Business owners often have to travel. You have to get to an important meeting or attend a business conference abroad. The fact of the matter is that all that traveling about costs money. Sometimes such expenses pay off, sometimes they don’t.
Either way, travel expenses are one of the main overhead costs that every business experiences. That being said, it’s not uncommon for companies to have financial issues. The first thing they try to cut down in such cases is overhead costs, which include traveling.
If you think that businesses don’t spend all that much on traveling, think again. As a matter of fact, global business travel expenses are estimated to reach $1.6 trillion in 2020. That’s close to the entire GDP of Australia. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can reduce your business traveling expenses.
Search for discounts to reduce expenses with business travel
If you have to travel somewhere, it doesn’t mean you should do it at a full price. A lot of business owners don’t really care about discounts or promotions. They just want to get to their destination on time. However, this luxury will eventually eat away at your budget and cash flow.
With that said, try to look for discounts wherever you can. Special promotions, such as first-minute or last-minute offers are generally much cheaper than the usual offers.
Aside from accommodations, you should try to get a discount on other travel expenses, such as flights, car rentals, and other costs. A lot of airlines provide up to 25% corporate discounts for companies and that’s something that you shouldn’t overlook easily.
Join a loyalty program
If you travel often, you might as well get the best of it. A lot of travel agencies and flight agencies offer a loyalty program to their clients. This is usually a tier-based program that entitles rewards for the most loyal customers. The higher the tier, the better the rewards are.
You should definitely take advantage of that, especially since more often than not, rewards include major discounts and other conveniences.
These loyalty programs extend beyond agencies themselves to their partners, such as hotels, motels, vehicle rentals, and other services. It’s not uncommon to earn enough rewards that will result in a free flight or a free stay at a hotel for a couple of days.
Explore different opportunities
Aside from the usual discount means, entrepreneurs rarely tend to explore further. This is a mistake, especially since you might miss out on a great opportunity to reduce travel expenses.
As an example, you can consider credit card comparison online. A lot of card issuers also have partnership programs that include discounts for using their services.
For instance, if you travel by car often, you can save on fuel on certain gas stations because you’re using a credit card where the issuer and the gas station are, indeed, partners. Even a small discount can mean a lot when cutting down on travel expenses.
Cut down on luxury to reduce expenses
Do you really need to stay at a five-star hotel or do you really need to fly first-class? The answer is probably no, but a lot of business owners feel as they deserve such treatment, in order to portray their status and reputation.
Luxury costs money that can be saved and used for other and more relevant purposes, such as developing and growing your business or investing in financial security should the situation become complicated, to say the least.
With that said, if you want to reduce travel expenses, luxury should be the first thing to go. You can always opt for low-cost airline service, look for accommodations through Airbnb or at the very least, use a train to travel instead of a plane. In any event, there’s always a way to cut corners and save money on travel if you’re willing to do so, to begin with.
Use travel agencies
Entrepreneurs prefer to let their assistants book flights, accommodations and other factors related to business traveling. Your assistants will normally look for the fastest solution at their disposal and not the cheapest.
Now, no one’s saying that you must always use the cheapest option available to you, but there are ways to get what you need for a reasonable price. This is where travel agencies and travel agents come in handy. They can help you find the ideal solution, instead of opting for the most expensive or the cheapest one.
Aside from ensuring discounts, agencies, and agents can provide valuable advice on how to make the trip without overspending.
For example, if you know there’s an international business conference in Tokyo next year and you plan to attend, they will advise you to make reservation months in advance instead of days so that you can get a better offer. What’s more, they use modern technology with real-time data and can inform you when the best deal comes up.
Traveling is an essential part of any business, there’s no point in denying that fact. However, as much as traveling is important for business owners it can also be a major expense. That’s why it’s important to be smart about it and find ways to reduce those expenses whenever it’s possible.
Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.