When Johnny Cash sang “I’ve Been Everywhere” in 1996, he likely didn’t have corporate travel in mind. His lyrics cover a distance of 174,493 kilometers in 92 locations and 16 different countries where he earned more than enough to cover travel costs. As a small to medium-sized business owner who isn’t making money off a once-in-a-lifetime entertainer, coordinating anywhere near these many trips can become a costly ordeal. These are some cost cutting measures that can help your cash flow while your employees can sing their own version of Cash’s hit song.
Start with a trusted travel booking platform that’s easy to use and even easier to understand, such as Rydoo or TravelPerk. Consolidated invoices can organize the finances and costs from all your employees with a single billing option. Another perk is the ability to find deals through said platforms; for example, Rydoo offers affordable prices on hotels, trains, and flight travel through their own platform. Finally, these services all have mobile apps so that your staff can track any actions in real time, making it simple, convenient, and reliable.
Consider giving employees control over their spending when it comes to food, transportation, and accommodations – all the while setting a limit. This could also include setting an overall allowance each day on food, giving employees the freedom to choose their meals. Don’t forget to be willing to allow for exceptions, as some business meetings may include five-star restaurants and several drinks to mull over terms. Another advantage of this option is that it gives employees the option to use their own vehicles for transport, which helps expenses go a long way by skipping out on rental prices and insurance options.
Try to include employees when it comes to cutting travel costs. If you offer incentives for keeping within, or well under budget, your employees will feel more invested in helping save some money. For example, you can present employees with bonuses, mileage points, team lunches, or combine all performance rewards as an end of the year summit or retreat if the team stays under a specific number.
Most major travel expenses can be made more affordable by using price tracking apps to find the best prices for hotel, flights, car rentals, travel insurance, etc. Travelocity (for flights and hotels) and Turo Car sharing (AirBNB for cars) can both come very handy while preparing for business travel.
In case you don’t have a department to figure out the travel and accommodations of your employees, you’ll need to set guidelines so that expenses don’t get out of hand. This policy needs to be transparent, it should reflect the traveller’s needs, and also be easy to read and understand. Keep reviewing and updating your company policy, as it might have to evolve to include newly emerging technology. For example, if (or when) self-driving cars become commonplace, you’ll want to at least acknowledge them in your policy and whether it’s a suitable means of transportation that you’ll reimburse. You may even decide that it could be a safety issue and deny reimbursement on the use of self-driving vehicles.
Whichever platforms or policies you decide on, just be sure never to sacrifice the safety and quality of your employee’s travel.
Alex Correa | Senior Writer