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Get inspired to explore new destinations and discover the coolest travel hacks and ideas right here. Visit the Zahara Travel blog to stay updated with the latest travel trends and news.

Why Zahara Travel Is the Perfect Partner for All Your Corporate Travel Needs

Zahara Travel Team| Fri, 02 Sep 2022

Whether you are a small business with infrequent travel demands or a larger company with lots of travel related business choosing a preferred corporate travel partner is something that everyone should do. When you start looking for a corporate travel agency for the very first time or start hunting for a replacement corporate travel agency there are a lot of questions and criteria that come to mind and we’re here to help you figure out what to find the most suitable options for you. Many companies and heads ask themselves whether they really need a corporate travel company, and the answer is almost inevitably yes. So what exactly is it that corporate travel companies offer and why do corporates require it? Corporate travel companies arrange for managed travel where they are engaged as third-party expertise and services to solve any challenges related to business travel. However the question arises that with the availability of a variety of online booking platforms, does a company actually require external assistance for a travel company? Why can’t whoever is travelling simply look for the best prices themselves, book their flights and hotels, and then claim their travel expenses on their own? Or just hire an in house travel team? The answer to this is that while there is nothing per say wrong with self-guided trips if they happen occasionally, but for any businesses requiring more than a once in a blue moon travel, or dealing with complex itineraries, this approach often leads to lack of cost control, inefficiency, and wasting of time. Managed travel allows companies and their employees to focus on their core business and boost cost-efficiency by providing the most convenient itineraries and fast booking via global distribution systems (GDSs); specially negotiated airfares and hotel rates, perks, and extras — unavailable on metasearch engines, online travel agencies (OTAs) and airline websites; visibility of spending upfront as bookings are made after approval of billables; on-trip assistance; and at the end of it all post-trip reporting. However to achieve these results while staying on budget, you need to select the right partner. At Zahara Travel we cater to all your travel needs and can offer you options within your budget with no hassle and guarantee of a smooth trip. So what exactly is a corporate travel agency or company? A corporate travel agency like Zahara Travel is a service provider that books and manages any and all travel and MICE(Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) related things for a business. Also referred to as a travel management company, Zahara Travel offers most businesses one or a few main contacts depending on the requirements of the work who will be the point of contact at the agency to help them keep all trips within company policy and to offer all the travellers on-the-go support. Efficient and organised business travel management can help reduce travel expenses, streamline expense reports, optimise booking processes, and make managing the corporate travel experience way easier for all stakeholders involved. There are so many different types of corporate travel agencies that it’s a struggle to choose between them all or summarise their service offerings. Some companies may be able to offer round the clock support in dozens of languages but charge exorbitant fees for every small interaction while others might be hard to reach during non-office hours and may not cover as many languages, but might charge a premium monthly fee that covers all needs. Here at Zahara Travel, being the foremost travel company in Oman, after more than half a century of being in the travel business we know what our clients need and offer cost effective round the clock service at competitive rates and put our clients needs first. The benefits of a corporate travel agency There are a whole host of reasons why you should engage with a corporate travel agency, so let us take a look at some of the major benefits for managed travel and getting help with your corporate travel program. It is a good option to supplement a lack of in-house resources or expertise. Perhaps your company doesn't require a full-time travel manager, and employees are swamped with other critical work within their expertise. Working with a corporate travel agency like Zahara Travel can provide you with the travel experts and services you require to take care of all your travel arrangements without you having to hire any additional staff and that too at competitive rates. For most group travel or any regular travel, agents can negotiate better rates for their clients and offer the company competitive group rates and corporate rates. When office managers have to support travellers on the go, things can get quite stressful. Travellers may find it difficult to get help on nights and weekends, meanwhile office managers may start feeling the strain of having to work overtime. An agency can alleviate this burden, without substantially increasing the cost. In order to optimise their budgets, businesses need to know which departments are spending what on travel. Corporate travel agencies can help you accurately track all your travel expenses by reporting on spend for all stakeholders by team, department, or project, giving you a clear picture of your travel spends. Every company has some guidelines and rules regarding their travel policy. An agency can enforce these guidelines when booking and maintain compliance with the same while looking at travel options. Business travel requires the growing need for smoother, easier travel policy compliance with the need for paying out of pocket with personal credit cards being slowly done away with. Booking through an agency like Zahara Travel offers your business access to all of the flight, hotel, train, and car rental options available around the world along with great user experience, and real-time travel support as you need it. In 2022 and beyond, a company needs to offer both excellent human and technological support to manage the corporate travellers needs. To give your travellers trip support and your CFO financial control, you need not a mix of human service and technology as well as these critical factors. Here’s how Zahara Travel offer a wholesome solution to your travel needs Easy booking experience Zahara Travel makes it easy and convenient for administrators or individuals to book for business travel and events. Huge travel inventory and options We don’t limit ourselves and your business to booking with just one of two brands, we offer travellers access to a vast range of flight options with different carriers and whatever hotel and transport brands you want. You can choose to lower your travel spend on airfare by using low-cost carriers, some of whom we are the GSA for in the region. All of the world’s inventory is available to you as a business without having to use a consumer tool. No hidden costs Our travel experts will help you understand the fee structure before signing on so you have a clear idea of what we offer and the charges and costs related to the different offerings. Excellent trip support This aspect of the work is where the human element comes in. During travel there’s no amount of new age technology or hotel and travel brand that can ensure comfort for you when you are travelling and an emergency comes up in your stay or your flight has been cancelled or you are stuck midway to an event. Only an actual person available 24/7 can quickly find you an alternate option and offer you travel support that addresses all your travel needs, in the language you require. The reason we have so many fabulous reviews from travellers across the globe is due to our massive presence in the travel sector and network not just in Oman but all over the world. Built in travel policies and approvals There is really only one way to ensure travel policy compliance and that is by ensuring the policy is being applied during the booking process which is what we’ll do for you, as any bookings will be made only after the relevant approvals come through. Travel spend reporting Getting clarity about travel spend is a major issue. Without a preferred corporate travel partner, business travel can be booked on so many different platforms and vendors that it is hard to get and keep track of all the data with 46% of business travellers booking on consumer sites when left to their own devices. With the data difficult to access being spread across multiple platforms until it’s expensed. At Zahara Travel we can offer real-time reports for your finance team and that can help with reimbursement processes. Innovative and easily scalable Global business travel is still evolving. In fact, it’s really just getting started. So while choosing your travel management companies it is good to figure out if the company is innovative, future-ready and that the solutions they offer can be scaled up as your business grows. At Zahara Travel we have more than five decades of working in the travel sector and know that to stay relevant one has to stay updated with the latest developments and constantly evolve. At the end of the day your corporate travel partner is not just a provider like the dozens of the partners a corporation has. It is a different case altogether with it being a partner that can provide you with cost savings both directly and indirectly, and can radically influence the travel experience of your employees providing excellent travellers’ experience, which is what you want.

