If your company has any sort of marketing or sales concerns, it’s all but guaranteed that someone is eventually going to have to go somewhere to pitch your company to investors, to boost your client list, or to expand your market share. This means your company will have to deal with travel expenses, and between the plane ticket and other costly factors travel is often as risky an investment as it is necessary. Still, there are some ways you can cut costs:
1. Air Fare
A plane ticket is typically the single most expensive purchase made during a business trip, but it’s also one of the least avoidable. Aside from basic advice like “take a car, bus, or train when possible,” a business can still save on travel expenses in a few different ways.
First, by assigning one person to handle all the ticket purchases, you’ll be making sure that person gets plenty of experience with finding deals. Second, while non-refundable tickets may be less reliable than normal, the added discount may be worth the occasional extra expense. Finally, if your business is big enough and involves a lot of travel, you might be able to get a discount by asking for an exclusive deal with one of the airlines. A deal with a travel agency could also net you cheaper hotel prices, too.
Ask a jaded traveller for tips on reducing travel expenses and he or she will be able to rattle off a dozen or more right then and there. This sort of advice includes packing light enough to stow everything in the passenger cabin since checked baggage costs extra, booking flights and rooms well in advance, and taking advantage of coupons and discounts when they’re available. You can learn a lot on the internet and in person, and once you know what to do you can pass on your information to your employees.
3. Payment Method
There are three major ways to compensate an employee’s travel expenses: cash, credit, and per diem.
- Cash is simple: the employee pays for everything out of pocket, and then the company compensates the employee later. This method is simple enough, but it demands a considerable amount of trust from both sides.
- Credit comes with a few fees attached, but it gives the employee access to a specific expenses account whose transactions the employer can track.
- Per diem refers to a daily stipend which the employee gets which covers basic needs and which is in addition to any salary or hourly wage he or she would normally get. Per diem is usually the best bet for a long-term stay, but you need to be careful where you set it because the employee can keep the leftovers.
Travelling can be expensive, but it’s necessary. Fortunately, you can lower your travel expenses if you know what you’re doing, giving you more money to spend directly on your products and services.