There’s only one direction for business travel costs at the moment: up. That’s according to the Global Business Travel Forecast 2023, which predicts that airfares will rise 48.5 per cent in the remaining months of 2022 and 8.5 per cent next year. Hotel prices are also expected to increase by 18.5 per cent this year and 8.2 per cent in 2023.
However, for companies concerned about the costs associated with travel and lodging, there are ways to reduce business travel expenses without sacrificing comfort or reliability.
Follow these tips from Bonnie Smith, GM Corporate Traveller, to get the best deals on your business travels, especially if you’re on a shoestring budget:
- Book tickets in advance…
Plan trips at least 15-20 days in advance. While last-minute travel may be necessary, the best deals are still available well ahead of your travel days.
- …and be flexible
Do you really need to leave on a Monday? Mid-week flights tend to be cheaper. When booking, try to be flexible when it comes to arrival and departure times. This leeway can give you significant savings on flights and hotels.
- Schedule meetings outside of peak holiday season
You can cut costs without sacrificing quality by being strategic about scheduling your trips. Always try to plan events and sales trips during the off-peak season to avoid expensive peak holiday times.
- Work with prices, not stars
Remember that a 3-star hotel can cost just as much as a 4-star hotel. Keep a maximum budget in mind and communicate this to your travel management company. They’ll find the best accommodation to suit your needs.
- Get access to the best deals
If you want to save on travel costs, one of the best things you can do is get access to a better flight inventory. That’s where a travel professional comes in. A TMC provides a streamlined way to book corporate fares by integrating hundreds of travel networks, helping you find the best deals without spending hours researching online.
- Stay loyal
It is worth committing to a single hotel chain so you can negotiate a lower price and take advantage of additional benefits. A large TMC usually has access to great negotiated rates with major airlines and hoteliers, so check out what they have to offer. From free upgrades to early check-in and complimentary breakfast, TMCs are often able to negotiate quite a bit on your behalf.
- Be realistic about your daily costs
Budgeting for a business trip can be tricky. There are many incidentals to consider, from meals to Wi-Fi charges to luggage fees. It’s easy to underestimate something that can add up quickly. Ask your travel expert to calculate appropriate per diems for both the destination and the nature of the trip.
Travelling on the rand is no joke, but it’s definitely not impossible, says Smith. “The best way to save money on your business travels is to work with a professional. They have quite a few tricks up their sleeve – not to mention global buying power – to help you cut costs and keep travel affordable.”