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How to Find Day-to-Day Savings in Your Travel Budget

Cutting down on travel expenses as a business will always be a challenge. Where would cuts make the most significant impact on profit margins — but not on productivity and staff satisfaction?

Setting up or tightening a business travel policy is a sure-fire way to get employees to make the best use of the system. Keep analyzing your employees’ travel data to see where savings can be made next time you book.

But before you launch into a detailed review of the latest expenses claims, ensuring employees have the flexibility to make savings ahead of a trip could mean you soon see an improvement in your projected travel costs.

Motivating employees to think more critically about their ongoing travel needs is the first step to improving the books, but there are a few other tips that can optimize your corporate travel policy further.

Airport options

Consider alternatives when deciding where to land for your next trip. You might be paying a premium for the convenience of landing closer to town, especially if there are multiple airports in one area. Check out the other options for flights, and take into account travel on arrival and returning to the airport, as well as the convenience of the transfer for the sake of your employees’ comfort. The difference could be significant.

Rentals and rates

As with airfare, demand for hotel rooms and rental cars has a variable effect on the rates you can expect to be charged. So before booking your hotel stay or car rental, find out if shifting business travel dates slightly has a significant impact on the cost—and plan for the difference in time.

Save money and work on the go

Unless you can arrange meetings in airport conference centers, you’ll need ground transport to ferry delegates around. Where those distances are far or the journey inconvenient, it makes sense to rent a car. But if the distances are negligible or time is less of a factor, your employees may find it easier and more convenient to make use of a pre-booked cab service. The price difference should be significant, and giving your team the chance to work while they travel—rather than having to keep their eyes on the road—could pay dividends in meeting prep.

Why fly?

Airplanes may represent the most time-conscious method of business travel if there’s a lot of ground to cover, but you could be missing out on sizeable savings if you don’t consider alternative forms of transport for shorter trips. Considering the average cost of a round-trip flight within the US, priced at $366.92, there are savings to be made by sacrificing speed (and a little comfort) by taking ground transport.

Average Amtrak ticket:           $140.36

Average Greyhound ticket:    $113.65

The added benefit of a train or bus is that they will drop off right in the center of a town or city – cutting out transfer costs.

Opting for one of these methods of transportation could save your company a lot of money if consistently integrated into your travel policy.

Plan in advance

A last-minute booking can drive up costs, so the sweet spot for booking can be weeks or months in advance. Try to pinpoint when the most cost-efficient bookings are being made and, if you know a major conference will likely be attracting an influx of professionals, book it as soon as you know the dates – for some of the bigger industry events, this can be months or even a year in advance.

You can set up alerts for specific or frequently-traveled routes to get the best deal. Amend your travel policy with the findings, making recommendations for employees to be more mindful of prospective meetings in the calendar, and when to begin scheduling them.

Partner up

The savvy sourcing of accommodation and hospitality options is a feature of any successful corporate travel policy. From bulk buying flights with the same provider to company loyalty discounts at hotel chains, your business will benefit from accrued savings every time a plane ticket or hotel room is booked. Business travelers can also be rewarded for their time on the road with these schemes.

Using Business Travel Solutions by Carlson Wagonlit Travel, you can ensure your travelers are mindful of the savings they need to make from the get-go, with options such as city and travel caps. Contact us today to find out how we can help deliver significant savings across your entire organization.