Tricks to Hack Your Business Travel Budget
Now that most companies are working under a new fiscal year, you may find you need to stretch this year’s business travel budget a little further than before. Here are some of our favorite budget-saving techniques for making the most of your business travel dollars.
Look for hidden costs, and be wary of special “savings.” What looks like a savings could actually increase your costs in the long run. For example, you may find a cheaper hotel on the other side of town from your big meeting, but the commute will eat up the savings in taxi or Uber fees.
Similarly, if three people are visiting a client together, but all book travel separately, all three have to get to the hotel or client on their own. Even if the flights are cheaper, you may be able to reduce costs if everyone coordinates rides to and from the airport, and even stay in the same hotel. Some hotels will give discounts for multiple rooms, so call the hotel directly and ask for the sales desk.
Use technology whenever possible. There are a variety of mobile apps to help you keep track of expenses, such as apps that let you take photos of your receipts and build expense reports as you go. This eliminates the need to save all your receipts throughout the trip, and risk losing any. You can even export your reports and quickly share them with your finance department when you get back to the office.
Money saving apps for booking last-minute airfare and hotels, such as GTFO (Get The Flight Out), Hopper, and Hotel Tonight give you options when you need to hop a flight or stay another day on short notice.
Outsource the logistics. Small business owners usually don’t have the luxury of having a full time travel planner on staff. Coordinating the logistics of a trip can be challenging, especially if you’re trying to find cost cuts, and can take hours depending on the complexity of the trip. If you don’t have access to a travel agent and this work is too frustrating or time consuming, outsource your business travel coordination to a professional travel hacker.
Based on the idea that expertise saves time and energy, these consultants use their vast knowledge of travel systems, such as how to get the most for your reward points or miles to get you the best deals on a flight or hotel. One example of such a service is FlightFox. They work with businesses and individuals to “maximize value, convenience, comfort, benefits, and upgrades” for their clients
Some business travelers are satisfied with booking the first flight, or staying in the first hotel they find, figuring the company will pay for it. But savvy business travelers know there is a balance somewhere between under- and over-planning that saves both time and money. Travel hacking, technology, and price comparing can help you extend your budget to the end of the year, and keep you from going over.
How do you keep your business travel budget on track? Do you use any special services or service providers to manage your travel costs? Tell us about it in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.
Photo credit: David Jensen (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)