Travel for less – how to get the most out of your business travel budgets
When it comes to travel, trying to find the best options for your business can often be like trying to find the proverbial needle in the haystack. With so many online and offline channels available – all claiming to be the cheapest and the best – how do you know which one to choose?
Traveleads has been providing award-winning travel management to some of biggest names in business and some of Britain’s best loved brands for almost 50 years, so it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about travel. With offices in Leeds, London, Edinburgh and Aberdeen we asked them to compile a list of top tips to keep our members up to date on how to get the best deals when it comes to corporate travel.
The following guide has been compiled to help you take advantage of the best rates and fares available:
Airlines sell seats at different rates to achieve an average yield on each flight, the best-value seats sell first – so book early to secure the best price. Last minute deals only apply to package holidays, not corporate travel (Scheduled flights go on sale approximately 11 months in advance.)
MAINTAIN FLEXIBILITY IN YOUR DIARY PLANNING
If you are arranging a meeting, do a little research first (or contact your travel provider) so you can plan your schedule around the most economical travel options. Checking fares prior to confirming appointments can save considerable amounts of money.
BE OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS
Your travel provider will offer you the best value travel solutions within the parameters of your request. They will be better equipped to do this if you demonstrate a flexible approach to the options you are willing to consider. Simply tell them where you need to be, preferred dates, and an idea of your schedule and they will be able to carry out a more detailed search for you. The more flexible you are, the more options you will have to choose from.
CONSOLIDATE YOUR SPEND
If you are currently booking online through multiple channels you are significantly reducing your company’s buying power. Book all of your travel through one channel to maximise this, and also to obtain a clearer overview of your total travel spend. You don’t have to be a Global corporation to benefit from heightened buying power, when you channel your spend through a travel management company you immediately benefit from their buying power – which will be significantly more than going it alone.
TRAVEL QUOTES HAVE EXPIRY DATES
Most airlines offer their cheapest fares with a strict ‘book by date’, which means fares quoted have to be ticketed by a specific date in order to be valid. Many airlines will only guarantee fares quoted if booked on the same day, and low cost carriers are even more restrictive – only honouring prices shown at the time of booking. Once you have received a travel quote it is important that you confirm it as soon as possible to prevent the fare expiring – a re-quote will almost certainly be more expensive. Quotes for Rail tickets expire automatically at the end of the day – if your tickets have not been issued on the same day a re-quote will be required.
TRY NOT TO CHANGE YOUR BOOKING
Once your booking has been confirmed any amendments (if allowed) will come at a cost. This may be due to fees levied by operators, or down to the fact that the initial fare is no longer available, meaning you have to pay the difference. If you are meeting with colleagues from within your organisation and they make changes that affect your travel plans make them aware of the financial implications involved, and ask if they can stick to the original schedule to avoid unnecessary costs.
PREFERRED HOTEL PROGRAMS
Always utilise your company’s preferred hotel program! Only if your pre-approved hotels are unavailable should you consider other hotels. Your travel provider should hold a list of your organisations preferred hotels and should always offer these to you first. If you don’t have a corporate preferred hotel programme and would like more information please contact Traveleads and they will be delighted to discuss options available to you.
EXCESS BAGGAGE AND SPORTS EQUIPMENT
Make sure you notify your travel provider when booking if excess baggage or additional equipment needs to be included. Different airlines have different policies relating to excess and oversized baggage, your travel provider will be able to let you know which relevant airlines offer the most generous allowances, or negotiate on your behalf (where applicable). Paying when you check-in at the airport will always be more expensive.
WOULD A HIRE CAR BE MORE COST EFFECTIVE?
For shorter journeys it may be more cost effective to hire a car and drive, rather than using public transport. This also offers you greater freedom and flexibility as you are not restricted by transport timetables and can create your own schedule.
Contact your travel provider to obtain specially negotiated group fares – even for small groups of +7 people. Group fares can often deliver greater savings, along with a range of additional benefits
DON’T FOCUS ON LOYALTY SCHEMES
Loyalty schemes and frequent flyer programmes are designed to ensure the customer keeps coming back. This is not always the best option for your organisation. Travellers are lured into selecting more expensive options in order to achieve personal loyalty rewards. Good housekeeping and corporate responsibility should make the traveller conscientious in this respect. Remember that nearly all airlines operate reward schemes and travellers can enrol in multiple programmes? …that way you can always take the lowest fares and still benefit from any loyalty bonuses on offer.
MEETINGS & EVENTS
Always use on-site facilities before outsourcing your meeting room.
REVIEW YOUR TRAVEL POLICY
Most companies have some form of corporate travel policy in place, however many policies quickly become outdated or ineffective as travel patterns change. Carry our regular reviews of your travel policy and if you need help making revisions, or you’re unsure if it needs amending contact your travel management company. All good travel providers will offer you regular reviews of your travel policy, free of charge.
If you would like to know more about how your business can benefit from utilising the services of a professional travel management company please contact Traveleads on 0131 718 4000 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: David Walsh (Marketing Manager, Traveleads)