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Business Travel for Companies: Cost, TMCs and Online Booking.

Cost of Business Travel: Are the Increase in Fees Worth the Trip?

Common Travel Expenses

Most of the world may be getting back to normal after the worst of the pandemic, but one thing shows no signs of settling down: the cost of business travel.

The Covid-19 pandemic caused an 89% decline in US business travel. That’s an unprecedented impact, larger than the impact of either the Great Recession or 9/11. As a result, business travel expenses have spiraled out of control as airlines and hotels struggle to stay afloat.

But thanks to the pandemic, businesses all over the world have discovered the benefits of remote working. It’s possible to conduct meetings without the need for expensive corporate travel, and without exposing employees to potential health risks in transit. Is it still worth it to invest in business travel in 2022?

Keep reading, and we’ll talk you through the pros and cons of business travel – as well as some helpful tips to budget for those travel cost increases.

Business Travel Pros and Cons

Business travel has been the bread and butter of the air travel industry for years, accounting for roughly 12% of total journeys by air. But is it always worth the money?

On one hand, business travel is a great way to connect with colleagues or customers. Employees on business trips can network more effectively, forge stronger professional connections, and learn important new skills. Business travel can also be a valued perk for many employees, offering the chance to experience new cities and break out of their daily routine.

But even before the pandemic, travel was stressful – and Covid-19 has only made it worse. Airports all over the world are reporting long delays and cancellations. A delayed or cancelled flight can be demoralizing for employees in transit, reducing productivity for the entire business trip.

Employees may find it challenging to stay as productive as normal while on a business trip, even without travel complications. The disruption to routine can make it harder to keep up with regular work tasks on the road. This can lead to further stress for your employees, and potential damage to your bottom line.

Depending on the needs of your business, the benefits of business travel may or may not outweigh the drawbacks. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for your business in this unprecedented time.

Common Business Travel Expenses

Business travel isn’t all about plane tickets. Here are some common expenses that can add up quickly when you’re planning business travel.

Accommodation

Whether it’s a hotel or an Airbnb, any employees undertaking business travel will need a place to stay during their trip. But negotiating cost and convenience can be a minefield for anyone planning business travel, now more so than ever.

You’ll need to consider the price point of the accommodation, but also the distance from the planned destination and the comfort of your employees. It will definitely be cheaper for travelers to stay in hostels with shared sleeping spaces, but it will be much less comfortable and private for them.

It’s also important to remember the little things, like wifi for any employees who will need to work remotely while on the road. When you take all these factors into account, your costs can add up fast.

Transportation

Will travelers be able to use public transit to get from the hotel to their destination? What about a vehicle hire, or a private taxi?

If you save money by choosing a hotel far away from the destination, you may end up spending that money on helping your employees to get around instead. Public transit links can make transport expenses more manageable, but they may not be the most convenient option for your staff.

And if sustainability is a concern for your company, it’s worth considering whether vehicle hire or taxi fares are a good use of your travel budget.

Food and Drink

If employees are traveling for business, they will expect the company to cover their meals. Food and drink costs can vary between cities, so the best way to manage these costs to your business is to implement a clear policy on acceptable spending. Setting expectations will enable your staff to make better choices when traveling.

You will also need to consider the cost of any business dinners your staff will need to attend. Networking is a huge part of business travel, and dinner or drinks with a potential new client or partner can pay dividends in the long term.

Managing the Cost of Business Travel

So how can you keep your business travel under budget?

Anyone responsible for planning business travel needs to stay up to date on new developments within the industry. You should make sure you know the average costs of all your travel expenses. That way, you can budget for travel with the realities of the industry in mind.

You also need to plan for the unexpected. With the travel industry still in a state of flux thanks to the ongoing pandemic, your company will need to account for the possibility that something could go wrong. Budget for insurance, for potential late-stage rescheduling, and for a little extra time in case of transit delays.

Lastly, one of the best ways to save money when budgeting for business travel is to work with a travel manager. A good travel management company will help you stay on top of your travel spending, using its connections to secure preferential rates for your business.

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How to Book Business Travel Easily
How to book business travel effectively

Do you have a business trip coming up but are slightly stressed about the planning?

There’s a lot of preparation needed before you jet off on your trip. From booking your flight to your hotel and packing, it’s easy to become uptight in the hope that it all runs smoothly. Plus, you don’t want to forget anything that’s important for your trip.

But not to worry – we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together this guide on how to book business travel. Follow these tips and relax as you schedule your trip and it all goes to plan.

