As the weather heats up so does the travel season. With the peak tourism period fast-approaching, travelers are exposed to increasing costs, with airlines, accommodation and other travel services putting up their prices during the premium travel months. If you’re a small business traveler, who does not have the luxury of an endless budget to spend on travel, making savings is essential.
Here are 10 big money saving tips for the discerning small business traveler.
How to Save on Small Business Travel
Track Unused Tickets When They Expire
Craig Fichtelberg, president and co-founder of Chicago-based travel management company AmTrav, provided us with some insider tips for small business travelers, and how planning smart can save them money on business travel.
One tip Fichtelberg shared is to track unused tickets when they expire.
“This is the most missed opportunity by small businesses that allow their travelers to book on multiple websites. Cancellations of travel plans in business is common and unused tickets that are not tracked will never get used,” Fichtelberg warns.
Book in Advance
Research shows that travel services booked further in advance generally cost less that those made at the last minute. Fichtelberg advises businesses should require approval on last-minute travel purchases, enabling companies to ensure travelers are not waiting until the last minute to book a trip they knew about in advance.
Think Twice About Upgrades
Do you really require that legroom upgrade on a short-haul flight? Many airlines and other travel services offer upgrades to try and entice travelers into paying for more expensive tickets. Prices for upgrades vary significantly, so it is important small business travelers determine how much they can realistically afford to pay for upgrades and make it part of their travel budget.
Switch Business Class or First Class?
The differences between business and first class travel are not as dramatic as you may think. In terms of boarding, as Investopedia notes, many airlines board business-class and first-class passengers together, providing no real benefit to first class travelers.
Consequently, businesses should determine whether and when first class and business travel is allowed, which could be tied into the length of the trip or the mileage.
Use Virtual Credit Cards to Reduce the Risk of Fraud
Another top travel tip for small business travelers from Craig Fichtelberg, is that, in order to reduce the risk of a business falling victim to fraud, employees should travel on a virtual card which is created per trip, so they don’t need to carry a physical card and run the risk of being frauded.
Avoid Booking Airfares that Don’t Allow You to Make Alterations
As Fichtelberg highlights, changes are common in business travel. Consequently, money-conscious business travelers should:
“Avoid booking the new airline basic fares that do not allow changes, seat selection and boarding preferences.”
If changes to the travel arrangements need to be made, business travelers will lose the full price of the ticket.
Sign Up for Company Loyalty Programs
Company loyalty points and programs are there to be benefited from. Fichtelberg advises companies to sign up for company-loyalty programs where the business earns benefits from air, hotel and car suppliers.
Take Advantage of Cash Back and Other Perks on Business Credit Card Deals
Credit cards for business use can come with a whole host of benefits, including cash back and travel insurance. Small businesses would be wise to take advantage of such deals, which could help them make significant savings on the likes of travel insurance and earn valuable cash back when they book flights and other travel services with the business credit card.
Use Hotel Comparison Websites
Business travelers can save money on accommodation expenses by taking advantage of hotel comparison websites. The likes of Trivago and Travel Supermarket compare the prices of thousands of websites around the world, helping travelers find the best deals. For cash-strapped small business travelers, paying less for hotels has to be a priority.
Get Uber Savvy
Uber has taken the world of taxi travel by storm, offering significantly cheaper rates for taxi services compared to traditional taxi companies. Small businesses that are traveling on a budget would be wise to take advantage of Uber and enjoy getting from A to B in an unfamiliar town or city for less.
Do you have any great tips on saving money on business travel you would like to share?
Business Traveler Photo via Shutterstock