No matter how sophisticated telecommuting and web conferencing have become, there will always be employee travel. Many clients still need that face-to-face interaction, and important meetings often require everyone to be in the same room to share documents and intermingle. Unfortunately, traveling is often expensive and takes a great deal of time to manage. A business owner has to make sure an employee has a flight, hotel, rental car, and money for meals all while making sure the day coordinates with the client or other business members.
For this reason, it is important that your company do everything they can to cut costs. One of the easiest ways to make this happen it by breaking down the trip into the different components that are absolutely necessary:
Top 4 Necessities of Employee Travel and How to Keep the Costs Low:
1.Food – You will definitely need to give your employees a way to buy food while on the trip. If you’re looking to save money, there should absolutely be restrictions on eating habits. First, employees should be given a certain amount of money, and then anything extra is on their own tab. You should ask to see all receipts for food purchased with the company funds to make sure that no employee is taking advantage of the “free food.” It’s also a good idea to find hotels that offer a free breakfast and ask your employees to please utilize the free breakfast. This will allow you to give out less money before a trip. Finally, urge employees to stay away from room service and bring their own snacks.
2. Car – Your employee will likely need to rent a car when they arrive. It is therefore a good idea for your company to try and sign up for car rental programs that some credit cards offer as a reward. Also consider talking with a popular rental car company directly to see if there is any sort of program you can get involved in. It’s also a good idea to stay way away from all the bells and whistles on a car (GPS, sunroof, etc.).
3. Hotel – The best way to get a good deal on a hotel is to book the room early. This can sometimes be difficult when it comes to business travel, but it’s worth it if you can plan ahead. Be sure to follow popular hotels on social networks and wait for any promotions or deals that may occur. If your employees travel often, consider talking to the hotel for a potential discount. Hotels usually love company travel guests, so they will likely do what they can to nab your business for the long hall.
4. Flight – The best way to save money on a flight is to build up airline miles through a credit card. Once you find a credit card that offers miles, use that card whenever possible! This will help you work toward free flights. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to shop around using websites such as Kayak.com to get the best deal. Try to have your employees avoid checking luggage if at all possible, and try and book the flight during the week as opposed to on a weekend.
Many companies will agree that employee travel is one of the most expensive “extra” aspects of a business. It’s easy to forget about employee travel, and therefore many companies are unprepared. However, if you follow a few of these simple steps you should be able to save on travel and spend your company money on better things—such as great web conferencing software. Do you have any more ideas about saving on employee travel?
Amanda Rodriguez is a writer for CreditCardCompare, a credit card comparison service based in Australia that gives small businesses and entrepreneurs a choice of cards. You can follow @thecreditletter for more.