The cost of business travel is increasing. Despite the rise in fuel prices, which have a direct effect on the cost of flights, rental car rates and other transportation services, there are still plenty of ways you can save your company some serious cash when it comes to take your next business trip.
Company travel policy
Create and implement a company wide travel policy. This policy should be in writing and distributed to all employees. It needs to be clear and set the guidelines for bookings, expense allowances and travel budgets.
When you have one person in charge of booking all of our company’s travel arrangements they will be able to find the best rates on flights, hotels and car rental. With this being their primary responsibility they will have a much better understanding of what deals can be taken advantage of, rather than each employee making their own bookings as a last minute detail of the business trip they are planning.
Book mid-priced hotel rooms
With the increase in business travel in the recent years, many 3 star hotels have been overhauled to accommodate business travelers for a fraction of the cost. Many now include wifi, breakfast and meeting rooms. However make sure your employees know that you aren’t footing the bill for room service or mini-bar charges.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate
Most hotels do offer corporate rates. Be sure to tell the hotel that you are booking travel for your company when checking on rates. If they don’t offer you a discount, then you can always let them know that you have narrowed down your search to their hotel and another hotel close by to see if that will loosen them up to a discount. Remember that empty rooms aren’t making them any money, which is why most hotels are willing to come down a bit from their advertised rate. But they won’t come down unless you ask.
Make you travel arrangements in advance
The cost of airlines, hotels and rental cars increase the closer it gets to your trip. In order to save money, be sure to book well in advance whenever possible.
Shop around for rental car prices, often there are other smaller rental car companies that can offer lower rates. These may not be the large agencies you will find at the airport but a lot of them will offer complimentary shuttle service in order to get your business.
Consider a shuttle or bus for large groups
Many shuttle and bus companies offer free wifi, video, parking and refreshments. They will also take your whole company for much less money than it would cost to fly.
Coach for domestic flights
The plane is going to get you where you need to go no matter what type of seat you are sitting in. So a consideration, is to only use business class on an international flight. However, this decision needs to be made when it makes the most sense and not used as a standard rule.
We hope that these suggestions have given you some good ideas on how you can make the most of your business travel budget.