4 Ways to Optimize Your Company’s Business Travel for Efficiency and Cost Savings

April 2, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

We may live in an age where people can work remotely and we don’t need to travel as much as we did 20 years ago. But if anything, there seems to be more business travel, not less.

In fact, business travel is essential to success in most industries: It takes up a large portion of resources, it means a lot of time spent doing something other than work, and the company is expected to cover all the employee’s living expenses on the road — food, lodging, transportation.

In fact, according to an Entrepreneur magazine article, business travel can claim up to 31 percent of a corporate budget.

Your business travel doesn't have to be stressful.To get your money’s worth the next time you or your employees have to travel for business, here are a few tips that should help you save money while still ensuring your staff is properly representing your company at your important meetings and conferences.

First, use a travel agency. For one thing, they’re plugged into all the deals and steals on hotel and airline costs, which add up over time. Plus, travel agents most often get paid commissions on the travel plans they book, rather than getting paid fees up front. So you’re not paying for the agent, the airlines and hotels are.

Lastly, consider the value of your employees’ time, especially their per hour cost. Rather than booking their own business travel, and thus losing those hours of productivity, you can recover that time by hiring a travel agency to make all your travel arrangements.

Second, create a corporate travel policy and stick with it. Rather than just coming up with suggestions and guidelines for best practices, make it a requirement for everyone to follow them. Create policies for things like meal stipends, preferred hotel and airline brands, reimbursement and receipts, and bleisure travel.

Be sure to get the input from your staff members so they’ll all feel a sense of ownership and buy-in. And we’ll take a risk and say, do not let your non-traveling employees dictate what the travel policies should be. We’ve seen business travel policies that look good on paper, but are a disaster in practice: 2-layover airplane tickets just to save $40, hotels in unsafe areas of town, travel itineraries that eat up a person’s weekend but doesn’t allow them time off to recoup those lost days.

Plan ahead. Think of the big picture and include everyone in your potential trips. Look at all planned trips and see if you can cut and consolidate. If you have two separate people flying to Atlanta and Nashville, is it possible to send one person to cover both cities? Are you flying people home for two days only to turn around and fly back out? Give them the option of a couple bleisure days between trips. You could ask them to cover their own hotel costs, but even if you paid for them yourself, it would still cost less than two roundtrip tickets for two separate trips.

Look for lower-priced alternatives. For example, an alternative airport with a rental car could be cheaper than a direct flight. For example, what are the money and time savings flying into Chicago’s Midway rather than O’Hare? Or are there nearby airports in smaller cities, such as Chattanooga instead of Nashville, Melbourne (Florida) instead of Orlando?

Regional airports typically cost less and they’re less hassle than the big-city hubs. They’ll have shorter lines, shorter wait times, and you can show up an hour before your flight instead of two hours; parking costs will often be lower as well. Plus, you can find significant savings in hotels that are a bit out-of-the-way. For example, smaller hotels may be willing to work out a deal, unlike their larger competitors. (However, don’t blow your savings on taxi and ride-sharing costs because you picked a hotel 20 miles from your meetings.)

Business travel doesn’t have to be a big drain on your company’s budget. Look for best practices, try to plan ahead to maximize your trips, use a travel agency, and set a corporate business travel policy to make sure everyone follows it.

How does your company manage its business travel? Do you have policies and practices in place, or does everyone handle their own arrangements? Tell us about it on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: RobertBMueller (Pixabay, Creative Commons 2.0)

The Ever-Growing Bleisure Travel Market

March 5, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

With so many business travelers adding leisure time to trips, bleisure travel is now a major part of the travel industry. And there are many lucrative possibilities, according to a recent article in Travel Weekly.

Travel advisors say bleisure travel is a growing market with growing profits, and Travel Weekly calls the sales potential “enticing.”

“In a recent survey of business professionals age 25 to 35 years old,” said the article, “Hilton Hotels & Resorts found that nearly 70 percent of respondents said they have a desire to extend their work trips for leisure purposes.”

In fact, according to a 2018 Bleisure Trends Report by Egencia, 68 percent of travelers mix business with pleasure 1 – 3 times a year. Moreover, the report said that 74 percent of business travelers are considering a bleisure trip over the next six months.

Enticing indeed!

Bleisure travel can happen anywhere, but it's especially fun if you're near Orlando. This is the Geosphere at EPCOT.

Bleisure travel can happen anywhere, but it’s especially fun if you’re near Orlando. This is the Geosphere at EPCOT.

Getting employers onboard with bleisure travel isn’t always easy though. Employers and their travel policies are not always amenable to travelers tacking on a few days of fun, although that perception is changing. Dave Hershberger, president of Prestige Travel Leaders in Cincinnati, Ohio, said that corporate support is growing for the practice.

“We have seen bleisure travel grow mainly because more corporations are not only allowing it, but are also embracing it,” said Hershberger. “Corporate support — to meet the employee demand — is what’s driving the growth rate.”

Maurice Honor, Vice President of Travel Distribution Sales for Hertz, said that bleisure travel means people want a better work/life balance, and that balance is a big selling point for companies to support it.

So what’s driving the increased desire for bleisure travel among the travelers themselves?

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a big reason, said Leah Kirgis, manager of leisure travel at Cadence in La Jolla, California. People want to experience the culture and unexpected things in locations.

