When it comes to business travel, most SMEs are itching to get back on the road! But this uptick in demand combined with lingering airline capacity issues, not to mention increasing fuel costs, means higher prices – at a time when most business’ budgets are under pressure.
Luckily, there are ways to make significant savings on business trips. It means making the shift from unmanaged travel to managed travel (in other words, partnering with the right travel management company) but you’ll reap the benefits when it comes to both time and money.
These days, booking travel isn’t actually about getting the cheapest rate. It’s about the T&Cs, flexibility and ease of booking – how does five minutes instead of 50 sound? Then there’s the access to an impressive range of deals and fares to think about, and instant support if a flight gets cancelled or needs to be rearranged.
More than that, it’s about looking at your costs from a higher vantage point and making savings across every step of the journey, from pre booking to what’s happening a month down the line.
Here are 7 ways to save time and money on business travel.
Look into your data
Imagine the value you’d get from seeing your actual travel numbers in black and white. Yes, you want to know what you’re spending on flights and hotels but there’s a bigger picture. For example, how often does your team travel? Can it be booked in advance?
There are endless ways of finding efficiencies and identifying small changes (big ones too) in order to get the most out of your travel budget. Our teams find new ways to optimise our customers’ travel spend every day.
Set the rules
Did you know that putting form travel rules, aka a travel policy, in place is the number one way to save money on travel? Let’s be honest, it’s very difficult to keep a handle on costs if everyone can book where, when and what they want.
Boundaries are good. And there don’t need to be many, even the simplest travel policies can make a huge difference.
But it helps to get it all on paper, including:
- The airlines you’d prefer your team to book with
- Guidelines around economy, premier and business class
- If there’s a cap on how much they can spend per night in a hotel
- Who gets to sign off on it all
Take the pressure off your ‘go to’ person
Many SMEs have one person who takes care of all the travel bookings. Often it’s tacked onto their day-to-day responsibilities, but they’re great at it so it’s easy to keep the status quo.
It can be a lot to keep on top of, especially if the team is growing quickly and travel requests are coming in thick and fast.
One of our clients, Holovis (the brains behind theme park rides and AR/VR experiences around the world), discovered this when their team grew from 32 to 125. As an experience design company, they needed to get their engineers and designers travelling across the globe, often in groups, and with multiple stops along the way. It all got a little complicated.
In-house travel bookers carry a lot of responsibility on their shoulders when it comes to managing requests, costs and post-trip admin. And you’ve really got to feel for them if things go wrong.
Corporate Traveller has saved Holovis plenty of time and money by taking care of all their bookings, including last-minute trips and changes. And if there is ever an incident or event (think unexpected border closures) we’re on hand to bring their travellers home.
Keep your team focused on the day job
Even when things go right, booking travel on the internet isn’t the best use of your team’s time. It can take up to 49 minutes (or more) to book a business trip on the internet by the time you’ve searched, compared prices, checked availability and booked. With a TMC onboard you’ll be able to do it in five minutes (and get the best available prices on the day).
To be blunt, is Mary in Sales spending too much time on InsertAirlineHere.com, when she should be closing deals or running sales training?
Trade SOS calls for 24-hour support
Why when things go wrong, is it always after hours? Bosses and travel arrangers get an SOS call from a distressed traveller late on a Saturday evening. Not how you want to spend your weekend – on hold to a call centre!
With the right travel partner, you’ll be never in that position. Dedicated after-hours support teams mean your travellers can go direct to the experts.
Make any crisis that bit more manageable
How do you even begin to measure the stress that unexpected travel changes or incidents causes your team, especially if they’ve been travelling through COVID? It’s not something you have to consider if you have a managed travel programme in place.
In any crisis, big or small, a TMC will take care of all the admin and arrangements as quickly and painlessly as possible. And they’ll ensure the related costs don’t go OTT!
It’s nice to know that when things go pear-shaped, a travel expert can take the reins.
Knowledge is power
In fact, this travel expertise is invaluable. You might be a pro at launching a start-up or running your business…but travel in 2022 is whole new ball game.
Our team has tonnes of experience and industry knowledge – and all the travel connections you could hope for (if things don’t go according to plan, we can get fees waived).
Knowledge is power. It’s why we’ve put together a SME Corporate Travel Toolkit. It’ll give you pointers on how to craft the perfect travel policy, where to find savings without compromising traveller safety, the pitfalls of unmanaged travel and so much more.