Business travel is a crucial component of running many businesses. Even though technological advancements have made virtual meetings possible, there is still the necessity and the advantage of face-to-face appointments in fostering key business relationships. The downfall with business travel is that it is expensive. Airline tickets, hotel stays, car rentals, and food are the major expenses. Here are some ways businesses can lower travel expenses.
The timing of a business trip can impact the cost of travel as is the case when booking travel at the last minute. While some last-minute travel is inevitable, it is best to book travel further out to save on costs. Airline tickets, rental cars, and hotel rooms are all at a premium when they are required last minute.
Another way to reduce travel expenses is to plan as many meetings and events during one trip to the same area. Airfare is a significant portion of travel costs, and reducing the number of trips to the same place, even if a trip needs to be longer, can cut costs. Also, if multiple employees need to travel to the same area, even for different reasons, coordinating their trips can reduce expenses by splitting some costs such as sharing a rental car.
Most major hotel chains, airlines, and car rental companies offer rewards programs for loyal customers. These programs reward return customers with perks such as discounts and even free stays in hotels, free airline tickets, and free car rental days. However, these rewards programs are usually on a points system, with points accrued based on how often the customer uses the services. The key to maximizing points and rewards is brand loyalty. To get more free days, a business should pick a car rental company, a hotel group, and an airline to maximize points. Brand loyalty has a drawback. It reduces a business’ choice when it comes to planning travel. For example, if a business collects loyalty points on airline A, but airline B has a more affordable and more convenient flight, it would make sense to book the flight on airline B and forgo the rewards points earned on airline A.
Travel Credit Cards
Another way a business can save on travel is by having a credit card that offers travel rewards. The credit card could be used by the business for various operating expenses that it would have to pay regardless, and the points could be put toward travel, thereby reducing the cost of travel.
For a business that sends multiple employees on business trips, it is possible to negotiate corporate rates with hotel chains and car rental companies. Hotel companies are frequently trying to reward business travelers. Even if a corporate rate is not offered, business travelers can obtain other perks such as a free happy hour, a complimentary breakfast, or free internet access. Any of these perks could help lower the cost of traveling for business.