If you have a corporate career, then you probably travel extensively whether it’s regularly for an interstate business meeting or annually for an international conference. Travel expenses can be one of the biggest outgoings for businesses these days, however, reducing them can be done without sacrificing either travel comfort or efficiency. Here are 5 easy ways to reduce your travel costs.
#1 – Book flights and accommodation early
Sometimes you can’t avoid last-minute flight or accommodation bookings, however, you can save money on corporate travel if there’s an opportunity to book early. According to the travel fare aggregator website Skyscanner, 90% of us miss out on flight bargains because we book at the wrong time. In fact, around 42% of travellers book domestic flights two months prior which is actually when airfares tend to surge!
The best time to book domestic flights is around 21 weeks before you’re looking to travel, and email travel alerts and flight comparison apps are great ways to ensure you’re nabbing the best deals.
In terms of accommodation, hotel loyalty programs can reward loyal customers, and discounts can also be obtained via comparing hotel bookings sites or booking your accommodation directly with the hotel.
#2 – Know your employer’s travel policy
If travelling regularly is part of your day-to-day job, then you should be eligible for a travel allowance which should be paid for by your employer. The details of these will differ depending on your role, however, they’re usually found within your employment contract or your workplace’s travel policy.
This allowance covers things like food, accommodation and incidentals, and it may be paid to you before or after you travel. If it’s paid before you travel you also don’t have to use it all, which is why it’s worth looking at ways you can reduce your travel expenses prior to boarding your flight!
Outside of your travel allowance, you may be able to claim travel expenses when you submit your annual tax return. These can include short-term car hire and public transport costs including cab and uber fares.
#3 – Use your travel allowance wisely
If you’re looking to reduce corporate travel costs, then using your travel allowance wisely is a great first step! Transport costs are often one of the bigger expenses, so resist the urge to hire a car (unless the company pays for it of course!). Take advantage of your hotel’s free shuttle service if they have one, and book accommodation as near as possible to your business meeting or conference and walk to your destination. If that’s not practical, use comparison apps to get the best price for your taxi or uber fare.
Meal costs can also increase travel costs, so try and book a hotel that serves a complimentary breakfast. Research lunch venues online before you book (particularly if entertaining clients), and use apps to help you find the most cost-effective places to eat while you’re there. Avoid ordering room service in hotels, and if you’re lucky enough to be booked into a self-contained apartment, stock up the fridge and cook your own meals.
#4 – Join a frequent flyer program
If you’re not a member of a frequent flyer program, then you should be. Frequent flyer programs are a great way to save on travel costs, particularly if you travel frequently and/or overseas. The most important factor with these types of programs is remaining loyal to the airlines you are travelling with.
As a Qantas frequent flyer you can enjoy complimentary snacks in their lounges, get preferential access to upgrades, and gain preferred seating with partner airlines including American Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Emirates. With Virgin Australia, you can gain seating upgrades and also earn points on eligible flights when you book with any of their global travel partners. And both airlines also have accommodation, car hire and holiday and travel partners where you’ll have access to even more deals and discounts.
You also don’t have to fly to access the advantages of being a frequent flyer. Certain credit cards will allot frequent flyer points for every dollar you spend, you can gain points if you use restaurants, petrol stations and even supermarkets linked to programs, and you can also gain points if you shop at either airline’s online stores.
#5 – Use a Travel Management Company
If you work for a small-to-medium sized business and they don’t have an external travel management company (TMC) then they probably should, as there are real benefits to gain. TMC’s basically manage the budgeting, booking and analysis of a business’ travel policy performance.
Because TMC’s live and breathe business travel, they bring a wealth of experience and industry knowledge to the table, and their expertise will often well and truly cover the cost of their services. TMC’s can also provide advice on travel policy improvements, and can ensure your corporate travel program is efficient, consistent and systemised. They also keep travellers safe in terms of employing risk management strategies and ensuring all employees have access to emergency assistance where and when it’s needed.
Many TMC’s also allow employees access to things like low-fare search engines and online financial reporting that can help employees themselves reduce their business travel costs. And they can provide accurate data on the performance on your travel policy, from the travel spend of individual employees to the carbon footprint of your business.
But the most important advantage of using a TMC? Because they leverage their existing contracts and relationships with suppliers, they will negotiate fares and rates on your behalf which can result in substantial cost savings throughout every aspect of your travel budget.
Need a ride home after your financially rewarding business trip? CitiCar has all your business travel needs covered with our range of chauffeured cars and shuttles! Get in touch today on 1300 661 119.