Travel costs are one of the most significant expenses that any company can incur. Travel managers are often concerned with how to reduce cost of travel so they can send employees on various business related tours without overstepping the allocated business budget. This does not simply mean asking employees to share rooms – such ideas are often seen as rather cheap and even offensive to the employee. There are many other ways one can reduce the cost of travel.
A thorough and extensive travel policy of the firm should be developed and implemented. This should include details about per diems in various locations, hotel chains that are preferred, reimbursements and limits that require a signature if they are exceeded. This policy should be presented to the employee before he embarks on any trip. Make employees sign the policy before they go and hold them to the letter of the law as was stated in the policy without prior authorization of exceptions. Make it clear that no reimbursement will be provided for expenses which were not part of the aforementioned policy.
Corporate rates with different hotels (common to your destinations) should be negotiated. Seek out hotels which provide amenities such as complimentary meals, refrigerators and bars in the room. The employee should be asked to stay in your approved hotel. And remaining loyal to a particular hotel will get you other benefits in time such as discounted prices.
Try to prefer privacy over luxury; many employees prefer staying in a private room. Make sure the cheaper hotel doesn’t lack in essential areas such as cleanliness and your employees should be happy. In order to track their satisfaction, survey them after their trip.
It’s also beneficial to consistently use a travel booking services. They will help you plan, save costs, adopt policies and maintain the budget in a satisfactory manner. One such service, the American Express Global Business Travel has a wide reach and good online presence.
Like with the hotel it’s better to use one airline and stick to their services in order to avail a corporate discount on every flight. Booking well in advance can save a lot of money.
Other areas such as meal and alcohol per diems and transportation should also be included in the policy. Vary the Diems by location; some places are much more expensive than others, NYC for example should have a larger daily allowance than a remote area.
If available, require that the employees use public transportation or shuttle services as opposed to taxis when traveling to the airport or meetings. If your employee is going to a conference they should use the free shuttle service that most conferences provide. Research the area where they’re going to see what mode of transportation would be the best (and most economical).
These tips will help reduce the cost of travel by a fair margin.