Business travel spending has steadily increased over the past couple of years. And it’s projected to keep growing. Corporate travel managers should be on the lookout for ways to save money without skimping on perks and amenities employees are accustomed to. Check these things off your list and start saving money on your corporate travel program.
Encourage virtual meetings instead
A foolproof way to save money on your corporate travel program is by encouraging employees to host virtual meetings instead. Skype, Slack video calls, and Google Hangouts are great options for more casual business conversations. WebEx, GoToMeeting, and Uberconference are perfect for formal meetings and even some sales calls. Holding meetings online might not be a viable alternative for every business trip. However, choosing virtual over in-person meetings even a handful of times throughout the year can really add up!
Have a consistent travel policy
Do you have a formal travel policy at your company? If not…. well, there’s no time like the present. Having a written travel policy in place will ensure that every trip is booked through the same channels, every employee abides by the same guidelines, and every expense is tracked the same way. Make sure to include details on spending rules, per diem rates, how to pay for expenses, and security guidelines.
Try not to book flights for peak days
This is not an exact science, but according to Airfare Watchdog, the cheapest days of the week to fly are typically Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If your travelers’ itineraries are flexible, try booking flights on non-peak days during the week so airfare will be lower (bonus — traffic won’t be as bad). It might not be necessary for employees to be on a trip for that long, but there’s always the option of encouraging them to stay an extra night or two!
Book at hotels where you have loyalty points or corporate rates
One of the perks of having a lot of frequent travelers on staff is the opportunity to score corporate rates and take advantage of loyalty programs. The caveat is that larger companies tend to get better rates than smaller companies because of high volume and negotiation power. Small businesses don’t always have to miss out on discounts, though. Joining an organization like Hotel Engine or CLC Lodging that provide corporate rates with hotels can result in big savings. Alternatively, there’s always the option of calling the hotel directly and asking them to honor a corporate rate!
…or use Airbnb
Another affordable lodging choice is Airbnb. And with the recent launch of Airbnb’s new tools for business, it’s a snap for travel managers to keep track of bookings. Airbnb also makes it easy to find “work-ready” homes, meaning homes with strong Wifi, 24-hour check-in, and notoriously responsive hosts.
Pay employees to save
Enticing employees to save on their travel expenses by paying them sounds a little counterintuitive. But the idea of incentivizing employees to save on travel actually sprouted at Google… and it’s catching on in the corporate world. Using an expense tracking tool like Rocketship can help you see exactly where employees are spending, and more importantly, where they’re saving. When the trip is wrapped up, you can give them a portion of what they saved.
Did you know you can also save money on parking? Learn about our corporate program here.