Economy, Premium Economy, and Business , And First Class: What is The Real Difference in Flying in These Different Classes

Zahara Travel Team| Thu, 28 Jul 2022

Nowadays flights offer a variety of seating and services depending on what you are looking for and to better understand the different cabin options, we will briefly run through what the typical economy, premium economy, business and first class seats offer. However, one should keep in mind that all seat specifications and perks, depend on the airline and plane model you’re flying, and whether you are on a short or long-haul flight. We’ll break down the main differences between flying economy, premium economy, business and first class seats so you can see what you get in each of them.

Why Choose a Planned Holiday Package

Ambika Verma| Tue, 18 Feb 2020

Weighing up the pros and cons of booking a holiday package or a pre planned itinerary versus just planning your trip from scratch can lead to a lot of confusion as there is a constant struggle between just booking a tour packages and doing it all by yourself. While the former saves you time and energy the latter does give you complete freedom to plan out every detail of the trip. We’re here today to guide you on the advantages of booking tour packages which allows you to travel carefree, without the hassle of arrangements, at the drop of the hat. While there are pros and cons of each however pre-planned customizable trips win hands down. You save on research and planning time While planning your own itinerary does give you complete freedom to explore all the options you will probably spend hundreds of hours planning a simple weeklong vacation so that you cover all the destinations and activities you don’t want to miss out on. and at the end of the day probably land up confused about which of these places or things to include and end up regretting some of the things missing You get to cover more area in planned tours How often could you think about covering five countries in ten days, or visiting two countries over a weekend? Sounds exciting right, but a nightmare to plan or execute on your own. You’ll rarely plan a trip to cover the sheer number of activities and destinations that a holiday tour would due to the nightmarish logistics involved and lack of experience about what exactly can be covered easily at a new destination. However there are plenty of tour packages that offer intense itineraries that cover a lot of ground. Hassle Free Travel You don't need to worry about nitpicking details and figuring out the how, when, where of the trip and the thousands of arrangements that have to be made as someone else is taking care to ensure that you have a hassle-free travel experience. You Don't Have to Worry About Hidden Costs With pre planned holiday packages, what you pay is already declared in the beginning with all inclusions and exclusions announced before payment so you don’t end up having to pay for additional taxes, charges and add ons from different vendors as your travel company would have already covered these charges in your package. You Get Great Value For Money With the travel industry being as competitive as it is these days, the service providers believe in offering the best deals to clients to lure in prospective customers ensuring that you can rest assured that you are getting the best service at great rates. Experts Plan When you know that the experts are planning your trip you can rest assured that worries about where a destination is safe for tourists or if it is the correct time of the year to visit this particular place is already taken care of by someone who has much more experience on trip planning for the destination. You Don't Have to Manage the Details All those annoying little things like figuring out pick-ups and drops to and from your stops is someone else’s responsibility and you’re unlikely to get stranded because you forgot to inform the operator for the fifth time again that you’re landing today. Your Food Preferences Are Accounted For With a planned tour you can just inform your operator about your food preferences whether you require Halal or vegetarian meals or if you have any dietary restriction and they take of the rest. So coordinating and informing all the people involved in the whole tour about food preferences is already taken care and you needn't do it at every food stop or risk get stuck without any options. A Variety Of Payment Option Is Available First of all you can make a single payment for the entire holiday and secondly you have the option of paying in your local currency with a host of options of how to pay for your tour package. This is quiet unlike when you are planning your own trip and are required to pay for all the different bookings, activities, meals, tours, and items separately often having to get Forex and then deal with how to pay in the only acceptable mode of payment that the particular agent accepts. Booking Far In Advance Is Possible You can plan your vacation in its entirely far in advance and don’t need to set reminders for booking particular legs as and when bookings open to the general public as your travel operator will make the reservations. Visa Assistance is Available Getting visas for your trip can be a excruciating task filled with complications and details that are not immediately clear. When you book a holiday package, you tour operator will generally offer visa assistance to make your trip booking a smoother experience.

