Travelling is an essential, yet often expensive, part of owning a business. Employee travel costs directly affect your bottom line, so as a business owner, it’s worthwhile finding ways to reduce these costs. Here are some simple hacks we’ve found, which can help you and your employees travel smarter – and get the most out of what you do spend:
- Implement a travel policy
If you’re a small and growing business, it may not have occurred to you that you need a travel policy. But when employees aren’t spending money out of their own pockets, it can be tempting for them to book the most convenient flight, even if it’s the most expensive one. Or to book a nicer hotel than is necessary, purely because they feel like a bit of pampering. To make things fairer and more uniform (and to cut costs!), a company travel policy is essential.
Things to include are whether employees are permitted to travel anything other than economy class. For example, you may state that any flight longer than six hours or flights for sales purposes can be business class, but any others need to be economy class. Your policy should also include things like what and how much can be expensed while your employees are away, which transfers/rental cars they can use, and the internal approval policy they need to go through before any trips can be booked. Remember to make this travel policy easy to understand, and convenient for all your employees to access.
Online travel management solution Travelit can assist in setting up a travel policy using its vast experience in all sectors and can tailor each company’s business travel parameters to reflect their unique travel policies. So, employees are automatically made aware of what is and isn’t within the policy during the booking process, saving time and streamlining process.
- Schedule and plan
Last minute travel is generally more expensive, so where possible, try and get your employees to schedule their trips well in advance. Look at the year ahead, and pick seasons or dates which are less popular. For example, travelling to Europe over the summer months or specific school holidays is generally more expensive due to the high demand for flights. Of course, there will always be last minute trips that need to be taken, but try and keep these the exception, rather than the rule.
- Do your research
While it’s vital to ensure that you have secured the cheapest flight or accommodation booking available, this can be tricky when they are so many options out there. Travelit searches all hotels and airlines, across the board, displaying them on one easily navigable screen. This unique technology automates the process, turning what could take your travel booker hours to research, into a handy five-minute exercise. This can also save businesses up to 30% plus on their total travel costs, as well as time – which helps improve productivity.
- Get rewarded
If your employees are travelling regularly, you may as well get the most out of it and join loyalty schemes that reward them, and your company, for trips taken. Frequent flyer programmes include things like discounts on flights, free upgrades, access to luxurious airport lounges (where they can also get more work done!), priority boarding, waiving of cancellation fees and various other perks. Not only will these perks boost morale during busy trips, but they’ll also help to cut costs for you as a company. Hotel reward programmes also offer their own benefits, where your employees can earn points, getting them access to retail gift cards, theatre and sporting event tickets, and more.
Don’t rest on your laurels. Every few months, sit down and crunch the numbers. Look for outliers and unnecessary spending when it comes to travel, highlight discrepancies and follow these up with the involved parties. Travelit also offers its users unique “missed savings reports”, which can help you shape your travel policy more efficiently, for even more savings.
As with any business expense, if you take a proactive approach to managing your company’s travel costs, you can keep them as lean as possible – which means you get the most bang for your travelling buck.