5 Things You Can Do Now to Reduce Business Travel Costs
Companies are always looking for ways to save money and improve the bottom line. Business travel savings is an area that often gets overlooked. It’s often complex and looking at how to reduce business travel costs can seem overwhelming. This is a discipline where the expertise of a travel management company can really prove useful to your company. Being travel experts, they know where to find savings and how to help you get the most out of your corporate travel budget. Let us examine five ways to help you, the corporate travel manager, improve your bottom line by saving money on travel expenses. These are 5 things you can do right now to reduce business travel costs.
Don’t book last minute.
We all know the “rule”- book as early as possible. If you have a travel policy at your company, impress upon your employees the need to book at least two weeks prior to travelling and further out if possible. Many times in business, meetings come up at the last minute. Typically customers and vendors are sympathetic to your travel policies because they have their own as well. Negotiate to schedule your meetings out as far as possible to take advantage of cheaper airfares. Statistics have shown that within 14 days of departure, you could see a price increase of up to 35% and within 7 days, by 75% and up to 100%.
Another great tip is to book in the middle of the week and away from weekends. The weekends tend to be high traffic times for airlines and the fares tend to go up. Many studies have determined the ideal time to book your flight is a couple of months prior to departure – and even on Tuesday afternoons to be really specific.
If you want to reduce business travel costs immediately, incorporate this into your travel policy: book early and midweek.
Educate your business travellers about your travel policy.
Part of implementing a travel policy, no matter how simple, is educating your employees and ensuring they adopt your policies, many of which have been designed specifically to reduce business travel costs. Your employees need to know that they must book early, outside of 14 days, and why. They also need to know which suppliers they should be booking with and what procedures to follow, depending on their type of travel. Set up a log to track when flights are booked, the fare class and which airlines they’re booked with. Better yet, have your travel management company simply run a report to simplify this procedure and give you a comprehensive overview of your company’s travel. A travel management company can give you all the statistics you need about your company’s travel practices and booking habits.
By educating your employees on the importance of booking within policy, you put some of the responsibility on them for following the policies; they must take ownership. If you have difficulty enforcing the travel policy, implement an approval process for last-minute bookings to determine whether the additional costs are reasonable.
Training, implementation and reinforcement will go a long way toward reducing business travel costs and seeing savings.
Review fare rules.
Cancelled trips, lost fares and exchanges are all a part of reviewing the fare rules. Undoubtedly, some itineraries are going to change because a customer’s schedule has been altered or unexpected circumstances arise. If your company’s travel schedule changes quickly, you will lose a significant amount of money on non-refundable fares. In this case, it is better to book late than to book early and have to cancel or change. One cancelled or changed flight could cost you at least $200. Multiply that by several travellers a month and you could have quite a bill.
By educating your employees about reviewing fare rules and being certain about the timing of their meetings, you could save your bottom line several thousand dollars a year. It takes some discipline, but will be well worth the effort.
Review the best credit cards for your company.
You may not have considered issuing company credit cards to your travellers, but there are several money saving options to consider. There are a variety of options and what’s right for one company isn’t necessarily right for yours, making it worth the time to investigate all of your options. Check with several banks and companies before you decide on one. Some offer reduced foreign transaction rates or other useful perks such as lost luggage insurance, etc.
With statements, you would have one common statement; which will save time and money on reconciling numerous accounts and credit cards.
Utilizing corporate credit cards also allows you, the company, to build up loyalty points that can be turned in to tickets for future travellers. Not a bad deal!
Encourage carpooling wherever possible and enroll in car rental loyalty programs
Even employees travelling close to home can have an impact by carpooling to meetings nearby which will cut down on reported mileage. Also, when several employees are travelling further away, sharing a rental car will also save significant dollars. Do not forget the loyalty programs which can accumulate useful perks, such as free days or upgrades.
By executing these simple tips you should be able to immediately reduce business travel costs and begin to see considerable savings in your travel budget. If you have questions or do not know where to start, contact your travel manager or management company and they will gladly lead the way to leaner and greener pastures.
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