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What if you could make travel management much easier and more efficient? Travel managers have a pretty difficult job when planning corporate travel. And it often seems like such travel ends up costing more time and money than intended. Fortunately, you can put an end to this by making a few strategic moves. Keep reading to discover our top tips for saving time and money for travel managers!
1. Embrace Flight Flexibility
The good news for travel managers is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. In fact, some of the best ways your company can save money involve tricks that consumers have used for a long time.
The best example of this is simply being flexible regarding flights. If you can afford to be flexible with things like travel dates, departure times, and airlines, you can save quite a bit of money.
There is also a bit of a paradox when it comes to booking flights. Generally speaking, you will save more money the longer you book your flights in advance.
But there are always last-minute deals you can find, and being flexible enough to find and embrace those deals helps you discover further savings.
2. Offer Incentives
It’s an open secret among travel managers that planning only goes so far. Once they begin their trip, it is up to the traveling employees to follow the travel managers’ instructions, but that doesn’t always happen.
Sometimes, employees may buck against their instructions because they don’t understand the benefit of those instructions. Other times, they may try to do things on their own in a misguided attempt to save extra money.
If you want to fight against this, we have two words for you: transparency and incentives. Being transparent to employees about the need to adhere to policies can increase their cooperation. For example, employees may not realize how extra money lost on corporate trips actually causes budgeting shortfalls for their department.
And everyone is likelier to follow travel policies if they have a personal stake in it. For instance, you can offer employees things like mileage points or free lunches as a reward for staying within their budget.
In some cases, you may even institute a policy that employees can pocket the savings if they manage to stay under the budget. You might be surprised at what a profound impact this will have on their spending behavior!
3. More Granular Paperwork
Nobody, even travel managers, really love paperwork. Nonetheless, one of our top tips for smoother travel plans is to make your travel paperwork more specific and granular.
This is because when someone does go over the budget, the travel manager has to uncover exactly what went wrong. If the expense reports and other paperwork don’t provide enough detail about purchases, then you may never be able to uncover this mystery.
At the end of the day, it’s important to establish things like itemized receipts and invoices. This may make paperwork a tad more complicated, but it will go a long way towards helping you control costs.
4. Streamline Your Travel Policies
When it comes to paperwork like expense reports, it’s important to have more granular detail. But one area where you must streamline things is your travel policies.
It’s tempting to pack your travel policies with dense information and try to cover every eventuality. But let’s be honest: your average employee will look at this like a lengthy EULA and not actually read all of it.
The trick, then, is to create travel policies that are short and to the point. They should be easy to read and understand while also being built around practical, real-world eventualities.
In most cases, this means taking your existing policy and rebuilding it from the ground up. You may be shocked at just how much extra information you can cut out without losing anything really essential.
5. Technology Is Your Friend
Chances are that technology is already a major part of your life as a travel manager. Nonetheless, there are multiple opportunities for you to embrace new kinds of technology in ways that help you save both time and money.
One basic example of this is analytics software. Instead of looking at each expense report as a separate entity, you can collect and study the data with a robust analytics program. This will help you identify key areas, such as what costs the most and what causes employees to go over budget.
Sometimes, solutions can be as simple as apps or websites that tell you about last-minute deals on hotels and lodging. While such apps and sites are designed primarily for consumers, a flexible travel manager can use them to achieve significant savings.
You can even help to coordinate employees by encouraging them to use productivity tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams. This keeps everyone on the same page and makes sure they are staying productive and efficient while on their business trip.
6. Customize Your Trips
When it comes to employees, there is no “one size fits all” travel arrangement. That’s why it’s best to tailor specific accommodations to specific employee needs and personalities.
For example, many employees are fine staying in a standard hotel. With their laptop and a smartphone, they can take care of almost anything that comes up.
Some employees, however, are most productive in environments that mimic their actual home. Booking these employees in furnished apartments may help make them more productive during the trip.
Both hotels and furnished apartments have their distinct advantages. By customizing each trip for each employee, you can help everyone involved make the most out of their travel time.
Making Life Easier for Travel Managers
Now you know how travel managers can save money when booking flights and lodging. But do you know who can take those savings to the next level?
At Team Housing Solutions, we specialize in finding the best places (and at competitive prices) for employees to stay. To see how we can assist you and your team, all you have to do is contact us today!