CWT explains the 10 best ways to save money on corporate travel

Carlson Wagonlit Travel has released its top tips for making important savings to any businesses corporate travel programme. CWT believe there are a few simple ways to keep costs down without compromising on traveller safety or services.

According to CWT, “with a smart process in place, you can save money on every trip – and make both your travellers and your stakeholders happy.”

Have a look at 10 of the most effective ways to reduce overall corporate travel spend.

  1. Tighten up the corporate travel policy

From booking flights to meal allowances and handling expenses, there’s a lot to consider when setting out a corporate travel policy. That means there’s plenty that can slip through the net. Take a close look at the existing corporate travel policy and think about whether it’s robust enough to cover every area of travel spend.

Focus first on getting the fundamentals in order – a proper approvals process, along with guidelines on bookings and reservations, on-site spending and expenses. Setting out clear procedures will help business travellers make decisions that stay within your policy and don’t incur additional costs.

  1. Have a pre-trip approval process

One of the simplest ways to reduce corporate travel spend is by having an approval system in place for every booking. By making it clear who needs to give approval for travel, businesses won’t have the problem of trips having to be cancelled after they’ve been booked, triggering wasted expenditure.

  1. Make savings on airline flights

Airline tickets can be expensive, so be smart about which ones are booked. Savings could be earned just by being flexible on the dates of travel and airline, and by booking Economy flights only. However, once booked it’s usually cheaper to have a fixed travel plan. Only buy flexible tickets that give you an option of return dates if they’re absolutely necessary for the trip.

  1. Cut the cost of hotels

Room rates can vary enormously, even within the same hotel, so being smart can deliver big savings. You may decide you want to let your business travellers choose where they want to stay. That’s fine – just make sure you set a budget threshold or star rating. You might also want to specify that standard rooms should be the required room type, and clearly outline whether you’ll be covering minibar charges, Wi-Fi costs and so on.

  1. Set a realistic food and transport allowance

You might find that giving employees control over their food and transport spending can actually reduce overspending. Meal expenses can be set as an overall allowance per day, giving the employee the choice of how much to spend individually on breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’ll always be exceptions – so keep that five-star restaurant in reserve for your highest-profile client meetings. When it comes to transport, you should clearly advise employees to choose the most cost-effective method, factoring in journey times. This could include using their own vehicles to get from A to B and then reimbursing them.

  1. Plan ahead

This is the golden rule when it comes to saving money in any sense. In the world of corporate travel, it’s always wise to book flights and hotels in advance as they can dramatically increase in price nearer the time.

  1. Understand travel auxiliary charges

Additional charges such as Wi-Fi and parking easily add up to give you a nasty surprise at the end of a trip – especially when you thought everything had been accounted for. Some business service providers can bundle these costs into one combined package, helping you factor them into your budget forecasts and keeping you in control of your spend.

  1. Help your employees be more productive on the road

If your business travellers are spending less time organizing their trip, they’re spending more time working – which is good for your company. Making their journey run as smoothly as possible at every stage will help them stay productive during their trip. Software can play a big part in this – for example, our complimentary CWT To Go app syncs employees’ travel schedules with their business smartphone calendars, giving them important travel details whenever they need them. Plus, we share local information and discounts, so they don’t have to go looking for them, giving employees more time to get on with their work while they’re on the road.

  1. Consider a travel management service

Hiring a corporate travel specialist can really rein in your overall business travel spend. By teaming up with a company like CWT you can benefit from preferential rates on airfares and hotels, as well as on-site offers and promotions.

  1. Reward your employees – and your business

Every time your travellers pick a more cost effective option, they’re saving the company money. Over the course of a year, that can really add up. Incentives are a great way of thanking employees for reducing travel costs and encouraging them to keep doing it.