All businesses with either national or international clientele or suppliers recognise the value of face to face meetings and that therefore travel is a vital business tool in the modern day business environment. That said, when not managed appropriately - through reputable corporate travel agents - business travel can be a real drain on your resources, not only financially but from a time point of view too, and time is money after all. So, it stands to reason that most companies are looking to cut these costs. But the big issue is how? Where in the budget do you shave to save?
If managed properly, business travel needn’t be an excessive overspend. It doesn’t have to be unpleasant for those employees who go on business trips either. By implementing a solid travel strategy you can still cover far-flung corners of the globe, or ports of call nearer to home, without subjecting your employees to cattle-like travel conditions, and manage your bottom line.
Here are a few things to consider when trying to cut travel costs:
1) Create a Travel Policy or Travel Guidelines
Whether you are a small business or a multinational conglomerate, if you have employees who travel on the company’s behalf you need to have some sort of travel policy in place. A solid travel policy or set of guidelines means that everyone is on the same page, and everyone is spending the same sort of money on trips. Your travel policy should include guidelines on how much to spend, where to stay, what method to use for travel, what class to travel, luggage allowances, per diem expenditure and so forth. With a travel policy in place, you are covered against employees booking into five-star hotels, flying first class and hiring limousines just because it’s on the company’s dime.
2) Pick Your Travel Consultancy Wisely
The right corporate travel consultancy can make all the difference to your total spend in this area. It is vital to pick a reputable consultancy, but more than that, you need to choose a consultancy that has access to and can benefit from global reach. This means you can take advantage of the most competitively priced flight, car and accommodation rates. By choosing the right travel consultancy you can be assured that you are working with the right people too. Your corporate travel consultant should take all the hassle out of any bookings, meaning that your employees can remain focussed on their work while someone else searches for flights, hotels and transport options. A consultant who is assigned to your business will have an understanding of the company culture, your expectations, the standard of travel you expect and should also be on hand at all times to deal with those emergencies that crop up every now and again - missing flights, hotels that double book etc.
3) Plan Ahead
Lastminute.com can be a very expensive way of travelling. By booking in advance, particularly when it comes to air travel, you will save yourself huge amounts of money. While there are some trips that do come up at the last minute, these should be the exception rather than the rule.
4) Cash in your rewards
If you are a company that travels regularly, join frequent flyer programmes. You’d be amazed by how many specials airlines run for members of their loyalty programmes to take advantage of. Many airlines also partner with hotel groups and car rental programmes so you really do benefit. It’s a great way to cut back on spending without cutting back on the standards of travel or accommodation. Speak to your travel consultant about how best to make the most of these offers.
5) The extras add up
Be very aware of the extra add on that some airlines impose. While you might think that flying with airlines that offer much cheaper tickets is a saver, you can end up spending as much, if not more, with some of these airlines. Some are notorious for delayed and cancelled flights which costs you in so much as your employee is not there to do his or her job. These airlines also add on several extra charges such as baggage charge, extra for pre-booking your seat, early boarding and let’s not forget in-flight meals. The cost of a can of cold drink goes sky high when you’re up in the air.
The most important thing that you need to take care of when trying to maintain a healthy travel budget, is ensuring everyone’s on the same page. From your travel consultant to your employees, you need to ensure that your travel plan is implemented and that it is understood that just because the company is picking up the tab doesn’t mean first class flights and lobster for lunch.
A reputable corporate travel company will align the way they work with you according to your travel strategy, ensuring a seamless implementation and smooth sailing all the way. Take the next step to cutting your company’s travel expenses and speak to an expert