Travel management is huge.
Really, ridiculously huge.
There are countless phrases, words and acronyms that form part of the everyday lingo for those in the industry; but what about if you’re sat just outside of the business travel industry? What if you’re a client who’s trying to keep up with what their travel management company is doing, constantly googling some of the industry’s most niche terms?
To that we would say break it all down and get the basics covered, one topic at a time.
Let’s start with rail bookings; there are countless terms that are specific to train travel, as well as industry inside information, like the pros and cons to printing your own train tickets, or the exact timings of off-peak and super off-peak tickets.
Whether you currently use a TMC or not, the following definitions and useful information will clue you up on everything that you need to know about rail booking and train travel – and could provide insight into how your make savings on your travel spend.
Definition of ATOC:
ATOC is the Association of Train Operating Companies; they own National Rail and provide a number of key services to the railway industry, such as managing railcard discount schemes and any National Rail enquiries.
Definition of Split-ticketing:
Split ticketing is the process of buying separate train tickets for different parts of a journey, instead of buying a ticket for the whole thing. Split-ticketing will often be advised by your travel management company as a way of making your train travel cheaper, whilst remaining within the train companies’ terms and conditions.
Definition of lead time:
In business travel, lead-time is the number of days between making a booking and the actual date of travel and it’s a major point to consider when it comes to travel management as it can create significant savings.
As is the case with most things in life, the further ahead you book your travel, the lower the price will be – this is certainly the case when it comes to train travel and it’s worth taking advantage of advance fares if your calendar is fairly concrete…
To print or not to self-print?
Self-printing your train tickets might sound like the most convenient option, and it certainly can be for many business travellers, but that really hinges on how likely your plans are to change.
Self-printed tickets are non-exchangeable and non-refundable because the train company doesn’t know that your copy of the ticket is the only copy; if not, then you could have easily bought a ticket, made a multiple copies and then asked for a refund, getting your ticket for free and the train companies are far too smart to let that happen. This is also why self-printing is only available for advance bookings.
Off-peak train times:
– Mon – Fri; Not valid for arrival into London before 11:30am
– Mon – Fri; Not valid for leaving London before 9:30am and between 3-6:45pm
– Weekend; Valid on trains at weekends and on public holidays
Super Off-peak train times:
– Mon- Fri; Not valid for arrival into London before 1pm and between 3-8:30pm
– Mon- Fri; Not valid leaving London before 11am and between 1:30pm- 8:15pm
– Weekend; Not valid for arrival into London before 12pm and between 5:45pm- 8pm
– Weekend; Not valid for leaving London before 10:30 and 4:30- 6:30pm
It’s worth pointing out that these are only given as guidelines by the train companies, and it would be wise to double check this before booking. Each ticket is given a 2 letter restriction code just underneath the booking reference; you can input the code on the National Rail website and it will tell you the proper off peak/super off peak validity for that ticket. Of course, if you use a TMC then they will take care of this for you…
So, that’s the basics covered – however, there is of course more to know. If there are still travel management terms that leave your head in a spin (not that you’d ever let anyone know…) then you can download our comprehensive, complimentary travel management glossary, which breaks down all of travel management’s key terms. Just click below to download your copy.