Are you a production travel Rebel or a slave to the Empire? To celebrate the opening of the highly-anticipated film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, our Stage and Screen Travel team thought we’d write our best tips for navigating the wild galaxies of production travel through the lens of Star Wars.
Production budgeting: Researching on the Internet or via a travel management company
Traditionally at budgeting stage, Producers, Production Coordinators and/or researchers have been forced to battle with the Empire’s flight and hotel comparison websites to estimate the travel costs associated with a production. Misguided, they have been brainwashed by the Empire that the internet is the universal source of truth always offering the cheapest rates.
Internet search engines don’t have access to:
• group rates
• entertainment fares for flights, hotels and vehicle hire
• the ability to hold airline seats or hotel rooms
• specialist information on additional baggage and equipment rules
• advice on location feasibility and logistics
Production Rebels have learned to spurn the internet. They seek the help of travel professionals at travel management companies instead, the so-called ‘Jedis’ of the Rebel Alliance. Travel Jedis understand how to use the Force to help production travel companies. Travel management companies can tap into unique industry entertainment fares and use their strong relationships with airlines, accommodation and vehicle suppliers to source the best fares. The result: competitive rates with flexibility built in and quick turnaround times making budgeting fast and painless.
Pre-production: To book travel directly or through a travel management company?
Booking the travel components for a production using the internet or directly with individual suppliers can waste enormous amounts of time and money. Both options will generally require hours of research and payment upfront which can be costly before the start of a production, or invoices can arrive too late after the wrap. It can leave you feeling like your trapped on Raxas Prime, the waste-covered planet,
“You don’t realize how important a datapad is until you’re stranded on Raxus Prime with nothing but your boots and a blaster, ” Han Solo.
Production Rebels are smart and understand there are ways to circumnavigate this wasted time and money spent booking travel directly. Rebels know to seek the wisdom of travel Jedis who use their travel expertise and accuracy to make end-to-end bookings for all travel requests. Travel Jedis will always deliver a choice of options and the best value to save the Rebel time and money. Travel management companies also offer flexible payment terms helping to spread costs.
Shooting the production: Making travel changes
During a shoot the weather, accidents, technical failures and other issues on the set may cause you to have to change your travel itinerary for large groups.
Followers of the Empire who booked their travel on the internet or directly with individual suppliers will now be forced to spend large amounts of time changing tickets, accommodation and vehicles. Fees for making changes can be costly, especially if they have been overlooked at budgeting stage or non-changeable tickets purchased accidentally.
For production Rebels who booked through travel management Jedis it will be an entirely different plot. Jedis can work onsite with the production if required to manage all travel. Alternatively the Rebel will be able to calmly make one phone call 24/7 to request any changes. All changes will be arranged for them seamlessly by the Jedi, who uses expert fare knowledge to minimise costs. This frees the Rebels to get on with their other multitude of duties.
Running costs: How to stay in control of travel running costs
Budget holders need to stay in control of their running costs during the life of a production. It is challenging to stay on top of costs while being in charge of so many other production missions too.
In the Empire, budget holders have to battle to keep up-to-date with all of their running costs including the travel elements. This causes stress and potentially can lead to malfunctioning reports if anything is missed due to last-minute changes and additions.
Rebels using a travel management Jedi can request a running costs report at any time which they can share with their accounts team or financial officer if required. Knowing all costs are completely accurate gives peace of mind, plus it avoids having to manually compile a travel costs report.
Wrap: How to pay travel invoices costs on time
Aside from the fun of the wrap party celebration, one of the most crucial stages of any production is getting to the wrap on time and as close to the projected budget as possible.
It can be really difficult to ensure everything has been invoiced or paid on time so you can close up shop after a production. Particularly this is the case if you booked all the travel elements through numerous suppliers as inevitably suppliers will invoice you according to their payment cycles, not yours.
Rebels who booked with travel management Jedis can be confident that they will receive their final invoices shortly after the wrap. Everything will be paid on time, meaning the Rebel can focus on their next exciting production venture.
What travel management company can you trust?
There are many travel management companies in the market. It can be difficult to decipher which one can truly offer your production the right fit to deliver the best service and value. Not all travel management companies are specialists in production and media travel or understand the flexibility and logistics required.
Stage and Screen Travel Services has been delivering bespoke travel solutions for production companies for 20 years. We offer a global solution with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and in 2015 we opened a London office.
24/7 emergency assistance, excess baggage assistance and logistics planning are just the start of the services we offer to help production companies.
Read why production company Raw Files trusts Stage and Screen Travel to manage all their travel.
However you choose to manage your production travel ‘May be the Force be with you.’