General Booking Tips

You might be more likely to be upgraded for your flight or hotel if you stick to a dress code that’s neat, smart, and tidy. So, it’s time to put on your best suit as you get ready for your trip. Also, to get your boost to better luxury, choosing an assigned seat can better your chances.

Try booking your flight incognito. Since it doesn’t allow for cookies, it can’t track your past search history.

Because of this, the booking site won’t be able to increase the flight price. But if you don’t go incognito, the search engine can trace your previous activity, causing you to have to pay more.

When booking your flight, it will be best to discuss flexible flight options with your colleagues. By being more open to extending your stay for an extra day or two, you might be able to lower the overall price of your trip. Careful research and planning won’t go amiss here.

Reduce Weight to Save on Booking

If you can, pack as light as possible. Think: what will I actually need to wear throughout my trip? You might be surprised that you don’t need as much as you originally thought.

For females, blouses can often be a better choice than sweaters. This is because they’re thinner and don’t take up as much room. 

Other tips for packing that can come in handy include:

  • Only bring the shoes you’re wearing
  • Keep a business travel bag pre-packed with essential items for your trips
  • Leave your more expensive luggage at home so that you avoid attracting thieves

 

This will help you free up more room to pack and be safe.

Rewards Points and Schemes

When flying business class, taking advantage of perks can help make your experience one to remember. With reward points and loyalty schemes, you get to enjoy privileges on top of your bookings.

Take the Platinum Card and Priority Pass schemes for example. With these, you can get access to a private airport and Delta lounges, along with Global Entry. What better way is there to relax into the experience in preparation for your flight?

With American Platinum Express rewards, you’ll also receive $200 to spend on in-flight services such as WiFi, food, and drink. Since we all know that flight prices can be expensive, these privileges are to be gladly welcomed.

Flight and Transport Tips

If your airline allows you to book your seat at the last minute, it might be best to do this. Think about it: flights often have cancelations. With a last-minute booking, you have a better chance of snapping a seat that’s close to the window. 

If you’re landed with a seat that’s in a position that you’re not happy with when you first booked your flight, this is a great option to take advantage of. If the upgrade comes at zero cost, then you’ve found yourself a bonus – you get a better seat for free!

When booking your car for parking while away on business, it’s not always easy to find a good space. This is especially true when you’re traveling to a busy city. 

To make sure you avoid the embarrassment of being late to a meeting, pre-book your parking online. Choose a marketplace like SpotHero, check your schedule, and book your spaces. Not only will this remove the stress of having to find a space, but it can save time too.

For convenience, look for flights that fly direct. Traveling for business already carries the stress of meeting clients and attending appointments, which can be eased by flying straight to your destination. An added benefit is that you avoid the chance of missing your connecting flight due to delays.

How to Book Business Travel the Easy Way?

We’ve given tips on how to book business travel so that your business can enjoy a smooth and successful trip.

Next, we’ll let you in an industry secret but introducing to you the concept of Travel Management Company or TMC for short. Read next and we’ll explain what Corporate Travel Management is, what it entails and how it can benefit your business if you plan your next corporate trip. 

Are you Looking for a TMC? Save From 10% to 12%

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What Is Corporate Travel Management and What Are the Benefits?

Reasons to consider a TMC

A lot has changed in the world of business over the past few years. A global pandemic has virtually eliminated the ability to go on business trips. With the world having reopened, the necessity to travel in person hasn’t diminished.

The problem is that booking and planning business trips are as much of a hassle as ever before. This is where corporate travel management comes in.

What is corporate travel management, exactly? It’s a service that takes care of all of the details for you. It finds the right bookings, logs the necessary data, and keeps track of all the expenses.

They also offer plenty of flexibility without sacrificing accountability for your employees. All you have to do is provide the ground rules and expectations, and they’ll work with you to iron out the rest. For a guide to the many benefits of corporate travel management, read on.

What Is Corporate Travel Management?

It makes the process of planning and executing business trips effortless. Managing your corporation travel demands can save your company money, improve accountability and boost efficiency, all while keeping your travelling employees happy.

 

No amount of remote meetings, emails, or phone calls can replace business trips. Sometimes you have to be there to ensure everything is operating smoothly. Being face to face or seeing something with your own eyes is a critical part of business.

Sending staff on business trips is often unavoidable for most mid to large-scale businesses. Smaller ones still need them but are more likely to send the owner. Regardless of the size of the company or the magnitude of the trip, one thing remains true.

