If you’re in charge of travel procurement in your organisation, you’re surely familiar with the challenges of making economic travel arrangements. Several factors affect travel decision making, many of which are not completely under your control—the date and time of the trip for instance. Does that sound familiar?
Here are a few ideas to help you and your organization make business travel plans that are reasonable in terms of cost as well as enjoyable for your employees and business clients.
Set an organization-wide travel policy
Set clear guidelines about what’s expected of employees during business travel. Budget constraints should obviously be one of the rules. There should be transparency throughout the process, from booking flight tickets and hotels to making restaurant choices. Visibility is important because this allows a manager or anyone in charge of travel procurement to check if all the decisions being taken comply with your travel policy. E.g. What is the per diem for food and transport? If there is a charge for alcohol on the bill, can that be reimbursed? If flight tickets in economy are not available, who can upgrade to business class? Who signs off on this?
Always make travel plans in the most efficient way possible
Think fewer days, less travel time, accessibility of venues, etc. while making your corporate travel plans. The sooner you wrap up a business meet, the lower your travel spends. Efficiency always pays. Check flight schedules. Flying out on a Thursday can be cheaper than on a Friday. Mid-day flights are also more economical.
Travel plans should always be made in advance
Most airlines and hotels offer discounts when you make advance bookings. While it’s not always possible, when it can be done, make sure you book flight tickets, reserve hotel rooms and make local travel arrangements in advance. Keep an eye out for cancellation charges though because you certainly don’t want to lose money in case plans change.
Instant discounts are better than long-term offers
While making travel arrangements you’re likely to come across two kinds of benefits on offer—one that gives you a discount on your payment right away and the other that gives you a discount or some other sort of benefit, say, the next time you choose the same brand. Always opt for first type of benefit because for a business, immediate availability of extra cash makes better sense.
Tie-up with a company that provides quality, yet affordable accommodation
There are numerous guest house and budget hotel chains that are open to tie-ups with business organizations. Services providers almost always offer special discounted rates for corporate bookings. Having specific service providers providing accommodation for your employees during business travel is hassle-free. More importantly, it’ll save money as it removes that variable of employees booking their own accommodation and getting it reimbursed. The one point you need to keep in mind though before partnering with a service provider is to make sure they are able to ensure good-quality accommodation every time.
Put a travel management company in charge
Travel procurement becomes a lot easier when you hand over that responsibility to a travel management company (TMC). Several businesses, especially large multinational companies, prefer doing this for several reasons. Here are a few.
- TMCs can help you make cost effective travel arrangements.
- TMCs can help your business set up an effective and efficient travel policy.
- Making a TMC in charge of your travel procurement means you automatically adhere to these travel policies.
Just make sure you choose a TMC that fits your budget because the fee you’ll be paying for their services should not off-set the savings.
The bottom line is to do all you can to reduce wastage. Travel expenses may not seem too remarkable on the surface, but they can have an appreciable effect on your business’ bottom line.