For certain companies, especially those with a large sales force, travel expenses are a major operating cost item requiring special programs to minimize travel expense on the part of all employees. Although allowable travel expenses may be covered by company policy, there are many ways that a travelling employee can minimize travel expense, reduce cost and contribute to the company’s profitability.
The major areas of an employee’s travel expense will come from air and surface travel, hotel accommodations and meals. By being a smart and resourceful traveller, an employee can cut down on travel expense in these areas. Here are some ideas recommended by travel advisors and seasoned globetrotters.
One easy way is to join an airline or car rental mileage program and get free travel points. Individual employees or the company itself are enrolled in these programs which offer points and rewards in the form of free tickets, flight and baggage insurance, use of airport lounges plus many other perks. These carriers also have tie-ups with car rental agencies, hotels, restaurants and even shops. Taking advantage of these tie-ups can result in reduced travel expense both for the company and the individual employee.
Another way to reduce travel expense is to ignore the stars. The more stars a hotel has, the higher its room rates. A little research about lodgings available in the destination will reveal smaller, less prestigious hotels that nevertheless offer decent, comfortable accommodations at much more affordable rates. In many cases, booking a room in a good pension or boarding house may turn out to be a better experience in terms of rooms, food and service than one might find in a 5-star hotel. Colleagues or friends who have been to the destination are a good source of information for comfortable but acceptably-priced lodgings.
A third major area where an employee might save on travel expense is in local transport. In a place where good service exists, taking the subway or other public transportation will not just save on travel expense but also on travel time. Subways, of course, do not have to contend with traffic and buses usually have reserved lanes so that time otherwise spent on the road can be used for meetings and discussions. Where reliable public transport is not available, smart haggling with a cab driver or negotiating for a daily car rental can result in a significantly lower travel expense.
Other areas like choosing the right restaurants and entertaining in the proper places can also reduce travel expense and contribute to overall savings in travel expenses for the company.