The 12 Reasons Why You Must Get Travel Insurance

Ambika Verma| Tue, 28 Jan 2020

Wondering whether travel insurance is worth it? While we can give you a hundred reasons why it is a must for smart travellers here are the top 12 reasons why you should definitely get travel insurance while planning any trip. 1. Having Travel Insurance Saves You From Unforeseen Medical Expenses No matter how good you are at planning, there are a hundred things that could go wrong during the trip and even a simple thing can become a nightmare when travelling abroad. Figuring out how to pay upfront for sudden and often massive bills during a medical emergency can ruin your entire entire holiday experience turning it into a nightmare. A suitable travel insurance covers the costs of medical exigencies leaving you to focus on important issues and some even offer assistance service to figure out the best options for you. This is especially important as many time local medical insurance providers do not provide cover for international travel. 2. Travel Insurance Helps If You Bags Get Lost, Damaged, or Delayed Whether you are attending a work related conference or off on a vacation, if the airline or travel operator misplaces or causes your bagge to be delayed, it puts a damper on the whole event. However with coverage for delayed, damaged or misplaced bags, you can sit back and continue as planned as the insurance provider will help you recover your bags and often reimburse you for the essential clothes and personal items you need to continue your trip unhampered. You can even get reimbursed for the suitcase itself so you can take your new stuff home. 3. Trip Cancellation Can Be Covered Travel Insurance ‘The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry’. So what happens to all those non refundable booking and tickets, if for whatever reason you have to cancel your trip? Without trip cancellation coverage, you’ll end up paying for all the pre-booked expenses and the costs of the entire trip may have to be written off as a total loss. However with coverage for trip cancellation you should be able to recover your out-of-pocket expenses for the trip and related cancellation charges if the reason for your cancellation is covered under the agreement. So, you won’t have to stress over losing your trip and being charged for cancellations on top of whatever issue you could be dealing with like for example if someone gets sick and can’t travel, or the death of a loved one or if you are required to come in for work, or other disaster strikes. 4. Travel Insurance Covers Theft Travel insurance generally covers theft by reimbursing you for the direct loss of items in your possession during the trip. That means that if the theft occurs in the airport, including checked luggage, in the hotel, and while the traveller is in transit, for example in a taxi, on a bus, etc then the insurance covers the cost of stolen goods. However it should be noted that travel insurance plans also set limits on their coverage for stolen goods and have a defined limit for different categories of items covered, and it is always best to not travel with anything that is irreplaceable or valuable and to keep those valuable items that you must carry on your person at all times to keep them from being stolen. 5. Travel Insurance Protect Victims of Passport and visa theft The dreaded thought of losing your passport or visa in a forign country can sound like a nightmare but travel insurance with coverage for lost passports ensures you have help expediting the process of replacing and paying for a new passport and other travel documents. If your passport is stolen after you departed from your home country, travel insurance will usually reimburse a traveller for the cost of replacing the passport and other travel documents and assist in finding the local embassy where all this can be accomplished. Some travel insurance plans even offer trip cancellation coverage if your passport or visa are stolen prior to your trip and you can’t get them replaced in time. 6. Travel Insurance Offers Peace of Mind for Personal Liability On the off chance that you’re involved in any incident where you are found legally responsible for someone else’s personal injury or damage to their property, travel insurance can cover you. Personal liability coverage in your travel insurance also ensures that you can opt for a rental car stress free as if you are involved in an accident in a rental, you’ll end up having to pay in excess even if the fault wasn’t yours. 7. Travel Insurance Protects Against Trip Interruptions And Missed Or Cancelled Flights

A Guide for First Time Solo Travellers

Zahara Travel Team| Mon, 22 Apr 2019

Solo travelling is an exciting experience that gives you the luxury to do what you really want to do, without depending on others. It's thrilling, scary, and challenging at the same time. You learn many things about the place as well as learning things about yourself. But no matter how adventurous or entertaining solo travel may sound, the truth is that many of us still find it as a daunting task. Many questions come to you including about safety, practicalities, how interesting it will be and more. Use these practical tips and ideas to get started:

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