Business travel was once seen as a luxury for the privileged few. Getting out of the office, flying first-class, staying in five star hotels, socialising with the client and having a seemingly inexhaustible entertainment account. It was a very expensive exercise. If those further down the company’s food chain had to travel, they went cattle class and were generally put up in flea-bitten motels. Not exactly the best way to inspire one’s staff.
The one question every company’s travel manager or accountant must ask is, “Is this trip really necessary?” Apart from the expense, it’s also time consuming, and why travel when you can use online meeting platforms instead?
Well, that’s because business travel is still vitally important. Nothing beats face-to-face interaction when chasing that ground-breaking deal. So, there needs to be a protocol in place that for employees at every level to adhere to in order to seriously save your company’s bottom line.
Nearly all expense related products focus on what happens after the money has been spent. Which is way too late. The only way a company could recoup those losses – if a massive deal wasn’t signed as a result of the excursion – is by…let’s just say there won’t be any Christmas bonuses or thirteenth cheques this year.
Thankfully, there are ways companies can control the travel spend from the moment the trip gets a “Yes”.
Have an effective pre-trip approval process.
Employ a risk management policy.
Book airline tickets and hotels as far in advance as possible.
Try not to hotel hop
When you find a reasonably priced hotel that ticks all the boxes in terms of location, comfort, quality of food and service, stick with them. Remember, hotels want your business. They are more likely to extend extra perks to companies who consistently send their staff to them than for the one-off traveller. Having said that, another way to save money is to stay in hotels one star less than normal. You’d be amazed at the thousands of dollars companies can save by doing this.
Don't play airline favourites
Don’t use favourite airlines, use those that offer good deals and frequent flyer miles. Use company credit cards to get frequent flyer miles discounts.
Use a company card
With a company card you can get up to a 9.1% discount versus a 5.9% without it for frequent air fares. There’s a possible 12.3% on hotels versus 9.5% and a 14.5% possible discount on rental cars as opposed to a 12.4% without one. Information Resource
Expect the unexpected
Unexpected things happen and your staff may need to make alternative arrangements on the fly, so to speak. So it’s important to have proper in-progress report back systems and audit trails. Both you and your staff need to know if their suggestions fit the budget. A clear, simple policy helps everyone.
Sounds easy enough doesn’t it? It can be. Having a system in place for all employees involved in decision making, documentation, reporting, together with those who physically make the journey can use, will make the entire travel process as efficient as possible for all.
When you consider that 77% of business travellers book their flights and hotels from a mobile device, it’s obvious that your platform needs to be able to function not only on the office desktop but also on mobile devices and be interlinked.
The platform shpuld have the following features for the traveller and Traveller Manager.
But What If..
But what if you’re a small company or only a freelancer? Isn’t this all a bit much? There’s nothing ‘only’ about it. You probably need to save money more than the big companies. Find a platform that will give you an easy to use online booking system tailor-made to suit your specific business and travel requirements.