We caught up with super-Executive Assistant Nancy Anderson and asked her for an inside view of what it’s like to manage travel for Egencia President, Rob Greyber.
What is it like to book travel for the President of one of the world's top 5 Travel Management Companies?
A lot of Rob’s trips are fast-paced and complicated with most of them being international. If I require help with very challenging bookings, I contact the Egencia customer service team. They are great and can support me with everything I need.
In general, Rob and I have a great relationship and I’m lucky that he is a very self-sufficient, flexible traveller. I usually give him a recap of his full itinerary on paper, but Rob is the king of the apps, so doesn't really need it. Once he is off, I rarely hear from him. He is very savvy and deals with most issues himself on the road. If anything significant changes, he will let me know.
What has been the most challenging booking you have made for Rob?
Years ago, I booked a last-minute trip to India for Rob. The trip itself was complicated enough - it included stopovers in multiple cities, so timings had to be exact. But the seemingly impossible task I had to achieve was getting his visa in time. At the time Rob and his passport were in Paris, whilst I was in Seattle, and the nearest Indian Consulate was located in San Francisco.
As soon as he could, Rob posted the passport from Paris, but I only received it with 4 days left to get the visa. The only way to get the passport and paperwork to the Indian Consulate in San Francisco on time was for me to get on a plane and drop it off in person.
Within 3 days, the passport was processed and sent back to Seattle. The last hurdle was getting it back to Rob in Paris. Luckily, one of our Seattle-based employees planned to go to Paris that weekend and was able to hand-deliver the passport to Rob with one day to spare.
What did I learn? Rob has two passports now. And I highly recommend this investment to any Executive Assistant. It can save you a lot of headaches.
What are your top tips for making sure the well-travelled Executive travels well?
Tip 1 - Think ahead and put yourself in your Executive's shoes
After 8 years working together, I know Rob’s preferences and can anticipate a lot. To ensure I don’t miss anything, I go through all the steps of Rob’s trip in my head before I book it. How will he get to the airport? How many terminals are at the airport? What is the best way to check in at that airport? Can his frequent flyer status get him through check-in quicker? Do we have the correct visas? etc.
Tip 2 – Do yourself and them a favour and make them self-sufficient
Sometimes it’s difficult for Executives on the road to be self-sufficient if they don’t have the right tools. Help them to help themselves by uploading some handy apps to their phone. We obviously love the Egencia app with its maps and itineraries, hotel and air booking and quick connection to Customer Service. Rob's favourite feature is its integration with apps like Uber and Citymapper. I like it too, because I know he can manage the last mile on his own.
Tip 3 – Be a name dropper and use your Executive’s privileged status
If your Executive travels a lot, hotels and airlines will value their patronage and will be happy to accommodate any requests to help smooth over their trip. Need a presentation printed out for your Executive on the other side of the world? Contact the concierge team directly to have it printed out and placed in his room before he or she arrives.
Nancy has been in the travel industry since 1978 and spent the past 20 years working at Egencia. For the past 8 years, she has been supporting Rob Greyber, President of Egencia, as Snr. Executive Assistant.