But it’s also the personal appeal of the destination. Imagine, if you’re traveling to New Zealand, Hawaii, Europe, or Canada, would you want to just zip in and out long enough for your sales meeting or conference? This could be the only time you get to visit that destination, so doesn’t it make sense to experience a little of the culture and scenery?

Bottom line is whether the employee can create memories that will last a lifetime, and whether their company will allow it. If you’re on the fence about whether you should allow bleisure travel in your own company, we highly recommend it. It makes your employees happy and the quality of their work will increase.

Do you take bleisure trips on your business travel? Does your company allow bleisure travel as part of its regular travel policies? Share your experiences on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Erik Deckers (Used with permission)

More Business Travelers Including Bleisure

July 19, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

We’ve been coaching, cajoling, and cheering you business travelers on when it comes to tacking on some extra personal time before or after your work trip. And Expedia says you’re listening!

Expedia Group Media Solutions commissioned Luth Research to find out more about what you’re doing and how you’re making bleisure work for you. The study asked American, British, Chinese, German, and Indian bleisure travelers to share what influenced their decisions, what resources they used to make their decisions, and what their resulting preferences were after their experiences.

Here’s what they found out.

The first thing Expedia discovered is which group of you is taking advantage of this. Those of you who work in technology, IT, and software—you’re making this work for you once every two to three months after you’ve been on the road for a two-to three-day trip.

Next, Expedia found there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of business travelers taking a couple bleisure days: a 40 percent uptick over the same period in 2016. Sixty percent of business travelers reported turning your work travel into a vacation sometime in the reporting period between March 2017 and March 2018. Bravo!

The British Museum Great Court, a great bleisure stop if you're in London on a business trip.

The British Museum Great Court

While the largest percentage of business travel was to participate in a conference (67 percent), the leading factor in whether or not the destination was considered for bleisure wasn’t proximity to family and friends, but other factors such as the availability of great food, a beach, or the opportunity to check it off your bucket list. Way to multi-task!

Even the time and cost of the bleisure trip had an effect: 37% of respondents said the proximity of their trip to the weekend played a role in their decision; the same number of people said the additional costs of the trip helped them decide. That’s always a good strategy: if you can end a trip on Friday or even Thursday, why not stick around for a nice weekend away? (Or if you can manage it, end your trip on a Monday and then stick around for the rest of the week. We won’t tell.)

Among the most popular US bleisure destinations were New York, LA, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and San Francisco.

What are your bleisure travel habits? What do you do to turn your business travel into a little bit of fun? Share your ideas on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter page.

Photo credit: David Iliff, License: CC-BY-SA 3.0 (Wikimedia Commons)

Bleisure Travel Benefits Company, Employees

May 1, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Have you ever found yourself scheduling a business trip in an interesting city, and trying to find a way to see some interesting sights in the city? Have you ever tried tacking an extra day onto your trip, or even extending it over the weekend? This is what’s called bleisure travel, the combining of business and leisure.

According to a recent Expedia survey, more business travelers are doing exactly that, and sometimes bringing their family in for the weekend

Working on the beach sounds like the ultimate in bleisure travel.Expedia Media Solutions and Luth Research found that 43 percent of business trips are actually some combination of business and leisure, and 70 percent of business travelers report doing so every two to three months. According to a similar survey conducted by the Global Business Travel Association, those taking advantage of these opportunities aren’t who you might expect.

Only 33 percent of those between the ages of 35 – 54 said they extended their stays for vacation, while even fewer of those 55+ — only 23 percent — did so. The group with 48 percent participation in bleisure travel were the 18 – 34-year-old business travelers.

Researchers weren’t able to say why definitively, but they speculated this younger group values traveling on someone else’s dime, having a weekend to explore a city when their employer has already picked up the airfare tab, and paying a lower negotiated rate for accommodations by staying at the same hotel they did while they conducted business on the company’s behalf. Expedia’s senior director of owner services stated that 84 percent of bleisure travelers stay in the same hotel they did for business, and the number one reason they move is because they can get a cheaper deal elsewhere.

The GBTA also said employers should encourage bleisure travel as a way to demonstrate they understand this demographic’s stated need for work-life balance.

So, how do you take advantage of a business trip and seize the opportunity to incorporate some leisure into it? Go in early or stay late. If you have business in a particular destination you’d like to explore, consider going in the weekend before those Monday and Tuesday meetings. You might become a hero to the accounting department by negotiating a lower rate because your stay is longer than the typical two-day booking made by most business travelers.

You could also schedule your business on Thursday and Friday and stay over the weekend, paying the same hotel rate and booking a cheaper return fare on Sunday. You may even be able to use the frequent flyer miles you’ve accumulated through other business trips to bring along loved ones or a friend, thereby reducing the cost for those you want to share your vacation time with.

Special Travelpro Bleisure Promotion

Platinum Magna 2 21 Expandable Spinner Suiter

Platinum Magna 2 21 Expandable Spinner Suiter

If you’re considering a bleisure trip and you find yourself in need of new luggage, Travelpro has an extra incentive. Between now (Tuesday, May 1, 2018) and Friday, May 4, 2018, purchase any piece of luggage from the Travelpro website and receive a free, foldable nylon tote. This small, compact bag is great for carrying on those fun mementos from that bleisure trip that might otherwise not fit into your normal carry-on luggage.

Are you a bleisure traveler? How do you combine work and business travel? Do you have any suggestions or favorite destinations? Share them with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

 

 

 

Photo credit: PXHere.com (Creative Commons 0, Public Domain)