Learning how to keep corporate travel costs down may seem daunting, but there are ways to keep the costs low. The key is to put processes in place to help you to save on every trip and make the most of each trip.
I know that one worry about keeping costs down is the idea that you are stressing out your employees by being harsh or too frugal. Well, don’t worry, you don’t have to! When you follow these tips, you can keep corporate travel costs down, while also keeping your employees happy.
Lowering corporate travel costs
Have a pre-approved travel schedule
You need to focus on only the really important trips and make just those. For example, if you have a Personal Support Worker (PSW) traveling for business, don't have them attend every healthcare conference in the country. Instead, stick to the ones that will truly improve their skills and help your overall business goals.
If you head out on every trip that looks beneficial, you are likely going to spend way too much money.
Set clear procedures
Setting clear corporate travel procedures for your employees as well as yourself will keep you held accountable for the decisions you make while traveling. Do not just head out with the corporate credit card and go nuts. Have a plan, have rules in place and follow them both to the T.
Focus on airline savings
Airline tickets can be costly, but they can also be quite cheap. You need to do what you can do to keep these costs down. Here are a couple of ways in which you can do that:
- Book only economy flights. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you are traveling for business, that means you need to pay the expense to travel business class. Economy flights are often very inexpensive, and unless you are on a really long flight, the class you fly doesn’t matter.
- Be flexible in your dates and times. Different days and different times are cheaper to fly, so be sure and keep that in mind when you book. Often the savings you will find when booking like this will more than cover an extra night of hotel costs, so even if you have to go a day early, it makes sense.
- Sign up for airfare promotions and alerts. Most airlines offer alerts to customers when they are having a big sale, so stay signed up for these to buy tickets in advance during sales like this.
- Buy from travel sites. Orbitz, Expedia, etc. are all great sites to buy your travel tickets on. You can find significant savings this way, and they often have sales on hotels too!
Set a budget
Set a budget to go along with your corporate travel. Of course, make sure you have a small amount of leeway for emergencies, but every trip must be budgeted for and planned out accordingly.
Additionally, at the beginning of your year, you need to set a travel budget for the year and stick within that.
Set daily allowances
Instead of setting trip allowances for travel expenses, you might find it easier to set daily allowances for food and other expenses while traveling.
This will keep you, and your employees focused on not spending their daily allowance on just one meal and will also make sure that each traveler puts more focus on choosing economic commuting choices for the day.
Book in advance
We all know that the earlier you book your tickets, the better. The same goes for hotel rooms.
That’s why when you know you have a trip coming up; you should be on the computer booking those tickets in advance. I’ve always found good savings around the 90-day mark.
Consider getting a corporate rewards travel credit card
Credit cards can be great, especially when travel is involved.
Just be sure that you find the best travel rewards cards you can and take advantage of the double miles and the cashback on travel purchases. It's so also a good idea to make sure whatever credit card you choose has top-notch fraud prevention protocols.
If you travel often, you will find significant savings this way.
At your corporate planning meetings, take a look at your goals for the year and plan your travel around that. What trips can help you reach your corporate goals and which ones won’t. You want to make sure and get the most bang for your buck.
Additionally, you want to plan as many of your corporate travel trips early in the year so that you can create your business schedule around those. If you need a little help planning, there are a lot of corporate travel management companies that you can contact. You will find that planning in advance can actually help save your company a significant amount of money. Happy travels!