Business travel is valuable, if not essential, to growth. Across different parts of the world, it facilitates the face-to-face interaction often needed to pursue new business opportunities, build critical relationships, and secure new deals.
Corporate travel should therefore be managed like any other controllable expense in your business. Taking a strategic rather than ad hoc approach, where travel and related entertainment activity is planned and measured, can create significant efficiencies and cost savings. Here are 10 practical tips for minimising the cost of business travel.
1. FCM Travel Solutions, Your business travel partner!
When it comes to business travel nothing beats having a business travel partner on board. A business travel expert is highly experienced, commercially driven and has exceptional product knowledge to deliver airfare and accommodation options that will have an immediate impact on your bottom line. Partner with a dedicated business travel partner and your business can expect travel management, advice and strategies that have been tailored specifically for individual corporate.
Expert travel management means that every cost saving opportunity will be explored for the overall financial benefit of your business. A travel consultant will also work closely with you to identify where your travel program will benefit from process and booking efficiencies.
2. Dedicated, personal and flexible service
Dedicated personal service means your business will be appointed its own account manager, travel manager or team to look after your every need. A dedicated travel manager will also work to a pre-determined service level agreement, which includes agreed-upon standards for services, priorities and responsibilities.
In addition find out what your travel provider’s operating hours are and if they offer extended work hours for easy access to your own travel team.
Work with your travel consultants to create efficiencies at every stage of the travel process. Are all of your booking, buying, account management and expense management systems operating as efficiently as possible?
The first step in creating efficiencies on your travel is to work with the one travel consultant; from here your business can look at options to simplify and streamline your processes with online and offline solutions. The less time your employees spend on organizing travel the more time they’ll have to focus on your core business.
4. Travel policy
A travel policy provides an essential framework for your travel. Amongst other things, a policy outlines how your people travel, where they stay, what cabin class they travel in, what hotels you stay at and if your company uses preferred suppliers.
The most successful business travel policies are concise, have clear mandates and are ‘owned’ internally by someone in your business that will work with your travel manager to measure, track and take corrective action for non-compliance.
Good policy design is a crucial aspect of maintaining cost containment across your travel program. A proactive travel consultant will not only help you develop a policy, but they will also help to implement and monitor the policy for company-wide compliance.
5. Value add services
Does your travel consultant have the global buying power and negotiating strength to provide you with special deals on a regular basis? Are you getting true value for money you’re your spend on travel?
If you're partnered with the right travel consultant, you should have access to a world of special travel deals, discounts and offers across leisure and corporate travel.
Value extras such as complimentary seat upgrades, flights, passes to airline lounges, room and car hire upgrades... the list is endless, you just have to make sure you're on the receiving end of these great deals.
6. Policy implementation
If you’re implementing a new travel policy or making changes to your existing travel policy, it is vital these changes are communicated properly to your employees. A travel policy should not only be communicated verbally but should sit on your intranet site with policy updates and changes clearly identified.
Your travel consultant can help you identify what implementation strategies are best suited to your business and which technology solutions will support your policy and promote traveller compliance.
Effective implementation of a travel policy involves educating your employees, so they know what is expected of them when they travel for business, which should lead to increased booking and cost efficiencies.
7. Traveller compliance
How well do your employees follow company guidelines for business travel? Are there areas in your travel program where improved compliance could save you more?
A lack of compliance among your travelling employees can result in significant ‘missed savings’ through unauthorized and non-compliant bookings for air, hotel and ground travel, which over the course of a year, or even a few months, can significantly erode potential savings.
A travel consultant will not only help you promote and maintain compliance but they will also identify where a lack of compliance is affecting your ability to save. Your travel consultant can also recommend strategies for your business to address non-compliance.
8. Preferred relationships with global suppliers
A business travel partner must have well established relationships with a wide range of local, national and global travel industry suppliers to ensure their corporate customers have access to the best prices and travel product. Find out what preferred relationships your travel manager has in place with air, hotel and car suppliers and how these partnerships benefit your business.
Business travel partner alliances with suppliers can deliver a world of travel benefits to your business from discounts to upgrades, priority service, special allocations and much more!
9. 24/7 emergency assistance
When partnering with a travel consultant, find out if they offer 24/7, global emergency assistance for your travellers. Emergency assistance is now a duty of care priority for companies with a mobile workforce. It is vital that your travelling employees have access to personal and experienced travel managers when an emergency strikes.
A travel consultant will take care of everything from bookings to insurance, visas and passport issues - your travel manager is your central point of contact. Your travel consultant will also be able to assess what alternatives are available during major flight disruptions to ensure there is minimal disruption for your people.
For many businesses time is money and when your employee time is being spent waiting in airports or trying to re-book travel during an emergency - the delay will come at a cost to your business.
10. Travel insurance
Without comprehensive travel insurance, businesses with staff on the move are leaving themselves open to a financial and possibly legal catastrophe. An overseas medical evacuation can cost upwards of $100,000, while a few weeks in an overseas hospital can be equally as expensive.
In addition, not all travel insurance policies offer the same level of cover and travellers should ensure they have cover for overseas medical.
Your travel consultant can help you select a reputable travel insurer with policies and financial cover that best suits your style of travel.