Eight Tips for a last-minute Christmas holiday

Eight Tips for a last-minute Christmas holiday

This year has been one of change and disruption, with businesses balancing worker shortages and hybrid working arrangements amid a strong travel spend bounceback. Amid the hustle and bustle of the year, some executives may have left their end-of-year-holiday planning to the last minute.

If that’s you, Tom Walley, Global Managing Director at Corporate Traveller, offers tips to help tack a holiday onto the end of a December business trip while minimising costs and hassle. At Corporate Traveller, Flight Centre Travel Group’s flagship corporate travel management provider for SMEs, Tom has already seen more travellers choosing to blend their corporate trips with leisure this year.

“Executives are eager to travel again by lengthening their stays to spend time with family, sightsee or relax and reset. In fact, our own booking data shows more business travellers have been taking extended trips this year: domestic trips have increased to 3.09 days, compared with 1.1 in 2019, while international trips have averaged 8.7 days this year, compared with 3.4 in 2019.”

He adds: “Business travel is fast-paced, and an individual’s final trip of the year is often filled with meetings and events – their last opportunities to network and generate sales. To make the most of their time travelling or capitalise on the wind-down after their corporate trip is completed, travellers may find it advantageous to add a holiday to the trip, particularly if they are already overseas.

“However, there are several things that executives should consider before transforming their final business trip into a well-deserved holiday, particularly if they are organising it at the last-minute and are working with a tight budget, due to the rising costs of living.”

Below, Tom offers eight tips to seamlessly turn your last business trip of 2022 into an end-of-year holiday:

1) Take your holiday in the same location or region of your work trip. If your business trip is in a desirable city, consider holidaying there to avoid the hassle of arranging flights to a new destination. With holiday-goers usually leaving the city over December and January, you won’t be navigating city congestion and crowds on your holiday. Public transport in cities is usually very good, for ease of navigation. Alternatively, that city could serve as a ‘homebase’ from which to take day trips out of the city during your break.

2) Leverage discounts for long-term hotel stays. If your work trip is with other colleagues, and you are spending your Christmas holiday at the same destination, consider sharing a two-to-three-bedroom apartment, rather than booking individual hotel rooms. As accommodation rates tend to drop the longer you stay, you might be able to extend your stay for another week at a lower rate, during which time your family can join you. This saves the hassle and cost of sourcing accommodation during Christmas. Extending other bookings, such as car hire, can also lead to discounts.

3) Choose accommodation with leisure facilities. Choose accommodation with a pool, spa and gym – or at least a room with a view. Facilities such as these will benefit the leisure portion of your trip, particularly if you will be transitioning into a family holiday with children.

4) Turn your trip into a working holiday to save on some holiday expenses, and annual leave. If you want to save on your annual leave and some holiday expenses, consider working during the leisure portion of your trip. It may not be too late to volunteer to be a team member who remains ‘online’ during the Christmas break, or there may be projects such as reports, research, strategies, or policies that you can work on in that time. The benefit is that some of your holiday expenses could be tax deductible or expensed back to your employer, and you will save some annual leave days.

5) Leverage your hybrid working week. With much of the corporate workforce continuing to follow a hybrid working arrangement, consider incorporating your remote working days into your holiday – provided your accommodation has a good remote working set up. You would work those two or three days from your holiday destination, without taking annual leave for those days, and will have the evenings free to enjoy your holiday location.

6) Pay the leisure component of your trip with rewards points. If you have a small budget for the leisure portion of your trip, rewards points can go a long way. Consider using your frequent flyer points to pay for flights, accommodation, tours, or dining. Alternatively, choose deals that will earn you bonus rewards. For instance, booking with a Qantas accommodation partner, such as Accor can help you earn three points for every $1 spent. You could also connect your Qantas or Velocity membership to certain apps, such as the My 7-Eleven app or BP to build up points, while using a rewards credit card on your purchases can help you earn up to 1.5 points for every $1 spent.

7) Consider taking your holiday during an off-peak period. Avoid traditionally high travel days, such as the start of school holidays or the week before and after Christmas to reduce the risk of disruptions. School holidays differ for each State: Queensland starts 10 December, Western Australia 16 December, South Australia 17 December, and NSW and Victoria start 21 December. Consider booking your holiday before these days or the second week of January. Try early morning flights to reduce the risk of delays and help you get through the airport faster.

8) Find last-minute deals. If you have left your booking to the 11th hour, don’t write-off your holiday just yet. There are several platforms that offer great deals on last-minute domestic and international flights and accommodation.

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