Intelligent CXO Issue 25 | Page 27

BUSINESS STRATEGY against industry , market or account averages , so you ’ ll always know if you ’ re spending more or less than the average .
Analyse your travel expenses from previous years too , to set up projections for a longer period , for example , the next five years . You ’ ll need to include additional factors that could increase or decrease spend like new employees joining the business , seasonality or recurring expenses .
Categorising business travel expenses is also important , and you ’ ll need to set up foundational categories like air travel , ground travel , meals , accommodation and miscellaneous . Retaining these groups will make it easier to predict your budget and find opportunities for cost control .
Again , this is where software or using a travel management company can be useful , as many can run reports on amenities like hotels , to help you understand average hotel rates or lodging costs associated with certain locations for projects .
How to reduce business travel costs
There are several factors to consider which could help you reduce booking costs . Peak seasons , particularly during the summer months and winter holidays , can increase your travel costs by 50 %. So , planning , well enough in advance is essential to managing transport and accommodation expenses .
Flights , accommodation and transportation also cost more during high-travel months or school holiday weeks . If you can , schedule any events in late winter , early spring or late autumn to prevent high costs .
Consider whether an overnight stay is really necessary . Some people would prefer a long day of travel than staying somewhere overnight , so it ’ s worth checking this to minimise hotel costs .
Clarify in your company travel and expense policy what ’ s considered an unnecessary fee . Make it clear those little luxuries like room service , dry cleaning and the use of mini bars are not covered , to save yourself additional costs .
Negotiating rates and making use of reward schemes where possible is also key . You can negotiate corporate rates with both chains and more boutique options , especially if your company frequently stays at these places and again a travel management company will take the lead on this if you use one . If you use a travel booking platform with an integrated expense policy , then be sure to work with one that has got the widest content and can cover more complex travel that may not be possible to book online .
Kevin Harrison , Managing Director , Good Travel Management
Be warned , using generic , digital comparison sites is not always the best route . While the offerings online may appear cheaper , this does not mean better . There are often hidden extras , and your company may end up using unsafe or unrecommended travel vendors .
We recommend a blend of both on and offline bookings to ensure employees travel safely and cost-effectively and integrate all the costs into your expenses systems . Most airlines , hotels and car rental companies also offer reward schemes . So , make sure your company is collecting points and employees are using them when enough are collected .
Finally , remember your business might also be entitled to recover VAT on business-related accommodation , meals , conferences etc . through its VAT return . Organisations may be able to recuperate foreign VAT acquired on international travel too . x
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