The Business Travel Show 2018

This week, the Rapid Accommodation team is taking the opportunity to make an appearance at The Business Travel Show, on 21-22 February 2018 at Olympia, London.

The Business Travel Show opens its doors for the 24th time and is Europe’s largest industry conference and exhibition. The show brings together thousands of international industry bods all in one place – more than 7,500 European professionals will be treading the boards with us.

The long established show will give Rapid Accommodation the opportunity to gain the latest knowledge and contacts in the market, giving us an in-depth look at what’s new and current, what works and what doesn’t, and an insight into valuable information of new trends and resources.

A comprehensive overview of the market

In gathering together all the significant industry people, The Business Travel Show helps us to make contact with a large number of people, products and services at the same time, so we can have a comprehensive overview of the entire market.

From airlines to hotels, and the latest in travel technology, we will also be attending a number of specialist seminars, all of which helps us to develop the most successful and up to date travel programmes for our clients – to help find ways to continue to meet our client’s needs.

Keep Romance Alive By Taking Your Partner With You On A Business Trip

Business travel is often anything but glamorous, but by focusing on the potential benefits, like taking your partner along, you can get more out of your time together. Not only will you both have a much more meaningful personal experience, the trip can have the positive effect of building resilience in your relationship.

Make time for both of you in the itinerary for some joint R&R, then maximise it. If you are both foodies, enjoy everything a new place has to offer, including staking out the best restaurants. If history is your passion, taking advantage of time out of a work schedule, could mean having the rare opportunity of exploring museums and historical sites together in an exotic or different location.

Good for Business

Taking your loved one with you on a work trip, can actually be good for business, it can enhance positive social connections and aid business dealings. Inviting your partner out to dinner with a business associate can help the business bonding process – it forces you to push conversation beyond business, and into the realms of life outside of work.

Its a well known fact that communication is key for any relationship, but it doubles in importance when that relationship must stand the test of travel. Its crucial that each person in the relationship bridge the geographical distance, by consistently meeting one another’s emotional needs. By taking your partner on a business trip, instantly turns business travel into pleasure, and for some, it may even be an opportunity to use the end of their trip as the beginning of a holiday together in the same city, with the added benefit of airfare savings that are hard to beat.

Customer Relationship Management

The perception of business travel being only about managing a booking system, is outdated – business travel continues to rebrand itself through the trend for integration and automation. What is often missing within our industry, is the value added by real people.

This is where CRM comes in – Customer Relationship Management – the practice of building meaningful relationships with customers and suppliers. Because good mutual relationships are at the very heart of who we are, we’re using dedicated software to track vital data from many sources (websites, social media, calls, chatting with clients on a regular basis, mail, and email), which in turn, allows Rapid’s team to place the wants and needs of our clients at the forefront of our business.

Client expectations are growing, and it is not enough to simply book business travel – there has to be the ability to maintain a good client relationship built on trust, that no amount of advertising or marketing can achieve as effectively as one-on-one dialogue, and the intimate knowledge of a clients lifestyle, and what makes them happy.

The integrated shift in thinking, has driven a new blend of personalised digital marketing, which should sit alongside face-to-face Customer Relationship Management, where the thinking is ‘the customer is king’ rather then ‘just the content.’

Are you claiming all the VAT you’re entitled to?

Once your colleagues and contractors have returned from their business stay, one of the first things to do is collect their receipts. However, they may have misplaced a few, spilt coffee on them or the accommodation provider hasn’t included the right information. Perhaps the receipts don’t have a printed VAT number, or maybe the business isn’t actually VAT registered at all…

A company who spends £500 on accommodation per week could easily lose out on almost £4,500 of VAT each year!

We understand how frustrating this can be, which is why there are some things to look out for from the agencies that book your business stays.

It’s all in the invoicing

We provide carefully-crafted invoicing as a part of our accommodation booking service – to ensure that all the necessary information you need is included in one easy-to-process document. Each invoice will be formatted with the correct address, company and contact details, as well as the right VAT rates and totals so you can claim back every penny that you’re entitled to.

As you’re researching booking agents, you may come across some that are not based in the UK. You should be aware that if you use their services and pay online, you cannot claim the VAT. While making sure all expenses are claimed is essential, it’s just as important not to misclaim.