Booking business trips is no easy task. Corporate travel management simplifies the process for you. Think of it like hiring a personal travel agent, but for your business.

A personal travel agent can find the right accommodations for the best prices, and even help plan any necessary itineraries. Many of them also offer flexible plans.

You can control the parameters of the trip and how it’s booked. You can also let your employees book and customize their business travel themselves. It’s possible to set a budget, to make sure everything is above board.

Generally, a corporate travel management company offers you control. You can give your employees as much freedom and accountability as you feel comfortable with. Or, if you like to run a tight ship, you can set hard boundaries that the management company will enforce.

Now that you have a rough idea of what corporate travel management is, let’s dive into the many benefits.

Benefits of Corporate Travel Management

So what is corporate travel management, and why should you use it? It would be an understatement to say that corporate travel management makes traveling for business easy. Most of the time you’d have to do it yourself as either an owner or an employee.

You’d catalog and submit expenses, or try to hold people accountable during the trip. Some larger companies hire a full-time team to deal with these arrangements. That can get expensive very quickly, and won’t offer you enough flexibility or savings.

When you go for corporate travel management you get experience, accountability, and freedom.

Simplifying the Booking Process

One of the biggest pains of corporate travel is all the bookings you need to do. There’s the hotel or Airbnb to consider, as well as a car. You might need train or rail passes, and you can’t forget about the plane tickets.

You could allow the employee to book everything, but that presents a major problem. This is the fact that putting it all on one person adds unnecessary stress. This is especially as we continue to see rising scarcity and prices for business travel.

Your employee might be on the way to closing a major deal that could make or break your company. The last you want is for them to feel burned out from the logistical rush of booking everything.

Corporate travel management deals with these issues. First off, it takes away the stress from you or your employees for booking. They’ll handle all of the accommodations, the travel, and the transportation.

They’ll also build an itinerary that minimizes costs and inefficiencies. This will allow your and your employees to focus on the business side of the trip.

Improved Accountability

Another major problem for business travel is accountability. If you give your employees too much freedom they could run up the expense bill. They might not mean to do this, but a combo of necessity and inexperience could leave you with a higher bill.

Corporate travel management can help keep this in check. Your company can provide the details of what’s needed and how much leeway you’ll allow, and they’ll do the rest. They’ll make sure that the expense bill is reasonable.

The reason they can do this is they have the experience and ability to find the deals you or your employees can’t. They can get the right bookings for cheaper prices. They can also set and work within a budget.

This is one of the major advantages of corporate travel management. They can create a business expense budget that is as flexible as you need it to be. This is necessary because every business trip incurs unforeseen costs.

The things you book, like transportation and lodgings, are easy to account for. Things get tricky when it comes to food and more impromptu expenses like taxis or Uber. Some companies like to give their employees that extra space if things come up.

Business dinners in particular can vary in expense. There can be many costs associated with entertaining a business partner as well. With corporate travel management, you can set the ground rules.

You can provide as much discretion as you deem necessary.

Keeping Track of Logistics

Corporate travel management does more than the logistics of booking and budgets. It keeps track of all the raw data and can analyze it for you. This is great not only for auditing expense accounts but for managing efficiency.

These services can help you pin down where, when, and how your business trips cost you money. They offer comprehensive breakdowns of how much each trip costs.

This also allows you to see the specifics of where the money went, which can help hold people accountable. Corporate travel management can also use that data to suggest strategies. They can help you boost efficiency and cut down on business trip expenses that aren’t worth it.

Each team works closely with the company that uses them to tailor the plans that work best. They can save you money, time, and resources, without unduly cutting employee freedom.

The Beauty of Corporate Travel Management

The answer to the question, what is corporate travel management, is simple. In general, it allows the process of planning and executing business trips easy. They can save money, improve accountability and efficiency, and keep your employees happy.

Why should you use an online travel booking tool?

Benefits of Online Booking Tools

The future of corporate travel is now in the hands of employees and corporations. The utilization of automated, integrated systems achieve all the goals corporations seem to have set for revenue related trips and get back on track from any financial strain that may have been caused by too much spending or not enough revenue coming through trip sales. 

Regardless of what kind of corporate travel system you use, online booking solutions with extensive network support can help. Whether it’s managed or unorganized, finding a TMC can help you create an automated solution that meets your every goal.

Some of the immediate benefits you can experience using TMC’s online booking tools are:

 

  • Capture all your travel data. 
  • Gain bird’s eye view consolidating travel spending data with a simplified dashboard.
  • Air, Car, Rail and Hotel accessible from one single online booking tool.
  • Make policy and compliance easy to understand and easy to adopt by your traveling employees. 
  • Ultimate employee freedom allowing traveling champions book and manage reservations on their own.

