Business travel, while often necessary, can be expensive if you’re not proactive in keeping the costs down. Strategic planning and budgeting go a long way in reducing travel expenses so you don’t have to cut into your company’s bottom line. Additionally, if you think outside the box, you may be able to avoid traveling altogether while still fulfilling your business goals. Here are the ways in which you can reduce work related travel expenses.
1) Use Videoconferencing When Possible
Try to travel only when it’s absolutely necessary, and seek out alternative solutions whenever possible. While videoconferencing is not always an appropriate substitute for genuine face-to-face interactions, it can be a suitable option when traveling doesn’t fit in the budget. Before you book your next flight to meet with a client or partner, consider whether you could accomplish the same end goal by talking via Skype. When you need to sign paperwork, sending documents in the mail is much cheaper than traveling. Even skipping one business trip can help make the next essential trip more financially justifiable.
2) Set Travel Policies
If your employees are booking their own flights, it’s smart to have guidelines in place to keep expenses down. Whenever possible, employees should book flights in advance when flights are least expensive. Flying during off-peak seasons whenever possible and booking economy seats instead of business class are highly effective ways to pay less. It’s also a good idea to check multiple discount airfare sites to compare prices.
3) Avoid Incidental Costs
Sometimes the high cost of travel isn’t just due to the tickets. Expenses such as luggage fees, parking fees, rental vehicles and even airport meals can add up if you’re not careful. Before taking a trip, make a list of incidental expenses you may incur, and then brainstorm ways around them. For example, if the airline has a pricey fee for additional luggage, traveling light may be the way to go. Instead of paying for a rental car, you could take Uber to your destinations. QuickBooks offers fantastic expense tracking tools that help you to determine the best approach based on real data, rather than guesswork.
4) Sign Up for Rewards Programs
Airlines and hotel chains often offer loyal customers discounts on future purchases. If your company regularly uses the same services, you may be able to get discounted or even free flights and/or rooms. While those savings may not make a huge difference in a large corporation’s travel budget, they can work wonders for small businesses. Spend some time comparing the base expenses of various airlines and hotel chains, and then check their rewards programs to see which align most closely with your travel needs and habits. You may find that paying slightly more upfront is worth it if the company offers a generous rewards program.
Awareness is the key to keeping travel expenses at bay. When the business is covering the costs, it’s easy to forget that money still cuts into the company’s bottom line. You can also reduce local travel costs by sharing rides or taking the bus if it’s available in your location. These little steps may not seem like a big deal, but think of the bigger picture. The cost of hundreds of rides over the years adds up to a lot of money. Be on the lookout for the best deals, and the long-term savings can be quite significant.