Here to help

Managing expenses is a valued part of our service. We know this as one of our largest clients began working with us for this reason; we’ve helped them to save thousands of pounds in VAT that was otherwise being lost! If you have any questions about our accommodation service and how we help to streamline your post-business stay admin, get in touch. Our Accommodation Advisors are ready, waiting and more than happy to help.

Coming up in 2018

Happy New Year, everyone! The phones are ringing, the coffee is hot and the Rapid Accommodation team is ready for our biggest and best year yet.

Over the festive season, we’ve had the opportunity to take some time and reflect on some of the great moments of the past 12 months. 2017 was a big year for us with many highlights and successes that we’re determined to build on throughout 2018.

Throughout the past year, Team Rapid grew to 12 people as we welcomed Maisy, Bebhann and Brad as Accommodation Advisors. It’s fantastic to see how passionate they are about the business and their clients.

2017 also brought changes to the way we work. Firstly, we launched our very own bespoke booking software that enables us to enhance the efficiency of our sourcing and booking process – complete with personal profiles for each and every customer. Next, a ticketing system that helps us to improve response time and ultimately offer an enhanced customer service. As the company’s grown, we’ve made sure that great customer service is always a priority.

Award-winning business

To top it all off, we won not one, not two but three awards! In April, Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis named Rapid Accommodation #SBS winners in his weekly Small Business Sunday Twitter competition, and in September we won the #KingOf award on Twitter for King of Contractors Accommodation 2017. Also, Rapid Accommodation is the High Growth Business of the Year winners for the Yorkshire and Humber region in the British Chamber of Commerce Business Awards! In November, the team travelled to London for the glittering ceremony. Although we didn’t take home the national prize on the night, we had a fabulous evening. A wonderful way to round up a brilliant year.

So, what are we looking forward to in 2018?

Expanding the team – again.

As our business grows, our team grows with us. In five years we’ve grown from three to a team of 12. We carefully recruit each and every team member, looking for a whole variety of qualities in employees. One of the most important, of course, is personality – if you haven’t got it, you’re not getting in!

Getting out there.

Going to events is always a highlight, whether it’s attending awards, going networking or visiting trade shows. We’re looking forward to meeting lots of new businesses in 2018 and making the most of exciting opportunities that come our way.

Who we work with: Kirk UK

KIRK UK is the leading liquid storage tank specialist in the UK, operating in a wide variety of industry sectors across the globe, and we’re proud to have them as one of our oldest, most loyal clients. We’ve been working together since 2012, sourcing and booking accommodation around the UK for their many workers.

What challenges did you encounter before using Rapid Accommodation?
Time constraints and not holding accounts with the accommodation provider.

Why did you choose us over our competitors?
Service, price and willingness to help.

What benefits have you experienced since working with us?
We get complete peace of mind knowing that you give 24/7 service.

How has our service improved your day to day life?
Time is freed up, allowing us to get on with other tasks.

Does it save you time or money?
Both! Very much so.

What are you most impressed with?
Your service, reliability and approachability, as well as the friendly nature of your staff.

 

How we can help you, too.

To find out more about how we can help your business with its accommodation requirements, get in touch. You can give us a call on 0330 090 4142 or send an email to info@rapidaccommodation.com, and our Accommodation Advisors will be more than happy to help!

10 Accommodation Nightmares…

Preventing and overcoming accommodation nightmares – those problems you don’t think to ask about at the time of booking and unexpected surprises when you arrive at the property – is our expertise.

To help you with your own business travel bookings, we’ve shared 10 of the most common accommodation nightmares and our top tips on how to avoid them!

1. Cold Showers

Not something you think about at the time of booking, but something to always double check with your accommodation provider!

2. Long Travel Time

You don’t want a long drive back to your accommodation after a busy shift. Also be sure to check the distance to avoid additional costs.

3. Tolls & Bridge Roads

A quick internet search will prepare you for any tolls and bridge roads – and make sure you have plenty of change ready!

4. Incompatible Travellers

Make your own booking so you can retire to your own quiet, cosy room, with your own facilities, after a long day with ‘challenging’ colleagues.

5. No Wifi

Make sure that the accommodation not only has WiFi access, but it has a strong coverage. Also, look at phone signal strength too.

