When it comes to business trips, you’ve turned your executive’s travel arrangements into a well-oiled machine. You know their schedules. Their preferences. How to ensure each trip runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
However, the equation completely changes when it comes to planning their personal and family travel. It’s no longer just your executive’s effectiveness and productivity that are on the line, it’s the safety and comfort of their families. The difficulty of getting vacation time on already-overbooked executive calendars makes every moment precious.
Trips like these require their own playbook. Here are three questions to ask when planning personal and family travel for your executive:
Question #1: How will service partners support the safety of my executive and their family?
Any time an executive is traveling represents a safety risk, as signifiers of their status may make them more vulnerable to opportunistic crime. Managing this risk is always important, but safety considerations take on added importance when executives are traveling with their families. While your executive might not prioritize safety when traveling alone, it becomes the number one factor when traveling with their family.
The service partners you select can play a major role in managing this issue. For example, many ground transportation options don’t offer child safety seats, which leaves executives who are traveling with younger children two options. They can bring their own child safety seats, though this means carrying heavy seats from stop to stop and manually installing them into every new vehicle. Or, they can work with a partner like Savoya that can make sure the appropriate number and type(s) of child safety seats are prepped and ready for every trip.
But safety certainly isn’t limited to simply having appropriate seating for younger children. When considering ground travel options, look specifically for providers like Savoya that rigorously vet and train drivers, and that equip them with the tools, intelligence and behind-the-scenes support—such as threat and disturbance monitoring—required to address the unique safety and security needs of executive travelers. Savoya also rigorously vets service vehicles for an added layer of safety and comfort, ensuring that all models are less than three years old, and that all maintenance and inspection checks are in place.
Question #2: How can I ensure my executive’s trip runs smoothly?
Personal and family travel planning—just like business travel—comes down to the “what ifs?” Though the specific “what ifs” you’ll want to consider will look different in either scenario, it’s still important to walk through every stage of your executive’s vacation itinerary, looking for particularly tight windows or other opportunities to put contingency plans in place.
For example, what would you do if your executive or their family members decide to change their itinerary once they’ve arrived? If your executive prefers to keep a fluid schedule while on vacation, having a car available “as directed” may be more efficient than having to hail a ride-share vehicle or taxi every time plans change.
Or, what if your executive arrives at their destination, only to find that there isn’t enough room for them and their luggage in the car you’ve booked? If your executive is traveling with multiple people—each of whom may be carrying several bags—a standard sedan may not have enough room. When you book with Savoya, our Travel Coordinators offer personalized service, including a consultative approach to help match your executive with a vehicle that has both enough seats—including any child safety seats that may be needed—and ample luggage capacity for the trip to run smoothly.
Savoya’s Travel Coordinators also proactively monitor your executive’s trips to ensure the experience is smooth and seamless. They can also serve as a direct resource for your executive—available 24/7—should they need to make any changes to their itinerary. This eliminates the need for you to serve as an intermediary, which is especially important when your executive is traveling internationally and may need to reach someone off-hours.
Question #3: How can I help my executive navigate a new area?
The unfamiliar surroundings of a new vacation destination introduce plenty of opportunities for delays and uncertainty. Wait times may be longer at events or attractions than anticipated. Unannounced closures can derail carefully laid plans. Not only are these occurrences frustrating, they can be downright painful when children are added to the mix.
If your executive will be visiting a new area on personal or family travel, there are steps you can take to limit potential confusion. For example, you could print detailed maps for them or write out custom directions based on their preferences (such as walking directions to the closest Starbucks from the hotel).
The partners you choose at your destination can also make a big difference. Call hotels to vet their concierge on the level of service they’re able to provide. Check car services as well, looking for options like Savoya that screen and recruit drivers with a focus on service excellence and fluency in English. That way, you can trust that your executive’s ground travel provider will provide an appropriate in-vehicle environment for families and/or children, while also having a level of familiarity with the area that allows them to serve as a trusted travel consultant if needed, providing guidance and making recommendations.
Booking Family or Personal Travel for Your Executive
Safety and flexibility are the name of the game for personal and family travel. While both are also important when planning business travel, they become especially important when your executive is traveling with their children or anxious to get to their well-deserved R&R.
It’s up to you to plan ahead—not just in terms of the specific reservations you make, but for the partners you trust to support your executive’s vacation. Do your due diligence by asking the three questions above. Every scenario you work through in advance represents one fewer potential complication to your executive’s vacation.
What other tips would you add to our list? Leave us a note below with your comments.
Jordan Garner is the Executive Assistant to Robert Dobrient, Savoya’s CEO. Mrs. Garner studied at the University of Texas at Tyler, and previously supported multiple Regional Directors and Account Executives at Estee Lauder.