Business travel is an essential activity that your business needs to build new client relationships and foster existing relationships as well. It can help you network and extend your brand’s reach . However, it can often become a strain on your budgets and costing, especially as prices soar during certain times of the year for hotels, airfare and car rentals.
There are different ways to ensure that your operating budget doesn’t get compromised when it comes to planning business travel expenditure. Here are a few ways in which you can cut down on unnecessary costs that may be increasing your company’s business travel bills:
1. Make bookings well in advance:
Plan for your business trips as far as possible, and ensure that you book tickets at least two weeks in advance. Most online ticketing websites offer discounts for advance bookings. Booking in advance also ensures that you can avoid traveling during peak season. Make sure that you compare different flight booking websites in order to verify that you get the best price on the tickets.
2. Have video conferencing if possible:
Consider whether a meeting can be made into a video conference instead of a face-to-face discussion. There are a lot of excellent tools and software available to conduct video-conferences online, and keeping certain discussions over video-conference can significantly cut down on your business travel costs and time. You could prioritize and travel to meet the client for crucial discussions regarding the contract, or a new deal for example. Other discussions could be done via videoconference.
3. Encourage timely updation of expense reports:
Travel expense reports used to be manual, but a lot has changed and companies today use applications to track business travel expenses. Ensure that you build an efficient process wherein employees fill in their expenses on time. Encourage employees to file all receipts, bills and payments immediately after the trip. Collating this data can help you figure out how to manage travel expenses more efficiently.
4. Join a Frequent Flyer Programme:
If building up your business requires a lot of travel, consider joining the Frequent Flyer program of any airline. There are often a lot of concessions for frequent business travelers including great deals on car rentals and hotels as well for the city you choose to fly to. If you accumulate enough points you can sometimes be eligible for free flights.
5. Find free shuttle services:
Taxi fares from and to the airport, to the hotel and conference venue and so on add up. A way to save on unnecessary expenditure is also to find out if any free shuttle services from the airport are available at the time that the flight lands.
Most major airports offer shuttle services to and from major hotels as well. Business travel doesn’t need be expensive for your company as the above points prove – efficient planning for all business-related travel will ensure that your company is prepared to handle the costs properly. It will also help you track your company’s expenses in a more organized manner over the long term.