How to Save
Saving money on business travel is something every company seeks to do, for obvious reasons, but a balance must be struck between being thrifty and ensuring the employees travelling for business are reasonably comfortable and well looked after.
It might seem like the quickest way to save cash on professional trips is to book employees into 1 star hotels (or advise them to find a park bench) but generally speaking, that kind of policy doesn’t result in motivated, high-performing workers.
We’ve put together a few tips for this topic, that are actionable while maintaining the above balance.
Incentivise employees to spend less
Gently remind employees that just because there are limits for how much they are allowed to spend on things like meals and even fares, that’s not necessarily a directive to get as close to that limit as possible. Rather, it would be very much appreciated if they could take care of their various needs without feeling the need to max out. You could even incentivise in some way, rewarding those who spend the least with leisure add-ons and the like.
Use Business Class sparingly
Despite its name, it’s really not always necessary to fly Business Class, just on the basis that you’re travelling for business. Generally speaking, Business Class should only be reserved for the company’s highest levels of management (as in the CEO), and only in instances where the additional comfort could make all the difference. For example, if the top level management is travelling to negotiate a deal that could make the company £millions, it makes sense to invest in making them as comfortable and stress-free as possible.
Give employees good hardware
The better equipped travelling employees are, the more likely they will be to continue being productive while on the move, in airports and on the plane and the like. This is obviously going to be good for business, passively increasing the ROI of any given trip. Conversely, employees who are handed a biro and notepad probably won’t feel particularly motivated to produce their best work.
Be as flexible as possible
The more flexible you can be, the more travel options you will have, which will give you a wider range of choice when booking your business trip. This way, you can select the cheapest options - be those regarding flights or accommodation or something else - and you’ll probably enjoy a quieter travel experience at the same time (generally, the more booked up flights are, for example, the more expensive they become).
Only take necessary luggage
Even if you’re travelling long-haul, unless you’re going away for four days or more, it’s usually not necessary to check-in luggage, which always adds to overall ticket costs. Overhead cabins (especially on larger planes) have room for pretty sizeable carry-on bags. If you’re travelling to somewhere with a warm climate, you won’t need sweaters and coats and the like, which take up lots of bag room.
Have a clear travel expense policy
It’s crucial for employees on the move to know exactly what they’re allowed to spend company money on, and indeed how much. If you’re travel expense policy is vague and doesn’t set limits for various spends, you’ll soon find yourself in a situation where an employee is claiming back vast amounts. If you’re not able to point to a document that prohibited this, that they themselves have signed, it’s going to be difficult to refuse the claim.
Give employees clear objectives
Okay, so this is a fairly obvious one, but it’s super important that on any given business trip, you avoid sending employees just for the sake of it, or because their title suggests they’d be relevant to whatever the trip is. If everyone knows exactly what they are expected to achieve, with clearly defined objectives, then the ROI from the trip is going to be far more significant and traceable.
Book as far in advance as possible
It’s a common misconception that travel booked at the last minute is cheaper - the exact opposite is true. When it comes to flights, the way it works is this: airlines have fare brackets that get progressively more expensive as each bracket is filled. Or in other words, if there are only 10 seats left on a 200-seat plane, they will be far more expensive to purchase than the first 10 that were sold.
Use Ubers or Lyfts
Not that we have anything against metered cabbies, but the fact is, Uber and Lyft are insanely popular for a reason: they are usually significantly cheaper than traditional taxis. Therefore, it makes sense that if you or your employees need to use local taxis, you should use an Uber, Lyft or similar. Travellers who have downloaded our itinerary management app, Sam :], can book Ubers and Lyfts straight through that, which has the added benefit of recording journey time and price, making resulting expenses much easier to file.
Use a travel management service
There are tons of reasons to use a travel management service like FCBT, which we don’t have time to list here, but they all amount to the same thing: huge financial savings, huge time savings, and the experience of a professional organised trip, where everything has been figured out for you.
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