It’s tempting to want to penny pinch on business travel, and while doing so might help you cut costs, it won’t help company culture.
In this follow up to our popular post on common business travel costs no business should ever pay for, this post is a warning to not cut every business travel cost you can think of. Traveling is exhausting enough.
Here’s a list of do’s and don’t’s to help you save money while keeping employees happy.
Do’s for cutting business travel costs
DO encourage use of public transportation in major cities
You know it and I know it — driving in most major cities is ridiculous. So make sure your employees know it too. Unless their prompt attendance depends on hitching an Uber, encourage the use of public transportation. If your company uses Uber Business, then it’s up to your designated travel manager to approve and send cars to all employees. This ensures you only have approved transportation for upcoming meetings and events.
DO require flexible date ranges in travel request procedure
Most businesses default on NOT requiring employees to give date ranges unless there’s flexibility. Flip the story. Your travel request procedure should default on having employees provide date ranges. This way your travel manager can choose the most affordable trip. Account for surges in the city, think football finals. Even just a one day difference can save hundreds of dollars.
DO incentivize employees to cut costs
One surefire way to get employees to spend less on travel? Incentivize it. Use Rocketrip to give employees half of what they save on their trip budget or come up with an incentivization program that matches the state of travel at your company. Creating a culture of shared values and commitment does wonders for company culture, and this is just one opportunity to instill that.
DO encourage shared ground transportation for group events
Everyone is headed to the same [insert event here] and staying in the same [insert accommodation here]. So there’s really no excuse for taking separate cabs. Uber Business makes shared transportation easier to manage. Have the travel manager serving as Uber HQ send the needed number of cars at the right time. Your employees won’t leave each other behind — we hope.
DO have a pre-set list of travel policy compliance exceptions
72% of travel managers haven’t reached their goal for travel policy compliance. TravelPerk’s centralized platform helps companies achieve 95% compliance by applying the policy at the time of booking (and automating the approval process). You know that some trips will fall outside of policy, so make a list of 3-5 credible exceptions to make approval process more universal.
Don’ts for saving on business travel
DON’T make employees room with one another
After a busy work day, team retreat, or stressful pitch, your employees will be drained. Wanting to ensure return from an off-site is understandable, but it’s your responsibility to treat employees as people first. Be sure your time expectations are reasonable and that everyone has privacy when they need it. A rejuvenated team is a productive one. This isn’t summer camp, don’t be tempted to turn them into bunk mates.
DON’T allow last-minute bookings to become a habit
The best way to save on travel? Book in advance. This is always true for flights and usually true with hotels. Your travel manager might need to have a one-on-one with employees who procrastinate submitting their travel requests. Make it clear last minute trips are unacceptable and what the few exceptions include, like a key account crisis. If employees book for themselves, make sure your travel policy requires approval for trips booked less than two weeks in advance.
DON’T remove better cabin classes or other privileges from execs and frequent flyers
You can’t treat all of your business travelers the same. While you might choose to remove business class privileges for most employees, you should not strip all of your flyers of certain perks. TravelPerk Premium makes that distinction easier by supporting multiple policies and allowing you to spoil frequent flyers with our Executive Club, which includes free hotel upgrades and airport lounge passes.
DON’T write off alternative accommodation sources
Unless your company has negotiated corporate hotel rates, sticking with certain chains isn’t saving you any money. Neither is holding on to the star-rating system. If your travelers can’t book with alternative accommodations (like AirBnb) because of arbitrary rules, you might be committing costs-saving suicide. Especially for longer trips, AirBnb’s week rates can pay off big. Side note: TravelPerk integrates with AirBnb to keep trips on budget and within policy.
Yes, it is possible to succeed in cutting business travel costs without being a pest. Let other travel managers in on these tips by sharing this post.
TravelPerk is a free business travel booking tool that makes travelers, admins, and CFOs happy. Sign up your team today.