Business travel can be a notoriously expensive feat – especially if employees have to travel to another state or elsewhere in the world. According to Statista, there were 371 million domestic business trips in 2022 alone, showing a clear resurgence following the pandemic.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to reduce the costs of an upcoming trip.
Why is business travel important?
Many large corporate companies integrate business travel into their employees’ schedules. Whether it’s a business trip to visit a client, meet with a supplier, or attend a conference, face-to-face contact with a stakeholder is an important part of a thriving company culture. It can help with networking and staff development, plus it can bring internal teams closer together, assuming the balance of work and leisure time is achieved.
However, it’s important to assign time to planning these trips to get the most out of them and also cut company costs. Here are some things to consider.
Assigning a travel budget is a good place to start. This means you can maneuver various components so that they fit within a set pot of money, therefore reducing the likelihood of overspending.
You should factor ‘hidden costs’ into your budget, such as seasonal price fluctuations in accommodation and travel, as well as tipping and international sales tax. You may also need to consider currency conversions. It’s all about getting full visibility of your costs before you begin planning.
Booking in advance
It’s a simple but effective approach – booking in advance can save significant amounts of money. Not only are prices likely to go up as time passes, but you’ll also limit your options when booking accommodation, as those that are the best value for money will be booked up.
The earlier work trips are established, the more chance those responsible for booking will have of securing the best deals on behalf of the company.
Choosing transport methods
The traveling itself can often become unproductive time, and if you want employees to get the most out of the trip, you may need to assess the best options. Another factor involves looking at the reliability of certain modes of transport.
Traveling executives may consider private jet fractional ownership which can help them to save money on the cost of private air travel. The comfortable seating layouts mean that employees can work effectively during the flight. In other cases, commercial flights or the train may be better suited, depending on the circumstances.
Accommodation and itinerary
Seasonal fluctuations mean that accommodation prices can fluctuate massively. That’s why booking ahead and surveying a wide range of options is so important to help make the trip a productive yet cost-effective one.
It is also helpful to plan the itinerary in advance for the same reason – you can save money by securing various tickets and activities at lower prices. Last-minute itineraries can be stressful to organize and can look unprofessional if employees are visiting a client, for example.
Don’t forget the incidental expenses
We often forget to factor in the incidental expenses while planning a business trip. These incident expenses include the additional expenses related to the services they are seeking.
Let me give you a quick example. You are visiting a restaurant or a hotel. Now, all the bookings can be made in advance. Further, there are provisions for reimbursements. However, in such cases, you may incur some extra costs, like paying tips to the servers. These tips should be a part of your incidental expenses.
The IRS says that incidental reimbursements are not necessary if there is already a claim from the employee for a standard meal allowance. However, if an employee has not placed their request for any standard meal allowance, they are eligible to get a separate $5 every day as their incidental expenses.
Take care of travel insurance and other safety requirements
The safety of the traveler was always a major element while planning business travel. However, ensuring the safety of the traveler became even more important after the Covid-19 era. We can say that today, travelers’ safety and insurance are two of the most important sections in your budget plan.
The travel company managing your trip will help you to choose the right insurance plan. You must invest in an insurance policy that will cover all the medical expenses before and after the trip. There also should be life insurance and contingency coverages. Contingency coverages include compensation for the loss of your luggage and delay in the scheduled flight.
The employee on business travel should have access to all the safety amenities, including gloves, sanitizers, and shields.
You need to make a detailed assessment of the safety requirements for an employee on a business trip. You need to decide and allocate the right amount with respect to the potential risks to the employee.
Expenses will always be higher for Bleisure trips
These days, many trips extend beyond the usual meetings and formal presentations. Those trips often extend beyond the employee’s core business responsibilities. Those trips include sightseeing or luxurious treatments at a posh resort or hotel.
This is a new concept that is slowly becoming more popular among business travelers these days. “THE AMERICAN HOTEL & LODGING ASSOCIATION 2022 STATE OF THE HOTEL INDUSTRY REPORT IN COLLABORATION WITH ACCENTURE” has highlighted how Bleisure is the newest and most happening concept for business travel these days.
The same report highlights that 89% of business travelers want personal leisure time with their business trips. Business companies and employees are choosing these business leisure or Bleisure trips because of two reasons. These are a way to appreciate an employee for their hard work. Further, some leisure activities related to the business trip also help the employee to destress and rejuvenate.
When an employee or a business stakeholder is on business travel, proper planning is very important. In this time of new-age travelers, everyone wants to be completely sure of the amenities, safety, and provisions for compensation.
So, if your business demands a lot of business traveling, you must chalk out a proper policy guideline. Take help from a professional business travel management company and a solicitor. The employees should have a clear picture of their compensation.
Also, it’s always better to have a reliable and experienced travel management company on board to make the necessary arrangements.