By following a few simple rules, you can save valuable time for your business, and control your travel costs at the same time. Here are some tips to help with your company’s travel budget.
Once you’ve decided to take control of your business travel budget, start by implementing a company travel policy, creating a set of guidelines for both your business travelers and your travel bookers. This not only gives your travelers a clearer idea of what they can book but also avoids overspending. While the fine print on your travel policy is up to you, we’ve put together some best practices for reference.
Implement a travel policy
- List your preferred airlines and hotels. Dealing with fewer suppliers will give you additional leverage when negotiating hotel rates.
- Set a per night hotel budget for your travelers. Remember that some cities are more expensive than others and might need higher allowances.
- Set the classes of cabin that your employees can fly in. For example, you might want to encourage them to book in Premium Economy rather than Business Class on shorter flights to save costs.
- Include a hierarchy policy, allowing senior employees a higher travel budget than junior employees.
- Set out how far in advance travel should be booked in order to take advantage of advance booking rates.
- Make sure all employees are aware of who approves their travel and the process involved when requesting and booking it.
- Consider implementing a rule that all bookings are to be made within a certain margin of the cheapest available option.
- Book all travel through a Travel Management Company to increase the efficiency and ease of your booking process, remove the need for your staff to claim expenses, and take advantage of benefits such as exclusive rates and traveler extras.
Stay on top of account management
It’s important to keep track of what your employees are booking, how much they are spending and to amend your travel policy accordingly. Implement a regular review and update of your travel policy and make suggestions on how to reduce your spend.
To start, you should identify your high volume destinations and most used hotels and airlines, and negotiate better rates for them. Consider switching your preferred airlines to better value ones, and look at the most commonly used routes to see where savings can be made– you might choose to fly indirectly for example. Keep up to date with the latest airfare deals and ensure your employees are regularly trained on how to use your online booking systems to obtain the best rates. Better yet, save your employees the hard work and make use of a travel management company who will book, analyze and review your spend for you, while continually looking for new ways to save you money.
Increase your global buying power
Give your company access to the best rates on the market by working with a travel management company with a powerful global negotiation strength to get access to a wide range of airfare options.
Make use of your Travel Management Company’s airfare expertise
When using a TMC, you’ll be working with travel consultants who have often come from leisure travel or other corporate backgrounds within a travel group. They’ll be familiar with ticketing complex routes and will have intimate knowledge of the Amadeus global distribution system (GDS) used by most major airlines. Additionally, the company you’re working with should have an Air Product and Airfare team that are kept up to date with the latest fares, ensuring you always have access to the best rates.
Sign up for corporate loyalty programs
Save time and money and get rewards by signing up for corporate loyalty programs for your preferred airlines. Encouraging your staff to sign up for the airline’s/hotel’s individual traveler loyalty programs can often lead to benefits to your travelers at no additional cost to your company.
Look for unique travel offers
Cut costs by keeping an eye out for unique travel offers and making sure you take advantage of the additional benefits your TMC can offer. They should be delivering value to your business above and beyond the baseline savings. This could be anything from free upgrades to securing refunds for non-refundable tickets. Some TMCs have built longstanding relationships with airlines and hotels, which gives them the ability to add extras into the standard rates. These might include free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, or perhaps a free room upgrade on arrival.
Make use of travel technology
It’s essential to keep abreast of the latest developments in travel technology, as these can be your gateway to booking stress-free, discounted travel. For example, an online booking tool designed for simple point to point domestic or international travel could increase productivity for your travel bookers, as well as offering discounted transaction fees. One step beyond an online booking tool is a travel portal which can be used to create and manage traveler profiles, check and process visa requirements, and to house online booking tools for flights, hotels, car and rail.
At Corporate Traveler we’re dedicated to making corporate travel simpler, faster, and easier. Being globally connected and locally focused allows us to deliver custom solutions to help streamline your businesses travel management. To learn how Corporate Traveler can save IAAP members and customers time and money click here.