5 Ways to Save On Business Travel Expenses
Gone are the days of wanton business spending and massive expense accounts. Belts are a bit tighter these days, and businesses are looking for ways to cut back wherever they can. While business travel is an essential way to maintain client relationships, it can also be cost prohibitive. These five tips can help business travelers hit the road without hitting the ATM.
1. Fly Friendlier
The skies seem friendlier when you scout out great deals on plane tickets. Flexible travel dates are the best way to take advantage of prices that fluctuate by the day. While researching flights used to require either a travel agent or ruthless diligence, websites now take the stress and hassle out of finding inexpensive airfares.
Skyscanner, for example, compares millions of flights to find the best prices; the site also delivers insights on lodging and car rentals. Airfarewatchdog, meanwhile, doesn’t just scan for the lowest fares, it also lets users set alerts to inform them when prices drop. Keep in mind that in most cases, fares are cheapest during inopportune hours — such as the early morning — as well as midweek days.
Not only can you find low fares on flights, you can also find deals at the airport itself, thanks to GateGuru. This handy app lets users view arriving and departing flight information in order to avoid delays and make each moment count. GateGuru also tracks down the most affordable nearby dining, shopping and services.
2. Sleep Cheap
With so much information readily available via the internet, it’s easy to lose touch with the human connection. This can be a mistake when it’s time to book a hotel. Hotels hate having empty rooms, and many travelers score lower rates by calling directly just prior to arrival and requesting a deal. While historically booking in advance leads to lower rates, there’s always a chance of snagging a big deal if you are willing to wait it out.
Hotels frequently have vacancies on Sunday evenings due to a gap between weekend leisure travelers and weekday business travelers, so consider a Sunday stay if possible. Other simple, convenient ways to save during your hotel stay are to seek out hotels with free WiFi, parking and complimentary breakfast.
3. Give It Some Gas
In many cases you can begin saving money before you even set foot in a hotel by using public transportation to get from the airport to your accommodations, instead of an expensive private car or taxi. If you do rent a car, GasBuddy is your new best friend. This user-friendly app helps you find the nearest and cheapest gas stations. GasBuddy is community-driven so users gain access to real-time information.
4. Reap the Rewards
Don’t forget to take advantage of rewards clubs. We all know about frequent flier miles, but many hotels also offer promotions for repeat customers. Sign up is free, and can lead to big savings — particularly for frequent travelers. Hotels.com, an accommodations aggregator, offers one free stay for every 10 in any of its hotels. With 85,000 locations all over the world, business travelers can bank stays and cash in wherever they roam.
5. Cluster Clients
Rather than jetsetting back and forth, get creative and arrange meeting clusters. Organize clients according to location, and schedule them during one time period so you can knock out several meetings in a single trip. While this may take some juggling and advance planning, it also offers serious streamlined savings.
Whether your company is cutting back or planning ahead, there’s no need to slash business travel. These five tips, as well as other low cost alternatives, help you connect with clients while maintaining a better bottom line.
Joanna Hughes writes on all subjects, including lifestyle and fashion to business and tech, such as the rising demand for online reputation management services.