6. No Late Check In

Sometimes, when you have a long journey to make and shifts at various times, late check-in is a must! Always ask before booking.

7. Nowhere to Park?

You don’t want to arrive at your accommodation and find there isn’t ample parking for your work vehicle. Enquire about the options available.

8. Overcharging

The ultimate accommodation nightmare! Make sure you have your booking confirmation and what is included in your stay with you.

9. Make sure it actually exists!

Unbelievably, this happens.
Do your research, look up reviews and use trusted providers to make sure you’re not caught out.

10. Bad reviews

Reviews, good and bad, are imperative to your decision. The responses from the accommodation will give a great insight, too!

Or, we can do it all for you!

Trust us, there isn’t a nightmare we’ve faced that we haven’t overcome – that’s how we’ve achieved a 100% success rate! Get in touch to see how we can help you with your business stays.

How we simplify your accommodation admin

Once your business accommodation has been booked and you’ve had a relaxing, comfortable stay, there is a matter of invoicing and claiming back expenses. When you’re managing this yourself, it can potentially take up a lot of your time, but yet making sure you receive invoices quickly with all the correct details is imperative.

When it comes to the Rapid Accommodation service, we don’t just stop at sourcing places to stay for your business travel. We take care of all the necessary admin too, including payment and invoicing. We do this because we know we can save you a lot of time and energy.

This is how Rapid Accommodation simplifies your accommodation administration…

Your invoices are personal

We generate your invoices, not your supplier, and we do this on the same day that the booking and payment are made. They are created with your accounting department in mind, meaning we include all the details you need, such as the correct invoicing address, the accommodation location, and arrival and departure dates and times. This information is then stored within our system, making any future invoicing even quicker!

You only need to speak to us

Every accommodation provider will have their own systems for drawing up invoices, each with varying invoicing dates and formats. So, if you book with the hotel, B&B or self-catering accommodation, you could spend time going back and forth chasing up your invoice. When booking with us, you will always deal directly with your Accommodation Advisor.

Don’t worry if you use American Express – we accept it, even if your chosen property doesn’t! Should you need credit facilities, we can help (subject to approval). You can find out more in our blog post ‘Using AmEx for Accommodation in the UK‘.

This is all part of the Rapid Accommodation service – you can read all about it right here. We’re always free for a chat and a coffee too, so give us a call with any queries.

Using AmEx for Accommodation in the UK

When it comes to booking accommodation in the UK for workers and contractors in the offshore wind industry, having a reliable payment method is essential. There are many factors that can affect the booking process of your business stay, from strict budgets to last minute cancellations, which is why the finance you use must have the necessary features to accommodate your needs.

Many payment providers have created solutions that are tailored to the specific requirements of businesses, offering finance methods that are flexible and secure, with additional protection, access to cash, international support, management tools and rewards. However, despite all of the benefits, some companies find that when booking contractor digs, their preferred provider simply isn’t accepted by the chosen accommodation.

Booking Accommodation in the UK

We understand just how much time and effort it takes to source the right hotel, B&B or self-catering accommodation for your workers and contractors, particularly when working in the renewables sector. Travelling distance to and from site, WiFi availability for checking shifts and downtime, and flexibility for weather days and unexpected cancellations all need to be taken into consideration (read our guide to booking accommodation for the offshore and renewables industry). After all that searching, you don’t want to get to the payment stage of the process to find that you can’t use your designated method.

Take, for example, American Express. It’s one of the world’s most renowned corporate card providers and their payment methods can be used across the globe, but yet you may find that the cards are not always accepted by the venue itself. Luckily, this is where we come in. Rapid Accommodation is able to accept American Express, whether it is accepted by the accommodation or not. We do this so our clients can book the most suitable place to stay for their hard-working offshore engineers and contractors.

This applies to establishments anywhere in the UK, and we won’t charge any credit card fees either! It’s a key part of our accommodation service, along with having the ability to offer credit accounts to our clients, helping you to boost your cashflow.

So, if you have a place to stay in mind, simply give us a call, tell us where you’d like your workers to stay and we’ll book it for you. To find out more about our accommodation booking services for the offshore and renewables industry, get in touch.