Business travel expenses can really add up quickly. In a 2015 study, PayStream Advisors reported that 63% of companies surveyed spent more than $100,000 annually on travel and expense costs. There is a critical balance between keeping employees happy on the road and protecting your bottom line. Keeping in mind that travel expenses include everything from meals and lodging, special events, and airline tickets, to gas and taxis, take a look at these tips to save money on your employees’ business travel.
Here are 4 tips to maximize your employee budget and save money on business travel expenses:
- Look for discounts - Corporate discounts are everywhere, and even small discounts can save your company a lot of money. To start, most hotels and airlines have corporate discount programs. According to Business Insider, you can take advantage of offers to save up to 25% off the normal retail price of airline tickets or hotel rooms. If you have large bookings, look into possible savings by working with a corporate travel agent. Travel agents often have exclusive deals and relationships with airlines, local hotels, and restaurants at your destination. Another great way to get discounts is through buying gift cards. Gift cards to The Cheesecake Factory, CVS Pharmacy or The Limited can help offset costs when it comes to corporate events, dining or helping employees out if they forgot a toothbrush or the airline lost their luggage. Buying gift cards in bulk can also save you a percentage of the cost when bulk discounting is available.
- Put in the time and research - Many of places in the travel process have hidden fees and extra expenses outside of the flat fee you expect to pay. It can be worthwhile to check out expenses ahead of time: see if the hotel has free Wi-Fi; check if it is cheaper to book flights during off-season; compare the prices of the hotel restaurant to other restaurants in the area; and check to see if the hotel has complimentary breakfast, or if you have to pay extra for it. Checking out these little business expenses ahead of time can save you money over time.
- Go off the beaten path - There are plenty of easy ways to save money on business travel if you don’t go for the most popular option. Look at flying to and from regional airports. While there may be fewer flight times available, tickets can be significantly cheaper than going through major international airports. Hotels right outside city limits are often a lot cheaper than their big city counterparts and usually have transportation options nearby.
- Utilize All of Your Resources- Utilizing resources, such as public transportation and ride sharing apps, like Uber and Lyft, are often cheaper than taking taxis or a livery service to your destination. Taking the subway instead of a taxi can make the difference between a $2.50 ride and a $40 ride. Also, try to book a hotel that has an airport shuttle to save the extra $50 or more driving fee just to get you to your room.
Here are a few more ways to help save money on business travel expenses.