Is your company struggling with keeping business travel expenses down? Finding savings while keeping employees safe and happy can be tricky, but there are cunning ways of cutting costs without compromising. These tricks come from savvy businesspeople who were once in the same situation, but now enjoy the best of both worlds.
Over the past few years, virtual business meetings have become not only more convenient but a necessity and many businesses opt for Zoom meetings rather than flying or driving out to locations. However, if you have meetings that require a visit to a far-away location, these are the best ways to save money on business travel.
Lease Business Cars
Transportation is a major hassle for businesses. On one hand, employees can’t be expected to use fuel using their own cars to travel to another city, but equally, buying a brand new company car outright is both expensive and risky given the position you’ll be in should it be damaged.
Car leasing is a third option that allows your business to have a company car without having to pay the full premium. Instead, you pay a monthly fee to loan the car for a number of years, meaning you get to enjoy the car straight from the factory.
As much as it is tempting to go for an affordable and practical model, remember that your employees are a reflection of the image of your business, and this includes the clothes they wear and the car they drive. Business leasing allows you to spend a bit more on a sophisticated executive model that would elevate the prestige of your company while keeping the books lighter.
Create a Corporate Business Travel Policy
The key to avoiding massive surprise expenditures is to set boundaries and guidelines with a company travel policy. Businesses set these parameters to instruct employees on how to plan their itineraries within set budgets and expectations.
Business travel policies cover a range of categories, such as appropriate spending for transportation, rental and accommodation, which will keep your budgets on a tight lock. In addition, it can include a set of rules of conduct for employees, such as booking economy or business class, using the approval process for booking a trip and limiting the permitted amount of spend afforded by the company.
Having a corporate business travel policy will also allow you to organise and negotiate hotel company rates. Hotels are more courteous to regular business travellers as they will use their services far more often, and thus will sweeten the deal with future discounted rates – another great money-saving tactic.
Use Airbnb Instead of Hotels
Accommodation is the biggest spend on any trip, especially a business trip. Hotels that have boardrooms and meeting rooms are at a premium, and if you’re dead-set on sticking to trusted brand-name hotel chains, you’re likely paying the price for doing so. But there are other ways for travellers to have assured accommodation for less if you widen your scope and consider other options.
Airbnb is an app-based service that allows you to book short-stay spaces from regular people rather than chain hotels – similar to Uber, but for short-stay accommodation. Like Uber, Airbnb has a rating system and safety precautions to ensure that your employees are safe, but if you’re booking a weekend trip in a major city, an Airbnb is often a massive price drop compared to standard hotels.
This option may not be suitable in every case, such as when the prices are on par with hotels or there simply aren’t any Airbnb destinations in that area. However, it should become a regular part of planning for a business trip, as it could save you enough to go again.
Booking well ahead of time is not only good practice to give your employees enough time to prepare, but will also save you money.
Early bookings are much cheaper than last-minute bookings in all aspects of the trip. Train and flight providers will start at a standard price and will gradually increase it as time goes on and demand grows higher, to the point where last-minute bookings will be a nasty shock. Equally, hotel companies in high-demand areas such as major cities will not hold back in setting the prices high as the booking date moves nearer, so the best way to stem the tide is to book early and negotiate corporate rates.
We recognise that sometimes, instances of a last-minute business trip are needed, in which case, you have to bite the bullet. But, if you have a scheduled trip a month in advance, get it booked and sorted now.