Are you noticing more of your employees traveling for business? You’re not alone. The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) reported 514 million business trips were taken in 2016. Why? Companies are finding that business travel is good business. Meeting with clients and prospective clients in person can generate more opportunities and build solid, lasting relationships.
Traveling doesn’t come without its costs, though, and when not done correctly, the effects can be felt on the bottom-line. But there are ways to save money while traveling that won’t affect the traveler or client experience. Here are three tips that can help your road warriors keep costs down on their next business trip:
Tip #1: Book at Least Three Weeks in Advance
Last minute travel, while sometimes unavoidable, can be costly. Tickets booked fewer than seven days prior to departure are, on average, 44% more expensive than the same ticket booked 15 days in advance. Those kind of numbers definitely add up after two or three trips.
Reducing the amount of last-minute trips means supporting your employees in multiple ways. First, make sure there are booking guidelines in your travel policy. If a last-minute trip is necessary, ensure there is an approval process in place so there are records for why it was needed and who approved it. Second, give your employees tools to find the lowest possible cost for a ticket, whether it be through a travel booking aggregator site or through a preferred travel agency.
Tip #2: Try Ridesharing Instead of Renting a Car
Unless an employee is going to be driving long hours during a client visit, a rental car doesn’t always make financial sense. With the popularity of rideshare growing, employees have many different and more cost effective modes of transportation available.
Again, make sure guidelines are outlined in your travel and expense policies for using a rideshare program. List preferred vendors and how an employee goes about documenting and expensing the ride. Many expense systems are starting to include rideshare as an option. Concur Expense, for example, has an Uber app that can be linked to a traveler's account, making expense reporting that much easier.
Tip #3: Research Meal Options Ahead of Time
Planning on dining with clients? A little research beforehand on restaurants in the area can go a long way towards keeping costs down. Have a few dining options ready that are within an approved budget range. This not only makes meal selection simpler, it keeps sticker shock at bay when the check arrives. Using tools such as Open Table and Yelp make finding a few eating options easier when traveling to an unfamiliar location.
Being Proactive Saves More in the Long Run
Stay one step ahead of your business travelers by having the tools and policies in place that will not only save money but make expense management easier. Keeping abreast of traveling trends and available tools is always a good place to start.
Want more money-saving tips? Join our on-demand webinar with Kiplinger, 23 Ways to Save on Business Travel, and learn 20 more ways you can save your company money on business travel and expenses.