Spending on business travel in India is set to reach a whopping $90 billion USD by the year 2030. India is currently number ten in the business travel segment. And, India will hit the top five in the next decade. Business travel comprises 25% of the total annual amount spent by Indian travellers. Out of this 80% is domestic travel. These statistics show the importance of travel in building business relationships. It also implies that business travel booking is a heavy expenditure on any corporate.
BUSINESS TRAVEL BOOKING: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Here is what companies can do to manage business travel in a productive way:
Have a strict company travel policy:
Firm guidelines have to be in place regarding business travel, and how much can be spent by the employees. Costs do not arise from the business travel booking itself. Food, accommodation, to and from commute; it all adds up to ringing up a big bill.
Proper procedure for approval of any business travel is a must. Hold employees accountable for their travel decisions and request a proper cost sheet. This will help to run a tight ship and avoid raking up unnecessary expenses. It is also important to have set cut-offs for travel reimbursements to make employees more mindful.
Assign a person to approve travel:
One way to cut costs on business travel booking is to assign someone to approve all travel. This way, you can avoid late cancellations. This will help the company to save money. Some employees can also be asked to pay for their own travel and accommodation. An online booking system would be a great way to keep track of all employees’ business travel booking data.
Save money on flights:
Business travel booking of flights can help reduce costs drastically if planned in advance. Economy flights should also be given preference. Sometimes a different date or a stop-over can result in a cheaper flight. Try to stick with one airline for all business travel booking for your company. In this way, you can utilise discounts, frequent flyer miles and promotions as and when they are available.
Cut down on other expenses:
Being prudent about choosing a hotel along with business travel booking can make a big difference in your company’s expenditure. Make a long term commitment with a hotel chain and negotiate bulk rates for your employees. It would also be beneficial to look for hotel deals with complimentary breakfast or appetizers. This will reduce food expenses which come with travelling off-site as well. Free Wifi will also go a long way.
Another smart way to save money is to request employees to use cheaper modes of public transport other than taxis. Small amounts spent on taxi fares do add up to a big amount at the end of the trip.
Use technology to communicate instead of travelling:
Wherever it is possible, try to use technology to hold business meetings instead of flying your employees down. You can try out Skype for Business and webinars for training. There is a learning curve and the comfort level to interact with clients, which we need to learn. However, if we can use it regularly, then it will save a tremendous amount spent on business travel booking.
Keep additional travel charges in mind:
Internet, parking, phone bills, laundry and other charges can ring up a big amount. These should be accounted for in your business travel budget beforehand. There are certain business service providers who can combine all these extras into your business travel booking. Adequate research is required to understand what is included and what is not.
Business travel booking doesn’t have to be stressful. It is imperative to plan ahead as much as possible in order to avoid last minute cancellations. Shift the responsibility of business travel booking to your employees, so that they are on time with reservations. Provide an allowance for food, accommodation and miscellaneous expenses. Give them the freedom to make their own choices about how to use this amount wisely. This will give rise to a healthy employer-employee relationship which is the backbone of any organisation. Those in leadership roles should also create a culture of cost-consciousness by “practising what they preach”. Keep these tips in mind when making a business travel booking for your employees and watch your travel budget fall into place.