5 Tips To Save On Corporate Travel For Your Business
Even when it’s beneficial to travel, saving money is smart. Although it takes some effort to find money-saving methods, it’s worthwhile when it can boost the bottom line.
Traveling On Your Dime (As A Business Owner)
If you own your business, most corporate travel that you do will cost your business money. Typically, your clients will expect you to pay unless other arrangements were made. Plus, because you’re trying to generate business, you’ll usually travel to potential clients.
Going on business trips takes you away from your normal business duties. Although the internet has helped with this issue, it’s still inconvenient to be away from the office.
In addition, you may have employees that travel with you or on their own. You’ll need to pick up the cost for them, too. Learning what their preferences are and implementing travel policies can be great steps towards saving money on business trips.
Picking up the costs of travel should motivate you to find ways to save. It can also help you find alternatives whenever possible. You’ll have to determine when it makes sense to go on business trips or turn to alternatives.
Sometimes, you’ll have no choice. For example, if a client calls and needs you to solve a major problem for them, your physical presence can make a difference in calming the client. In these situations, it may not be possible to take advantage of savings.
Best Tactics To Save On Corporate Travel
We’ve identified five tactics that can help you save on corporate travel. You can try them all or choose the ones that make sense for your business and your employees. For instance, if you don’t have employees, the second option won’t be relevant.
If you have employees, it’s a good idea to implement corporate travel policies. This will help avoid misunderstandings about the types of travel expenses you’ll cover. However, you can work with your employees if they want to pay the difference for an updated room or a first class seat on a flight.
1. Ensure That Your Employees Are Well-Equipped
When you ask employees to go on business trips, it’s often to present ideas to clients. For presentations, employees will need equipment, and if they forget this equipment it’ll appear unprofessional.
If they forget equipment, employees may need to buy or rent it, which can be expensive. If they can’t find equipment to use, they’ll likely be stressed, which could affect their presentation and result in a lost sale. The income isn’t the only loss, as the reputation of your business is also at stake.
To avoid this situation, try to anticipate what employees will need before business trip. Provide a checklist that they can use before they leave the office or their homes. By making arrangements in advance, employees can focus on preparing for presentations instead of scrambling to find everything they need.
2. Implement Corporate Travel Policies
Without policies in place, employees may be tempted to overspend during their business travel. Some may do it on purpose, while others will do it because they don’t know what’s allowed. Corporate travel policies can prevent this situation and save your business money.
When you implement corporate travel policies, you can also protect your business. For instance, you may restrict employees from traveling with their main laptops to avoid thefts and protect sensitive information. In your policy, you can require employees to rent a laptop or use one provided by the company for business trips.
If you want to limit spending for employees, you can use prepaid business credit cards. This forces your employees to monitor their travel spending. However, it can also cause them to miss opportunities by not having access to funds. They may also encounter unexpected expenses.
Having policies in place ensures that employees know the rules that they’re expected to follow. There are always exceptions, but they’ll have to justify them.
3. Research Corporate Travel Credit Card Opportunities
Competition is fierce among business credit card companies. They continue to add new perks and rewards to entice business owners to sign up. Cards offering travel rewards often have some of the best perks. However, it’s usually only suitable for frequent travelers.
The cards offer points or other incentives on purchases that can be used to offset the costs of travel. Many of the rewards cards offer more points for purchases in the travel-related category. For business owners who use the cards often, these points can provide significant rewards, including free flights and discounted hotel stays.
When researching reward cards, be sure to carefully review the terms. Often, sign up bonuses are tempting, but the card terms may not be right for your business. Also, once you select a card, don’t forget to pay off the balances. Interest rates will likely negate the benefits received from your purchases.
4. Pick Optimal Flight Times And Weekdays For Travel
If you often fly often either for business or personal reasons, you know the rates for flights vary based on several factors. For example, it costs more to travel during the holidays. During the rest of the year, it’s usually cheaper to fly on weekdays.
If you don’t have someone dedicated to corporate travel planning, some websites handle this function. FareCompare.com can be used to find great deals on all travel-related activities. Expedia.com is another popular website that offers comparisons of travel activities.
A lesser-known savings technique is to call the airlines directly. Representatives from the airlines are trained in corporate travel management and can find great deals. These agents are familiar with the best times to fly and can search for the best rates. Being flexible will help get you the best deals possible.
5. Know When To Teleconference
Most likely, you’ve heard of the video call tool, Skype. This solution allows people to talk, instant message, and videoconference. There are other teleconferencing solutions available, but Skype is familiar to most people.
Because it’s available on smart devices, it’s easy for anyone with internet access to connect via Skype. Plus, it allows users to show each other their screens, which helps for presentations. You can also send files back and forth.
Teleconferencing solutions in the past required special equipment for both parties involved in the conversation. It was expensive and difficult to use. Further, the quality of the technology left a lot to be desired. Business owners felt it was easier to meet in-person instead.
With Skype, though, business travelers have a choice. Using Skype can save them money on travel. It still may make sense to go to the clients’ locations in certain situations. However, as your company establishes relationships with clients, using Skype may be the right choice.
The decision on when to travel vs. teleconference will depend on the circumstances, but will largely be driven by costs. The technology is no longer a constraint.
Our Final Thoughts
Travel is often a necessary aspect of running a business that can generate sales. However, the high costs can eat into profits. When business owners can find ways to save, the prospect of traveling becomes more acceptable.
Savings are possible when taking business trips, but so are alternatives like video conferencing. This choice becomes a part of a business strategy to optimize sales while lowering costs. Technology has become a crucial component of the strategy.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is using a travel agent a viable choice for planning business trips?
Most people believe that travel agents no longer exist or that they don’t have a useful purpose. However, this isn’t the case. Travel agents have connections and are great for helping their clients handle adverse situations. Corporate travel services can help you with many travel-related situations.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.