When you consider that savings need to be made when travelling for business, you know that there are going to be challenging choices. Do you book centrally, or do you allow individuals to make their own arrangements? There are of course pros and cons of both. However, there are always ways of keeping costs down without too many compromises. Here’s our list of top tips that are going to help you keep those costs to a minimum.
1. Tighten Up Your Travel Approval Process
Focus first on getting the fundamentals in order – a proper approvals process, along with guidelines on bookings and reservations, on-site spending and expenses. It’s essential that you set out clear procedures as these will help your business travellers make decisions that stay within your policy and don’t incur additional costs that hurt your bottom line.
From booking flights to meal allowances and handling expenses, there’s a lot to consider when setting out a business travel policy. That means there’s plenty that can slip through the net. Do you have a clear business travel policy? If so, how clear is it? Remember to take a close look at the details and think about whether it’s ample enough to cover every area of travel spend within your company. Quite often it’s not, however you need to start somewhere, and if need be, it can be developed as time goes by and those items that once slipped through the net can be caught.
2. The Pre-Trip Approval Process
Your starter for six is having a business travel policy with a pre-approval system in place for every booking. Make it super clear who everyone needs to go to for travel approval. This way you will avoid the issue of trips having to be cancelled after they’ve been booked, triggering that dreaded wasted expenditure.
Put a measure in place that means online booking confirmations are sent directly to the travel approver. This way you can take immediate action if the venture outside your travel policy.
3. Big Savings on Flights
Even with useful online search tools, airline tickets can be expensive, so it pays to be smart about which tickets you book. The easiest way of saving money here is being flexible on the dates of travel and airline you use, and by only booking Economy flights. However, once you book it’s usually cheaper to have a fixed travel plan.
Getting alerts for airfare promotions and discounted rates can also massively reduce your business travel costs. However, even without those, we’ve found utilising online and app search tools such as skyscanner.com to be massively beneficial to your bottom line.
4. Cutting The Cost Of Accommodation
Room rates can vary enormously, even within the same hotel, so being smart can deliver big savings. You may decide you want to let your business travellers choose where they want to stay. That’s fine – just make sure you set a budget threshold or star rating. You might also want to specify that standard rooms should be the required room type, and clearly outline whether you’ll be covering minibar charges, WiFi costs and so on.
At Signature Suites, WiFi is free and our room rates are always low to remain competitive amongst Peterborough hotels. Our standard rooms are well above what is considered standard in most hotels or serviced accommodation, ensuring that your stay or the stay of your employee is relaxing and energising. Calling direct when booking will also ensure that we can offer the best rate possible, better than what you will find in a hotel room search online.
5. Food And Transport – The Real Savers
You might find that giving employees control over their food and transport spending can actually reduce overspending. Meal expenses can be set as an overall allowance per day, giving the employee the choice of how much to spend individually on breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’ll always be exceptions – so keep that five-star restaurant in reserve for your highest-profile client meetings.
Signature Suites’ serviced accommodation rooms and suites are all equipped with a fully fitted out kitchenette – allowing your employees the ability to eat healthily and cheaply from the comfort of their own room.
When it comes to transport, you should clearly advise employees to choose the most cost-effective method, factoring in journey times. This could include using their own vehicles to get from A to B and then allowing them to submit their expenses after.
6. Save When You Plan Ahead
This is the golden rule when it comes to saving money in any sense. In the world of business travel, it’s always wise to book hotels and serviced accommodation in advance as they can dramatically increase in price nearer the time. Not to worry with Signature Suites though, we are always at the end of the phone and that one call will ensure savings that you didn’t think were possible… even at the last minute!
7. Avoid Or Plan For Travel Extras
Additional charges can come in many forms – such as WiFi and parking. Although these costs would easily add up at the end of a trip in most circumstances, Signature Suites will at least eradicate that part hidden extras with no charge. As we are centrally located in Peterborough’s entertainment and business centre, you’re already in a fantastic location with your stay. It’s worth noting though that even when you’re not staying with us, some business service providers can bundle these costs into one combined package, allowing easier budget control.
8. Doing What You Can For Employee Productivity
If your business travellers are spending less time organising their trip, they’re spending more time working – which is not only great for the company, but it’s often the most overlooked parts of saving money and removing frustration for employees. We’ve found that employees seem to share a common frustration when having to spend much more time doing tasks that could easily be reduced or eradicated with a negligible spend on a digital tool. Making their journey run as smoothly as possible at every stage will help them stay productive during their trip.
There you have some of our top tips on how to save money on business trips. Of course, every business will have different requirements depending on the line of business and the intricacies of the relationships within, however, the above is a solid start.
Do you have any more tips that we haven’t mentioned and you think they should be? Please get in touch and let us know.