While technology and the internet have enabled millions of companies to conduct their business all over the world, sometimes only face-to-face interaction will do. When people meet in person, communication is much clearer as it brings body language into the interaction. Businesses spend a huge amount of money on travel expenses for their employees, and without caution and careful planning, these expenses can spiral out of control. Reducing travel costs can be a big help when businesses are trying to reduce overheads, but it can be difficult to know where to start.
If your employees travel on a regular basis, here are some simple tips and ideas which might help you to reduce travel costs in your business.
Be flexible about travel dates
The cost of booking flights and hotels will vary greatly depending on the dates of travel, so you and your employees should be flexible about when they travel. Even if the date of a meeting is not flexible, arriving a few days earlier and working remotely may result in significant savings. Offer your employees multiple travel dates for a trip if you can so they can choose a date that is both convenient and low-cost.
Compare travel deals
To access the best deals, it is important to shop around and to compare multiple providers, but this can be time-consuming. There are lots of comparison websites which will provide you with prices from lots of different travel companies so you can choose the best deals. You can even compare airport parking prices with Parkon.com. Alternatively, you could partner with one carrier or a travel agent to access special offers. It can also help to book your flights at the last minute or far in advance.
Rewrite your travel policy
If your company does not have a travel policy that specifies how employees should book their trips (e.g., through a pre-approved travel agent), you should write a policy as soon as possible. If you have a travel policy but find that many employees do not follow it or become confused about its terms, it may be worth revisiting its wording to ensure it is simple and easy to understand.
Be clear about your expenses policy
Do you find that your employees regularly submit expense reports which are lacking in detail or include items that are covered by your policy? If so, it is time to revisit your expenses policy. Your policy should be detailed about what is covered, and you should specify how expense claims are submitted. For example, if an employee submits a receipt from a hotel but does not make it clear how much the room itself cost and how much was spent on food and drink, you may be paying for them to enjoy unnecessary luxuries.
Offer incentives for sticking to the budget
If you are asking your employees to reduce their travel expenses and stick to a budget, you should make sure that they are motivated to do so, or they may feel that you are not behaving fairly to them. Keeping travel expenses to a minimum, for example, might mean that you have more money to put towards annual pay reviews. You could also offer incentive schemes for employees who manage to stay under budget during their trips.