4 Ways to Cut Business Travel Expenses in 2018

By EmmaJanuary 11, 2018

–This article was last updated on 6 October 2021-

Modern technology has made it possible to conduct a substantial amount of business from the comfort of your desk, greatly reducing the expenses involved with travel, accommodation and meals.

The myriad of chat-based apps make it even easier to talk to clients, colleagues and suppliers in real time, around the clock, from any remote location, without costing you a penny. However, there are still many occasions when the personal touch is needed; times when you or a member of your team have to travel to discuss or inspect something in person.

So, how can you make sure 2018 business travel costs stay grounded?

Close up of businessman carrying suitcase while walking through a passenger boarding bridge.

1. Manage Expectations

At one time, company executives were accustomed to first class travel, the best hotels and a substantial meal allowance. Now, businesses have to find the balance between looking after top talent well enough to retain their services and avoiding large travel expense accounts.

Good leaders will understand the need for careful control of travel expenses if they have the best interests of your company at heart. This means they will only travel when necessary and they will appreciate the need to be sensible in costing out the trip.

2. Manage Business Travel Well

As the costs of fuel, air and rail travel are so high, it makes sense to try to schedule more than one appointment during a personal visit. If executives flag up destinations and travel plans, colleagues may have suppliers, clients or competitors you could research or even visit on your travels.

Careful time management of business travel could also include encouraging round trips within a day, to avoid bills for overnight stays.

3. Plan Ahead

Wherever possible, plan well ahead with overnight or overseas appointments. For example, the earlier you book air travel, the cheaper it tends to be. It also provides time to shop around for the less obvious and more cost effective transport options. You could also create a favourable account with a hotel chain, encouraging staff to avoid costly hotel hopping.

Introducing a pre-trip approval process helps to control costs, not least as having a measured approach to business travel helps to avoid unnecessary trips or cancellation fees for scheduling changes.

4. Use Technology to Collate and Analyse Travel Expenses

We all know how easy it is to go on a trip and face a rather startling bill at the end of it. Expenses can mount up surreptitiously, particularly in a foreign country or if your client proves demanding. Using a cloud-based expense management system is vital to prevent this. It needs to function on a mobile platform, as the chances are that most of your business’ travel spending will use the latest FinTech.

Having your expense management system online facilitates real time reporting. It also enables companies to ensure policy enforcement in an immediate and supportive way, wherever the traveller is in the world. Having a debrief after the event – and having to administer even the gentlest of reprimands – can be unpleasant and demoralising. It’s far better to keep travel expenses well-managed and under control as they occur.