers, but easy to forget. When you're already on the road and realize you need an essential supply or piece of equipment, you want to get it quickly. Dropping by a store in the hopes that it has what you need, or spending time wandering the aisles in your search, can waste hours that you don't have.
Look for vendors that have a "buy online/pick up in store" service. If you forget something, you can place an order while in transit and pick it up when you arrive.
2. Get Printing Help
If you need to create or edit a piece of printed material right before you leave, you may not have time for your local print vendor to complete a major printing job before you get on a plane or hit the road.
Instead of stressing about getting your print job done locally on time before you leave, use a national chain that allows you to submit print jobs in one location and pick up the finished product in your destination city. That way, you have time to fix that typo in your promotional materials or run off 500 copies of your new brochure for the trade show.
3. Capitalize on Loyalty and Reward Programs
Small businesses are always shopping for the best low-cost options available, and that often means hopping to whichever airline, hotel or car rental company happens to have the best deal at that moment. Instead, hunt for a brand loyalty or membership program.
If you find a program from one of your top brands that provides cumulative perks, it may save you a considerable amount of money in the long run by providing big discounts for your consistent loyalty. Shop around for rewards perks at all your favorite travel venues and see which ones might work for you.
4. Arrange All-Access Tech Support
There are so many variables to worry about when it comes to your tech gear. Will the place where you're presenting have a setup that's compatible with your computer? Will you remember how to reconnect everything correctly so that you don't encounter snags when it's time to present? What if you can't access your work desktop on your laptop?
For increased peace of mind, arrange for on-call tech support with your tech vendor, so you can dial up some help as soon as you need it.
5. Don't Forget Security
Travelers are often prime targets for hackers, which is why a virtual private network (VPN) is a must for business travel. Safeguard your passwords, banking information and anything you do while on an unsecured network. VPNs are meant to provide a secure, encrypted connection while you're using a public connection, such as airport or hotel Wi-Fi. Of all business travel services, this is one to invest in early on.
The next time you schedule any business travel, do some advance research on these types of services. Having business travel services lined up in advance might help save you from stressful moments, save you money, and protect your data on the road.