How SMEs can reduce the cost of business travel

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It can be quite a challenge to keep the costs of business travel down, especially if you happen to run a small to medium sized company. Most large businesses are able to take advantage of the plethora of corporate deals that hotels and airlines offer, but many SMEs often find that they are ineligible for them and end up paying more money. However, through the right amount of planning and organisation, you can reduce the costs of your company’s business travel. Here’s how:

Regulate Flight Costs

Over the last few years, international airlines have reduced their costs for flights, but are instead adding more incremental fees for things such as luggage check-ins, flight meals, speed boardings and seat upgrades. It’s always advisable to pack as light as possible so you don’t have to pay for any additional luggage. You will need to check the maximum allowance for hand luggage as this varies from airline to airline, so make recommendations to your staff so make sure their suitcases are the required size beforehand.

Have a Clear Travel Policy

Many small businesses often make the mistake of treating their business trips case by case and overlooking a strong travel policy. The reason why you should have a clear and set-out travel policy for all of your business trips is to ensure that your employees know what they can and cannot claim in expenses. You can also avoid any confusion by specifying the parameters for all permissible expenses, which will ultimately help to reign in the costs. Using one of the many travel management platforms out there like Egencia or Concur will help you to regulate spending and mitigate any risks.

Book Early

If you ever get the opportunity to book a business trip in advance, then you should definitely take it. While it’s true that there will be times when you need to book last minute, booking in advance means that you can get the best deals for not only flights and hotels, but also for transportation. Many SMEs let their employees arrange their own transport on business trips, and car hires offer the cheapest rates when booked in advance.

Accommodation

Sorting out the right accommodation for your business trips is one of the most important aspects when it comes to keeping your costs down. While some hotel chains are beginning to offer special loyalty deals for SMEs, there still remains a disparity when you compare the perks large corporations are afforded. If your business trips are longer than average or you have multiple employees flying out simultaneously, then a surefire way to reduce costs is to book accommodation in a group to lower costs.

Staying Off the Beaten Track

Nine times out of ten, business trips take place in capitals or major cities, where you will find prices heavily inflated compared to the national average. Choosing to stay in a nearby town or village is a really smart way to significantly lower travel expenses, and could even add up to major cost savings overall. Many small towns and villages are only a short commute away from the major business hubs, meaning that your employees can enjoy the best of both worlds and save money in the process. 

Check Exchange Rates

In many cases, employee overspending can make up almost a third of the entire travel budget. It goes without saying that your employees must always be mindful of the current exchange rate, and avoid changing money at airports where interest rates will be at their highest. While it can be tricky to bring these costs down for your small to medium sized company, thinking ahead and following these smart steps will definitely help in the long run.