Finding ways to save on employee corporate travel is a challenge, but there are ways to cut costs without compromising on the overall experience. From researching which airlines and hotels have the best deals to collaborating with your employees on ways to save money, these 8 tips will help you keep costs down and morale up.
1. Create a Clear Business Travel Policy
If corporate travel is common in your business, then creating a business travel policy is a must. Not only will a travel policy help you budget, it will also give your employees an accurate idea of what to expect when on a business trip.
Strong travel policies include details on how much compensation employees can expect to receive while traveling. These rates can vary based on the type of trip and the position the employee holds, but they must be consistent. Consult your budget and review past trips to come up with a plan that makes sense for your business. For starters you can use a company travel policy template from Workable.com and adjust it to your needs..
2. Set a Per Diem Amount that Fits Your Location
A trip’s budget will often depend on where your employees are traveling to. Some cities are much more expensive than others, so it makes sense to set a per diem amount based on location.
Research the cost of living in the cities that your employees travel to and adjust your per diem amounts to match them. It doesn’t make sense to allow for a lot of spending in remote towns, but it’s also unfair to give your employees a small stipend when they travel to New York or Chicago. Review your budget annually and make adjustments that make sense.
3. Research Hotel Corporate Rates
“Many hotels offer special corporate rates to businesses whose employees travel often, ” – informs Kellie, an administrator at Vancouver boutique hotel Carmana Plaza. – “Find a hotel brand that offers the best rates without sacrificing quality. Make sure your employees are happy with the hotel by surveying them periodically on their experiences.”
Once you’ve found a couple of good options, choose the one that’s closest to the airport and to the place your employee is traveling for work. Finding a hotel with a great location will help keep transportation costs low. If it comes down to choosing between one that’s close to the airport and one that’s close to the workplace, choose the one closest to the workplace.
4. Save on Airline Tickets
Saving on airline tickets can make a huge difference to the overall cost of a business trip. One way to save on tickets is to book them early. If you have an airline you like, you can also sign up for a rewards card and earn frequent flyer discounts with each flight. Here is a nice article on Thrillist.com with more life hacks to help you save on plane tickets.
There are also many apps and websites that will help you track the cheapest flights. Sign up to one of these sites and it will alert you when the cheapest deal comes up. You can then choose to book the tickets instantly.
5. Avoid Change and Cancellation Fees
Fees from changing or canceling bookings can easily add up. If you’re uncertain about the dates or specific details regarding an event, choose to book with airlines and hotels that have flexible cancellation policies.
Some businesses will let you pay an insurance fee that covers any cancellations, while others offer free cancellations up to 30 days after your purchase. Make sure you understand the company’s policy before booking with them. This is especially important if the conference location hasn’t been confirmed or if you’re not sure how many employees will attend.
6. Save on Transportation
Transportation fees can add up when employees are traveling to and from the workplace.
“Requiring that your employees use public transportation and shuttle services instead of taxis can help you save thousands. Give your employees all the information they need on local buses, trains, and subways so they can use them without added stress, ” – suggests Alex, a customer support manager at Abiding Limousines in Houston TX. – “Limo service or town cars aren’t really the cheapest means of transportation, however, if you really need to use them, opt for local companies as they tend to be less expensive than international ones.”
Many cities have trains, buses, or trams that will take you directly to the airport. Additionally, larger conferences often offer all attendees a complimentary shuttle service from hotels to the conference. Do your research to find out what the cheapest and most practical transportation solutions are.
7. Let Your Employees Come up with Saving Ideas
The employees that travel a lot for business will often be the ones with the best ideas on how to save on travel costs. Meet with your employees and brainstorm on how you can save. Offer your employees an incentive by making it into a competition. For example, whoever comes up with the most useful tip can win a voucher, a free lunch, or a flex day.
It’s important to listen to what your employees have to say. Not only will they have insights on where to save money, they might also know where you shouldn’t be cutting costs.
8. Reward Frugal Employees
Frugal employees are employees that consistently choose cost-effective options on their work trips. They choose public transportation, save money on food, and actively find ways to cut costs.
It’s important to reward employees that are going the extra mile to save the company money. Take time to thank them for their frugality and consider giving them incentives to keep saving money by offering them a store voucher, a gift basket, or a percentage of the money they saved on their trip.