We’ve all heard the saying, ‘It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey.’ But let’s be honest, when it comes to company travel expenses, it’s definitely about the destination AND how much the journey costs. That being the case, below, we are going to take a look at some things most businesses will be able to do to cut the cost of company travel expenses, for a much healthier bottom line in the future!
1. Book in bulk – and ahead of time!
We Brits do love a good deal, don’t we? Well, one of the easiest ways to save on travel expenses is to simply book in bulk. Negotiating rates with airlines or train companies can lead to significant savings more often than not, as you will probably know. Oh, and always, always, always book in advance. Those last-minute bookings might seem heroic, but your wallet certainly won’t be singing your praises.
2. The wonder of workations
Ever heard of a workation? A surprising number of business owners haven’t and if you are one of them, this is something you should rectify immediately, especially if you want to cut the cost of your company travel expenses!
Okay, so what is a workation? It’s like a vacation, but, you know, with work. Instead of sending three people to three different locations, why not have them all travel to one spot? Doing this will give your team a change of scenery and cut down on the cost of multiple trips. Plus, shared experiences can really boost team morale, which is also, as you will most certainly know, good for business productivity, and your bottom line, too!
3. Use technology to your advantage
Why travel when you can have a meeting at the click of a button? Thanks to video conferencing tools, many meetings can be conducted online just as effectively as they have ever been conducted in person, maybe even more effectively, these days. It’s not just about Zoom or Skype; there are heaps of tools out there tailored for various business needs, so see what’s available, work out what works for your business, and fully embrace the digital age if you want to save heaps on the cost of travel expenses in the future.
4. The used car and van strategy
If you run a business that requires you to have your own transport on hand for yourself and your employees, then it pays to go down the used car and van route. Why? because, if your business often requires road travel, investing in a company vehicle can be cheaper in the long run than constantly renting. And don’t turn up your nose at used vehicles! A well-maintained, second-hand car or van can be just as reliable as a new one, but at a fraction of the price, and of course, having a company vehicle can be a surprisingly effective branding tool in London – slap on a logo, and you’re good to go!
5. Accommodation alternatives
Five-star hotels are lovely, but are they always necessary? Consider budget hotels, serviced apartments, or even reputable Airbnb properties if you’re serious about bringing those expense claims down. Oh, and if your employees are frequently visiting the same city, it might be worth negotiating a preferred rate with a hotel, so you can keep getting the best possible deal without having to work hard to find it each and every time.
6. Expense management tools
Keeping track of all the pennies and pounds can be, well, a bit of a faff. Enter expense management tools. These very convenient platforms make it easy to track and approve travel expenses. Some even offer insights into where you could be saving more. Tech to the rescue, once again!
7. Local cuisine over luxe dining
Instead of heading to the swankiest restaurant in town, why not encourage your employees to try out local (and often cheaper) eateries instead? Often, these are just as good, if not better, than those fancy restaurants that look good on paper, and often they are much cheaper too, so they’re great for feeding employees on the go, but also ideal for impressing clients, especially locals who will be impressed by your knowledge of the area, too.
8. Review and revise your travel policy
If the last time you looked at your company’s travel policy was when Take That first split up, it might be time for a review. Make sure your policy reflects current travel trends, tools, and prices as closely as possible because an outdated policy could be costing you more than you think.
9. Reward savings
You might also want to consider creating an incentive programme where employees can benefit from coming in under budget on their trips. Perhaps if they manage to save a certain percentage below the projected travel cost, they could receive a portion of that as a bonus. It’s a win-win – the company saves money, and employees get a little extra in their back pocket. So, as you can imagine, it can be a pretty effective strategy to use!
10. Flexible travel dates
A day here or there can make a massive difference in travel costs. If possible, allow your employees to have flexible travel dates. Flights on a Tuesday afternoon might be significantly cheaper than a Monday morning, for example. Not only that, but avoiding peak travel times means less hustle and bustle – a much more pleasant journey all round.
11. Use reward points and loyalty programmes
Many credit cards and travel companies offer reward points or loyalty programmes. So, if your company does a fair bit of travelling it is worth making use f them because the points will start to add up really swiftly and you can start cashing them in to pay for future trips, so you can send your employees all over the place for very little cost to your business at all.
12. Consider co-working spaces
If part of the travel expense costing you so much is renting a venue or office space, why not consider co-working spaces? They’re often cheaper than hiring out an entire office, and they come with the added bonus of networking opportunities. Your employees might just come back with a fresh business idea after mingling with fellow co-workers.
13. Encourage public transport
Taxis are undoubtedly a convenient way for employees to travel, as is Uber, but they can also be pricey, especially in big cities. That is why you should always try to encourage your employees to take public transport where possible. It’s not only cheaper but also a more sustainable option for us all. And hey, who doesn’t enjoy a good ride on the tube now and then?
14. Educate employees on best practices
Sometimes, it is fair to say, the best way to cut costs is to ensure everyone is on the same page. So, you might want to think about holding a session or workshop on best practices for business travel that everyone must attend. From booking tips to how to claim expenses, a little bit of education can go a long way to ensuring you pay a lot less, and that is what you want, right?
As you can see, there are lots of things you can do to bring down the crippling costs of travel and related expenses in your business, the only thing that is preventing you from doing so is you, so why not start working on some new travel policies for your company, bearing the above in mind, today?