If you work for a big company and you need to communicate with other branches in other cities or with other companies in other nations, if you work for a medium-size company and you need to find new markets to expand and new clients to land, or even if you work for a tiny company that needs to pitch an idea to a gaggle of investors, a major industrial firm, or a department store, travel is a key aspect of your business. Travel is also expensive, and so it can help to learn the ways of travel expense management.
1. Plan Your Employee Reimbursement Strategy
Speaking generally, there are three methods companies use to pay their employees.
- Per Diem. This is a regular (often daily) payment made to the employee which is calculated to cover basic needs like food, a hotel room, and travel expenses. This is above and beyond the usual wage or salary the employee gets since he or she is traveling on business.
- Corporate Expense Card. This is both the most and least trusting method: most because it offers the employee access to a lump sum for the entire trip, and least because you get a record of every transaction made.
- Reimbursement. The employee pays now, you pay him or her back later. This gives the company the best chance to avoid paying too much, but the employee won’t like this travel expense management plan even if the company is perfectly fair about paying out later.
2. Learn From Experience
Wherever you go on a business trip, you’re never the first person to visit. Travellers can learn a lot from people who went to a city first, things like where to visit, the nicest place to stay, and where to find the cheapest bedbug-free room. Sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor can be incredibly helpful for this, too, and if you do a little research and share it with your travelling employee, everyone could save money.
3. Plan Your Travel Expenses
Sometimes you have to fly, sometimes the train will do the trick, and sometimes you simply have to drive. Every method of getting from place to place has its pros and cons, and so it’s important for the person who organizes each trip to know which one to use beforehand. A travel expense management expert could save the company a lot of money, especially after he or she learns how to save money on air fare. You could also contract with a travel agency if your employees go on long trips often in order to access certain discounts.
Travel expense management doesn’t have to be hard, but you do need to be thorough if you want to get the most out of every dollar. Time is money, but time spent on managing travel expenses is time well spent.