Corporate travel presents many benefits. Companies can expand their reach to more customers and new markets while employees get to learn new skills and gain valuable business experience. However, it can be challenging for organizations to manage the associated costs – just placing employees in a hotel for even a week or two can get expensive quickly. Add to that restaurant meals, laundry, parking, Internet and other incidental fees, and your company’s travel costs can skyrocket. The following are five simple ways you can help rein in corporate travel costs to keep employees on track and on budget.
1. Create Clear Travel Policies
Creating and communicating clear-cut travel policies is one of the easiest ways organizations can help control travel costs. Recent research shows that employees seek company guidance for corporate travel and will closely follow policies that offer simple, convenient choices and easy-to-understand guidelines.
When creating your corporate travel policy, these key components can help employees make the right choices:
• A range of acceptable daily rates for lodging and furnished apartments, as well as the acceptable per diem for meals
• A list of approved accommodations and amenities
• Guidelines regarding incidental charges, including laundry services, parking and Internet
• Acceptable payment and reimbursement methodsFor additional value, work with trusted providers who can offer expert business travel advice.
2. Win with Technology
In today’s connected world, employees expect to use technology to book flights, lodging and car rentals as well as track expenses. Companies can take advantage of a wide array of technology, including sourcing tools and apps, that give employees an easy way to ensure they’re booking travel that complies with company guidelines.
Like consumer travel websites and booking engines that show a range of options for flights and lodging, reputable corporate travel partners may provide similar technology to book corporate travel. For example, Oakwood Worldwide® provides access to hundreds of properties around the globe via a proprietary booking engine and the GDS, enabling companies to easily search and book accommodations within their existing travel management platforms in one seamless transaction. This is in addition to its Epic™ Global Sourcing tool, a comprehensive, cloud-based platform that matches a company’s housing needs with global inventory according to a wide range of criteria, including location, budget, floorplans, security requirements and more.
3. Combine Projects to Score Savings
Sending employees to work on longer term projects vs. making several shorter trips often leads to more economical travel options. Savings can add up quickly when they take fewer flights and lock in lower daily rates on long-term car rentals. Also, companies can often score savings by avoiding potentially high market rates for short hotel stays and, instead, book employees into furnished or serviced apartments that provide the conveniences of home with a fully equipped kitchen, in-unit laundry facilities, free or inexpensive Wi-Fi access, and housekeeping.
4. The Better Meal Deal? Dine In
Expenses can add up quickly when employees eat at restaurants or order from the hotel menu for every meal. Furnished apartments, which include full kitchens with refrigerators, stoves and cookware, provide flexibility to eat in for several meals each week – adding up to significant cost savings.
5. Avoid Add-On Fees
Settling a hotel bill can come with a few costly surprises, like tips, resort taxes and fees for Internet access and daily parking. Including hotel alternatives as an option for your traveling employees can help eliminate hidden fees because corporate housing providers often offer significantly reduced daily room rates while eliminating many ancillary fees.
Combining simple travel policies, money-saving strategies and the right mix of tech tools and corporate travel partners can help you deliver a successful corporate travel program that’s good for both your company’s bottom line and your employees’ peace of mind.