For most companies around the world, travel is a vital aspect of their business endeavors. However, travel can also turn out to be one of the largest expenses a company can be faced with, especially when it comes to smaller businesses, ultimately affecting the profitability of the company altogether.
For that reason, understanding how to keep your travel expenses under control can be one of the most important things you could learn as a business owner, particularly when it comes to increasing revenue. To that end, here are some of the most efficient ways to cut your business travel costs and increase your profits:
Perform a Detailed Audit First
The first step to reducing any expenses, including those pertaining to business travel, should be performing a detailed audit of the travel program your company offers. This will allow you to determine the exact amount you spend on an average business trip and pinpoint the area in which most money is spent. That way, you will be able to cut some costs where higher expenses aren’t quite necessary and make a more suitable checklist for your next trip.
Book More Affordable Flights
As flights tend to be at the top of the expenses list for most companies, a good way to earn money while traveling would be to avoid last-minute flights whenever possible, downgrade to the economy when business class is not necessary, and opt for low-cost companies to save money on frequent flights.
If you have some room for flexibility, you might also be able to cut travel expenses by booking flights in the middle of the week, making reservations as far in advance as possible, and opting for layovers whenever you can. While these practices might sacrifice the comfort of your employees when traveling, the savings will be well worth the effort.
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Take Advantage of Loyalty Programs
A growing trend among American business owners, for instance, is staying loyal to only one company for all business travel. Considering the fact that most airlines and hotel chains around the world offer some sort of rewards program for their frequent customers, it might be a good way for you to save on travel expenses as well.
However, as your employees will most likely also require an allowance for everyday expenses when traveling, consider getting good travel credit cards for your company as well, which might provide you with cashback opportunities, discounts, or even free services.
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Consider Car Rental Options
Another good way to reduce some of your travel costs is to take a cue from Australian business travelers. Considering the vastness of the country, Australians simply can’t seem to avoid frequent flights. For that reason, they often opt for reliable car hire at Perth airport, for example, and take care of their business from the comfort of their own vehicle.
It would be wise to consider renting a car as soon as you land as well, and take advantage of the convenience a personal vehicle provides. Apart from being a great way to save time and make all necessary meetings, car hire will also turn out to be a much more affordable option than taxis in major cities, and it might also provide the opportunity for several of your employees to carpool together, thus cutting some additional travel expenses.
Focus on Employee Productivity
When the company takes care of the administration aspect of business trips, such as booking flights and hotels, coordinating transportation, and organizing schedules, it might help to relieve some of your employee’s stress, allowing them to focus more on the business side of their trip, instead of wasting their time on details.
However, it’s still important to remember that the employee is traveling for work, rather than going on vacation, which is why it would be quite beneficial to allocate a set, appropriate amount of working hours during the trip, and consider including some informative seminars or conferences into their work schedule as well.
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Rethink the Perks Your Offer
In recent years, many companies have grown to be quite lenient when it comes to business trips, offering to reimburse everything from first-class upgrades and mini-bar drinks and snacks to tickets for sporting events and concerts. Although these perks offer some comfort, relaxation, and leisure time, they aren’t exactly necessary for traveling employees and can be one of the easiest areas to reduce some additional travel expenses.
If you still wish to treat your employees occasionally, offer these perks as rewards for successful meetings and closed deals. That way, you will incentivize your team to work harder on their business trips and make a profit for your company, while still cutting some costs on additional bonuses and benefits.
Move Your Business Online
Arguably the best way to reduce the costs of business travel is to not go on a business trip at all. Of course, in-person meetings are essential sometimes, especially when it comes to networking and building strong business relationships. However, whenever a face-to-face meeting isn’t exactly necessary, a much better and more affordable option would be to hold meetings online, via trusted video platforms such as Skype or Zoom.
This can be quite an efficient way of checking in with your clients, taking care of any final details, or even presenting new projects and products, without having to invest any money at all on costly business trips. Even though frequent travel might be an unavoidable aspect of most businesses, it doesn’t necessarily have to be your biggest expense, as long as you adhere to the helpful advice listed above.