Gone are the days of gloved hands carrying silver trays – the modern-day butler looks a little different these days. With an extended range of responsibilities, numerous benefits and an ever-growing knowledge base, it is now a very varied role requiring a wide range of skills. As a result, the paths to becoming a household
Travel planning is such an essential part of any PA or EA’s arsenal. For some, this means international flights, transfers and visas; for others, it’s domestic trains and private cars. Whatever the requirement, TRAVO aims to simplify the process, ensuring that your executive travels efficiently and quickly.
The travel planning start-up, based in LA, was established by Tae Lee, after he noticed how much time his EA spent organising his itineraries. Most simply, the online tool is an end-to-end travel planner, offering administrative professionals the chance to book flights, cars, trains and any other modes of transport, as well as hotels, transfers and meetings. It then collates this information into one itinerary that can be approved by the principal, circulated to any relevant sources and changed as necessary.
TRAVO also offers the option of saving preferential airlines, hotels or timings for each traveller, as well as loyalty numbers. It can add forecasted weather and expected traffic conditions to any trip, meaning the principal will be prepared for any situation. Finally, it also allows PAs or EAs to send a trip request to their executives, so that they can confirm what they need organised.
With all this to offer, TRAVO sounds like the PA’s dream software. But does it work? We took it for a test-drive to see if it promised all that it did.
Our hypothetical executive is undertaking a European business trip, travelling across a number of business hubs across Western Europe. He will have numerous meetings and need flights, hotels, transfers and meetings booked in. He only travels British Airways and prefers to take the first flight out every day.
We start with the flights and are given the option to choose British Airways, the class and if the tickets need to be refundable. Unfortunately, it doesn’t give us an option to filter by time in the first instance, so we have to do this when the search results come through. We also have to reset these every time we book a new flight, as the system doesn’t remember this preference.
Once we’ve booked one leg and go to add more, we’re given a preview of our schedule, so we have a reminder of the dates and times we’ve booked. On the down side, prices are automatically coming up in USD, and it’s not obvious how to change it, so we’re booking flights with little knowledge of the actual cost.
When we move onto hotels, the system recognises where we’re going and automatically offers the correct city and dates, adding them into the draft itinerary as we go. However, it’s not completely accurate – for our Paris leg, the automatic location is the airport, not the city centre. When we look at the map, suggested routes from the airport to the centre also appear, demonstrating how long it would take to get from the airport to the hotel. Like most hotel booking options, we can filter by price, class (stars) and amenities.
With flights and hotels selected, it’s time to confirm transfers. At first glance, it appears you can only book a rental car, however, once the dates and pick-up/drop-off points are entered, the option to book a taxi or Uber appears, along with an estimated price.
With that, we have an itinerary! We add a few meetings for good measure and the relevant routes from the hotel to each meeting spot also appear as we go.
TRAVO allows us to add miscellaneous expenses as we go and links with Expensify, so we’re able to keep track of things like visa costs or registration fees. We can also send our draft itinerary to our principal so they can approve their trip, share it with other relevant parties or export it to Word or a calendar.
If booking for more than one executive, there’s also an option to create profiles for each traveller, storing their preferred airlines, hotels, timings, seat preferences as well as loyalty numbers and payment details.
So is it worth it?
With so much potential, TRAVO could be a fantastic resource for administrative professionals needing to book travel for their executives. While it has some kinks – the inability to change currency being a key one – the positives do outweigh the negatives. The convenience and time-saving aspects, as well as ease of use, make it the ideal resource for those with complex travel planning requirements.
Find out more about travel planning here. Looking for a role with lots of travel booking? We can help!