Most companies, with more than a few business travelers, implement some sort of managed travel program and travel policy. Unmanaged travel can potentially become a huge expense and managed programs and policies provide ways to reduce those costs.
While business travel does account for a large portion of some companies’ expenditures, travel managers may find that their more experienced travelers are often the most budget travel savvy. In fact, I recently heard about a frequent business traveler who was recognized at a company event because he had eaten a significant portion of his business travel meals at Costco, thus falling far below the provided daily per diem.
However, while it’s great that particular traveler was aware of the per diem and is clearly motivated to comply with standards, I don’t think employees should be made to feel that they can only have a hot dog and soda for dinner in order to stay within a company’s policy.
In lieu of $2.00 dinners at Costco, here are some other ideas to implement in your company’s travel policy to save money:
1) Book travel in advance.
Sure, prices fluctuate and often change at the last minute, but by booking in advance, your traveler will have a greater variety of flight options, including those that cost less and best fit into your traveler’s schedule.
2) Provide travelers with a wireless hotspot.
Doing this will prevent business travelers from having to incur internet connection fees at airports, coffee shops, and hotels.
3) Increase meal per diems to allow for snacks.
Allowing business travelers to purchase a beverage and snack at the airport gift shop will come out cheaper in the long run than having to purchase food in-flight.
4) Restrict rental car usage.
If your business traveler is taking a one night trip to attend a meeting at, or near, the hotel they’re staying at, it may be more cost effective for them to use a taxi or shuttle service.
5) Encourage employees to call their travel agents if they need assistance.
A travel professional is more versed in booking travel and finding lower cost options, and in most instances, the cost savings that result will far outweigh the transaction fee.