In this time of business uncertainty and financial strain, any advantage is worth taking. As the world starts to open up again, and corporate travel once again is possible, companies are struggling to get the most value, with the least risk.
We are here to help, with our Top Tips for Booking Corporate Travel.
1. Be Organised
Begin by familiarising yourself with your company’s travel policy and the appointed Travel Management Company (TMC). This will ensure that you conform to your company’s rules and that you have access to management information like personnel data and detailed expenditure breakdowns.
Organisation will save headache, money and time – not only for the one travelling, but for those booking and paying for the trips as well.
2. Loyalty Pays
Before booking travel, find out about any loyalty schemes on offer. These can be for flights, car rentals, hotels, meals and many other travel needs.
Membership of available schemes will usually mean lower prices, the ability to collect points, and other perks like upgrades, access to lounges and skipping queues.
Don’t feel like you need to limit yourself to one loyalty program either. Membership of more than one airline loyalty program, for example, might allow you to take advantage of whichever company is offering the best deals at any given time.
3. ‘Whole Trip’ Thinking
Just because a flight or hotel rate is lower than others, it doesn’t mean it best suits a particular trip. Consider the total cost – flights, taxis, hotel – and other factors like flexibility, customer service, and guarantees.
Being far from a meeting place, missing a departure time, or needing unforeseen flexibility in your schedule can mean big expenses if you don’t consider such things right from the beginning.
4. Advance Booking
In most cases, the earlier you book, the better the price you’ll get. The advantages go beyond price, though. You will have better choices of seating, meals, and might even benefit from sending meeting materials ahead of time using the postal system or couriers.
5. Flexible Dates
Always check alternate dates of departure and return. Altering your flights by a day or two can mean big savings.
If this means an extension to the trip, consider using the time to your advantage. This can mean setting up an additional meeting or allowing your employee a little tourist-time at a great rate.
6. Hold Flights
When you find a flight that seems to fit your needs, have your TMC hold it for you. This will allow you time to consult with your line manager or client, check for other deals, or complete any other last-minute tasks that may affect travel needs.
By holding the flight, you secure the quoted fare without having to lock yourself in.
7. Package Fares
Another potential money-saver is the package fare (also called ‘leisure fares’). In many cases, booking the flight along with hotel, hire car, and/or other features can mean overall savings. You might even get your whole trip for less than an airfare only quote!
8. Fly One Way… Twice!
Sometimes there are great deals on one-way fares, so if you can find two of them that suit your needs, you can save a lot. You don’t need to use the same airline for both flights, either, so cast your net wide when looking for deals.
If travelling by rail, a restricted ticket will ensure you get to your appointments on time, but a flexible fare for the way home will save money – and allow for meetings running over time!
9. VAT and Your TMC
When you book hotels in the UK, there is an easy way to save 20% right off the top.
Services like Expedia, Trivago or Booking.com don’t offer the same negotiated rates as your TMC, and don’t allow you to claim back the 20% VAT.
10. Pay the Right Way
This might mean extending your credit facility with your TMC or using a credit card with insurance for cancelled travel – do both if you can!
This will mean a delay in having to pay the fees, freeing up the funds to help with cash flow, and it will also mean peace of mind in the face of frequent cancellations due to travel restrictions and health risks.
Bonus – Safety Tips
Finally, keep safety in mind.
Catering is minimal on many flights, so bringing a packed lunch will ensure control over the food you eat – and that you get enough of it!
Where possible, use a hire car rather than mass public transport. It might cost a little more on the face of things, but when viewed alongside the risks of illness spreading through your offices, it may well be worth the outlay.
Businesses have a duty of care, too, to ensure that all employees have a safe work environment – even when travelling. Keep social distancing, adequate rest, access to safe food, and other factors in mind when booking corporate travel for your company.
If you want to make sure you have all of the current recommendations, feel free to give us a call – we’re always happy to help.