For many firms, business travel is a necessary and invaluable expense. You and your employees may need to drive up and down the country or fly around the world to conduct business meetings, attend industry events, and pitch to prospective clients. These tips can have enormous benefits for seeking new business opportunities, liaising with partners, and keeping clients happy. But they can also be expensive.
Managing corporate travel expenses is a difficult challenge that businesses have to face, and it presents a delicate balancing act. How do you give your team everything they need to get the most from their business travel while cutting costs at the same time? Fortunately, many companies manage this juggling act very well, and with the right techniques and strategies, you can do the same.
Here are five tried-and-tested tips for reducing your business travel costs.
Refine your expenses policy
Employee expenses are a necessary part of business travel. If your team is on the road for multiple days at a time, you can’t expect them to cover the costs of their hotel stays or business lunches with clients. These costs rack up over time, and it’s only fair that they come out of the business travel budget. But when it comes to claiming expenses, there has to be a limit; otherwise, some cheeky team members might end up taking liberties with the company credit card. If you don’t have an expenses policy set in stone, it’s time to create one. This document should outline exactly what employees can claim for, and what they definitely cannot. For example, three meals a day, fuel, and accommodation should all be covered as an essential expenditure. But if your team hit the club for celebratory drinks after a successful sales pitch, then they should probably foot the bill themselves. You should also set a limit on how much staff can spend on their meals. You need to keep them fed, but a three-course meal at a fancy restaurant each night might be a step too far.
Outlining this policy clearly will set everyone’s expectations for what they can claim for, and will ensure you keep costs low on future business trips.
Conduct meetings remotely
Online collaboration technology has come so far in the past decade, to the point where there is often no need to conduct meetings face-to-face. Many tools like Microsoft Teams allow you not only to converse with remote meeting attendees but also to share screens and collaborate on projects together. For every meeting you hold, consider whether this could be hosted online rather than sending people out to offices up and down the country. Reducing the frequency of physical meetings will bring travel costs down massively.
Reduce the numbers
When sending team members to international expos or pitches, do you really need to send the entire sales team? Every additional person you send takes another big chunk out of your budget, so consider allocating fewer team members to these tasks. This will ensure the people you do send have to work more efficiently and allows you to keep valuable employees in the office for other important jobs.
Provide cost-effective transport
If you provide a company car for your employees, it should be cost-effective. There’s no need to send your team around the country in flashy vehicles. You just need something reliable that will get them from A to B as affordably as possible, ideally with low tax and fuel consumption. Take a look at some of the best-rated company cars for 2020. Before sending your cars out on long road trips, make sure you get them regularly serviced to prevent unnecessary breakdowns and malfunctions on the road. When you need to pay for repairs or replacement parts, try to shop around and get quotes to find the best deals on things like wheel and tyre packages. Coach your staff in safe and efficient driving techniques to minimise fuel consumption.
Make savings on bookings
Business travel often involves making a lot of reservations. You have to book train tickets, flights, car rentals, and hotel stays. And the costs of these bookings can really put a dent in your travel budget. Try to save money in this area by booking well in advance. Usually, travel and accommodation companies put their prices up at the last minute, so you can make a significant saving by planning ahead. You don’t need to put your employees up in five-star hotels or book business class plane tickets. Opt for a more sensible option, and you’ll save money every time.