If you’re the business owner of a small or medium enterprise, keeping your company’s travel budget in check is most likely a top priority.

Business travel has been rated one of the five most significant expenses for businesses of any size. However, Andrew Grunewald, Brand Leader at Flight Centre Business Travel (FCBT), warns against slashing budgets to make travel-budget ends meet.

“A knee-jerk
reaction to cut down on travel cost often sees companies limit employees to
unreasonable per diems or put them up in more affordable accommodation,”
he says. “Not only will this alienate your best employees, but it is also
unlikely to generate the savings you are looking for. A cheap hotel might put
your employee at risk. Or the amount you save per night could be eaten up in
transport costs because it’s far from any convention centre or business

Instead, Grunewald
suggests five ways companies can keep travel budgets down while still growing
their business:

  1. Offer your travellers value-for-money perks

It might sound counter-productive, but,
offering your travellers perks and luxuries could, in fact, save you money.

 Value-adds don’t always have to be at the
expense of a company. “You can proactively offer your employees perks while
staying within budget,” says Grunewald. “FCBT’s SmartSTAY programme is designed
to afford corporate travellers some luxuries. Perks vary from free breakfast to
early check-in and free upgrades, which go a long way towards making travellers
more productive when on the road.”

  • Make the most of loyalty programmes

Loyalty programmes are a great way to keep
your employees happy, while at the same time allowing the company to keep the
budget down.

In fact, many international airlines have
frequent flyer programmes designed to benefit not just the traveller but also
the company, from free upgrades to lounge access and fast check-in. Similarly,
large hotel chains have loyalty programmes that allow subscribers to collect
points for each booking. Points may be exchanged for discounts and even free
nights, meaning further savings for your business as well as increasing your
travellers’ enjoyment.

By including hotel and airline loyalty
programmes on the travel policy, you ensure your travellers enjoy added
benefits while your company wracks up free flights and more.

  • Discourage last-minute trips

Last-minute business trips not only put the
business traveller under stress, but they can also really drive up costs.
According to FCBT research, business travellers can pay up to 200% more for
airfares purchased one day out from travel. Simply by booking flights in
advance, companies can save up to 21% of their travel spend.

A professional Travel Management Company (TMC)
like Flight Centre Business Travel provides invaluable information on all the
intricacies of travel bookings, which can help a company to save. A travel
consultant will, for example, tell you that opting for semi-flexible fares will
save on the change and cancellation fees you would have incurred when booking
fixed fares. They will also advise that return fares offer better value than
one-way tickets and that it is possible to save by booking different cabins for
various legs of the journey.

  • Explore interest-free credit facilities

Why put your business’ cash flow under pressure
unnecessarily? Opting for an interest-free bill back service is a
straightforward way to help save money and avoid having your travellers pay
with their personal credit cards.

Instead of receiving receipts from all angles,
or the business traveller paying with their card, the accounts department will
receive one invoice showing the total travel spend.

“FCBT offers its clients several flexible
payment choices to make sure their cash flow is not impacted as a result of
their travel needs. We have seen the demand from our clients for travel on
credit rise,” says Grunewald. “A 30-day payment option can offer SMEs
much-needed breathing space when it comes to the payment of their travel

  • Remember that time is money

You may think booking on your own cuts costs,
but have you considered what the wasted hours trolling the Internet for the
best price is costing you?

On average, recent surveys suggest business
travellers spend 20 minutes reading hotel reviews before they book.
“High-earning employees should not waste time trying to pick the perfect hotel
or spend hours on the phone with airlines trying to rebook a ticket. Enrol a
professional TMC to help with those travel requirements,” says Grunewald.

Travel is an essential component of growing
any growing business, he concludes. “Too often, however, growing SMEs are
concerned about the pressure travel expenses will put on their cash flow and
profits. That is why FCBT has decided to launch its ‘Corporate Travel Grant
Competition’. The competition offers small to medium-size enterprises the
opportunity to win R150,000 in travel credits to help them achieve their business

To enter to win the FCBT Travel Grant, take
the following steps:

Visit www.flightcentrebusinesstravel.co.za/business-travelgrant

Check out the Travel Grant video for inspiration

Submit your motivation (a maximum of 1,000 words) answering the
questions below:

Question 1 – What does travel mean to your

Question 2 – What will this Travel Grant allow
you to do?

It’s that simple. Entries close 18 October
2019, so don’t miss out!

The post Five Smart Ways to Keep Business Travel Budget Down appeared first on Nomad Africa Magazine | Celebrating the world’s richest continent.

Source: Nomad Africa Magazine