H: Hi. My name is Hans Edenfield, Director of Human Resources and Operations with D&Y. Today, I have with me Cheryl Fleming, one of our tenured and experienced travel coordinators with D&Y, and she’s going to answers some questions regarding how your (the provider’s) travel will be serviced in regards to your work assignment through D&Y. Hello Cheryl.
C: Hi, Hans.
H: All right, Cheryl, first question. If I, the provider, am accepted for a locums assignment, how are the needed travel and lodging arrangements made?
C: The travel coordinator is going to contact you. It could be by email, phone, or possibly text. We’re going to discuss what your needs are and collect your personal information and your preferences. Then we will go about booking whatever it is you might need: a car, flight, or a hotel. We make our bookings through Worldspan, which is a GDS system, and we have access to all of the flights, cars, or hotels that other travel agencies see. We can make the reservations by call or internet.
We don’t use any sites such as Expedia, or Travelocity, because we lose access to those reservations. Once they’re booked, we can’t assist with any changes or cancellations that you might need.
H: Very good. So Cheryl, what type of lodging should I, the provider, expect when working a locums assignment with D&Y?
C: We like to try to find a hotel that is close to your facility to cut down on your commute time, and we’re looking for something that is going to have at the minimum:
We like to get all of those amenities for you if possible. Some hotels even offer a free breakfast, whether it’s a continental breakfast or a full hot breakfast, but that’s just an added bonus. Most of the hotels that we use are Hilton brand or Marriott brand, but we do use other ones, depending on where you’re going and what is available. If you’re going to be staying for any length of time, we really do try hard to find you something that’s considered a long-term property, maybe a Residence Inn, Homewood Suites, Staybridge Suites, because they’ll give you more living space, and they’ll also give you a full kitchen with a stovetop and a full-sized refrigerator.
H: Very good. Thank you, Cheryl. So the next question is, what type of transportation is available when working a locums assignment?
C: We use airline reservations, cars, trains, sometimes limousines to get you from your home to your assignment or as far as the airport to catch a flight or a car service. Whatever it is that’s going to get you from your home to the assignment and return. We’re going to take your preferences into consideration, but we also have to balance that with the client’s needs on the client’s budget.
Normally, we don’t offer a flight if you live within 4 hours of the assignment, but there are some exceptions to that. If you live in a city that has a low-cost carrier, it might make sense to give you a flight, and we would just have to check with the staffing consultant and the client about that.
H: Very good, thank you. So, what information do I, the provider, need to have available for a travel coordinator in order to assist me?
C: Well, we do have a travel profile form, and on that form we ask for:
We also give you the opportunity to provide to us frequent flier numbers for airlines, or frequent guest numbers for hotels. Just brand new to us, we can now ask for your Emerald Club number for National Rent-a-Car, and they can link that to our direct bill. That would give you less wait time at the airport, or at the facility, and you could possibly get a free upgrade. Once we have all of that, we can take it into consideration when we’re making your reservations and match that up with the hotels or the flights that you’re asking for.
H: Sounds good. So, regarding air travel, what are the guidelines when working a locums assignment?
C: That’s going to depend on exactly where you’re working. Some assignments require multiple airline tickets back and forth, depending on how many days or how many shifts you’re working, and how frequently you’re working those. Then we have some that are long-term, where the client will pay for an airline ticket to get you there, and then also a flight home at the end of the assignment. That would be something that you would want to discuss with your staffing coordinator. They would talk to the client about that, and based on what we’re allowed to do, we would book the flights and send you options each time that you need them. You get to pick which flights you like, and as long as they’re within the expected parameters for price that the client is looking at, then we would go ahead and book those reservations.
There are a couple of other things, though, that you might want to consider:
Always remember that I have to purchase the airline ticket using your name as it is printed on the government issued photo ID that you’re going to show when you check in for the flight. Also, just remember that we’re going to try and book your seat assignment at the same time that we book your reservation so that hopefully we’ll be able to get you your preferred seat. It’s not always possible, but we’re going to try.
H: Thank you, Cheryl. So, what are some important reminders for a provider when traveling to and from a locums assignment?
C: Please keep in mind
You might want to pre-program your airline phone number, or hotel, or car rental number into your phone so that you have quick access to that. Program our number in your phone so that you can call us, because we do have a staffing coordinator that’s on call that can help you if there’s a problem as you’re traveling, or if something needs adjusted.
At the hotel, remember that they’re going to ask you for a credit card to pay for incidentals. When we send our credit card authorization, we let them know that we’re going to pay for the room, the tax, and local calls and parking, but they have to have a means of covering anything over that.
Please make sure that the hotel knows that you’ve checked out. I know with everything being electronic, sometimes they don’t see your face, they don’t see you leave, you don’t leave a key, and they’re really not quite sure of that. So just make sure it’s definite that they know that you’re no longer there.
Also, keep in mind that it is your responsibility to meet any cancellation deadline. If something changes, or you can’t go, or you need to move back your hotel check-in date, either call us directly, or call the vendor. If you do call a vendor direct, please make sure that you keep a copy of the name of the person that you talked to, and the date and time that you spoke to them.
H: Well Cheryl, that’s some very helpful information. Thank you. So the last question will be: who can assist me after normal business hours if I run into a situation requiring travel service assistance?
C: We can assist you. We have a staffing consultant that is on call 24/7, and you can call our 800 number: 800-955-1919. Our after-hours service will take your name and number and put you in contact with that staffing consultant, and they will take care of helping you adjust whatever travel-related issue you may have.
H: Very good. Well that’s reassuring to know. Well, Cheryl, thank you so much for providing the information. I think our providers will find that very helpful. Thank you.
C: Thanks, Hans.
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Traveling for Locum Tenens: Everything You Need to Know