 

Just a few decades ago, all businesses in the travel sector relied on phone calls, word-of-mouth, and even telex. Some travelers simply landed at their destination, took a cab, and asked where the closest hotel was. There was no centralized reservation system, so you never really knew whether you had a comfortable room and a shower when reaching your destination. Traveling was a gamble, and it was risky. Planning a trip, booking hotels, and air tickets were daunting, risky, and painstakingly slow. 

However, things have changed tremendously during the past two decades. The internet brought new opportunities both for businesses active in the travel sector and the tourist. Online booking tools are important for any business looking for professional travel services. Now, business trips are easier, less risky, and can be adapted to your specific needs. Let’s take a look at the main benefits of using an online travel booking tool:

You save time and money

Are you planning a trip for your employees? If yes, there are multiple alternatives you can choose. Most companies contact the closest travel agency and choose one of their plans. Other companies prefer to plan the trips in-house, depending on their specific needs. However, working with a professional online booking tool, like Concur, can help you save a lot of money and time. 

You will get a comparison of multiple offers, both in terms of price, dates, locations, and other preferences. This helps you make the right decision, depending on your budget and time limitations. On average, airfare savings can go as high as 20 percent, which is quite an important amount, especially for larger groups. Savings can also occur because the booking process is simpler and more intuitive – you get multiple airfare choices, airport shuttle services, hotel reservations, and much more. The booking system becomes a full circle – this end-to-end system helps you save money and time.

It will increase employee efficiency

When you use a professional online booking tool for your business travel needs, you increase overall employee efficiency. Your employees can focus on their tasks. You won’t need to train and organize a special travel department in your company. You won’t have to spend extra resources on this department. This means you won’t waste time on unapproved travel, dead seasons, and poor travel experiences. What’s more, there is less room for error since the professional tool handles all your bookings and airfares. If errors do occur, you can talk with professionals to help you out. 

The employees and business goals are at the center of your travel program

Some companies have a simple travel program for employees – just a few business trips for certain employees. However, larger companies have an internally-managed travel program, with frequent business trips for most employees. No matter what type of travel program you have, Concur’s online booking tool offers you the best travel solution for your company. There’s an extensive list of travel suppliers to choose from; you can create your own travel program depending on your needs and achieve your travel and business goals.

You’ll be able to capture travel data, study data, and adapt your needs, no matter where it’s booked. The tool lets you see consolidated travel data on the dashboard, adapt your search, and see numerous details about your trips. You can also easily book hotels, cars, airfares, rail tickets, and everything you will need to have the perfect trip. Other features include policy compliance tools, making it easier for your employees to understand the legal aspect of business travel. The tool also lets your employees book travel on their own.

Your employees are empowered and take control at the same time

A good travel program lets you retain control but also grants employees the freedom to choose. You, as the manager, can select how the trip is taking place, where, its budget, and other important factors. On the other hand, the employees have their say on other aspects, such as hotel reservations or car and shuttle reservations. Concur’s online booking tool will support your needs, help you take control, and grant employees the freedom to choose. You can allow your employees to change reservations when needed, in real-time, share new itineraries, update itineraries, and get travel news or updates. You’ll get reliable, relevant travel data to help you make the right business decisions related to your trip. This will help you create the right budget, adapt to your needs and get more from your business trip.

You can ensure duty of care

Some travel plans are simply unrealistic. Going forward with them might mean increased costs, lost time, lost productivity, and other potential risks. A good online booking tool will determine whether your travel plans are feasible. The pre-trip approval process helps you avoid unconventional or risky travel plans – these can be easily shut down before they can become actual issues. Your employees will receive different levels of approval and functionality, letting them decide which part of the trip can be adapted. Responsibility is delegated appropriately, depending on each user and his or her seniority. Travel risk alerts are also an important feature – you can get tracking and risk alerts depending on your destination, time of travel, and mode of transportation. 

Travel policy compliance

A good online travel booking tool will help you with travel policy compliance. You can add or remove suppliers, certain features you may want to offer to your employees, and remove or add new options that are above or below price limits. You can negotiate special rates with suppliers, adopt rules and regulations, and much more. The app will also stop users from booking a trip that is not compliant with your rules. You simply set out the rules, and the trips are adapted to what you want when you want it. The approval is immediate if the trip is compliant.

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