- Use virtual meeting services
The first option is to do away with physical business travel whenever possible. Reconsider whether you need to attend a meeting or training session in person. Would a video conference work just as well? With tools like Skype, cloud services, and webinars, you may be able to whittle travel expenses down to cover just the essentials.
- Be consistent with bookings
For many entrepreneurs, Skype meetings won’t always cut it, in which case there are some other ways to cut costs. When you book travel, negotiate for corporate rates with international business chains. Make sure amenities like parking and Wi-Fi are included in room rates ahead of time to avoid surprises on the bill. Be consistent by booking your travel with the same airline or alliance, so that you can rack up frequent flyer miles for employees. Credit card companies also offer frequent flyer miles or travel perks, so use airline-affiliated cards for business expenses to earn points.
- Look for alternatives
Airline travel and hotels can be expensive, even with advance booking and corporate rates. Get creative and look at services like Airbnb for your lodging. This can save a great deal of money in expensive cities like London and New York, particularly for longer-term stays. Book flights out of regional airports to save money, or look at alternative forms of travel to avoid disruptions, like ferries or trains. Booking through companies like Ok-Ferry in Europe can save money by avoiding the usual plane routes. Train travel, particularly within Europe, can save money on accommodations if you reserve overnight journeys.
- Use a corporate travel agency
Many small business owners are used to the DIY work ethic, and with so many travel tools online it’s tempting to book everything yourself. Yet there are cost-saving benefits to using travel agencies. Many of these specialise in corporate travel, and have access to rates unavailable to the general public. While your company may not yet be big enough to secure bulk corporate rates, an agency can combine bookings to get these discounts on your behalf.