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15 Ways to Reduce Business Travel Expenses

~8min reading time
Business man at the airport looking through the window with a plane departing

Whether it’s conferences and tradeshows or closing a deal, business travel often yields a return or it gets cut. Yet it still represents a big outlay for many companies, one which – if not managed correctly – can quickly eat into your bottom line.

This article arms business owners and finance professionals with the strategies and tools necessary to make smarter business travel expense decisions. We'll explore the top ways to get the most out of accommodation, flights, and transport; and examine how digital solutions are revolutionising business and corporate travel expense management, saving both money and valuable time for finance teams.

How to Save Money on Employee Accommodation

Accommodation represents a significant portion of business travel expenses, making it a prime area for cost-cutting without sacrificing employee comfort. By exploring alternatives to traditional hotels, venturing out beyond bustling city centres, taking advantage of loyalty programs, negotiating corporate rates, and considering the benefits of 'bleisure' stays, business owners and finance professionals can significantly reduce accommodation costs associated with business travel. Here are some ideas:

1. Sign up for loyalty programs: Understand the long-term value of hotel loyalty programs for your company. Points accumulated during employee business trips will often translate into free nights or upgrades, directly reducing future accommodation costs. Proactive enrollment and management of these programs should be a priority for business owners and finance managers.

2. Negotiate corporate rates: If your company has frequent business travel needs, contact hotels directly to negotiate corporate rates. Even smaller businesses may be able to secure some discounts and remember, if you don’t ask, you don't get!

3. Consider “bleisure” stays: Combining business and leisure travel, known as "bleisure," is growing in popularity, as it benefits both employers and employees. Consider booking properties that offer discounts for extending stays over a weekend, providing employees the option to incorporate a personal holiday. This can improve employee retention, boost morale, and reduce business expenses costs.

How to Pay Less for Business Flights

Securing the best possible deals on business flights requires a combination of careful planning, flexibility, and an understanding of the factors that influence pricing. Here are a few ways to increase your business travel expense savings across short-haul and long-haul journeys:

4. Subscribe to travel alerts: Sign up for price alerts on booking sites like Skyscanner and Google Flights to ensure you're notified of price fluctuations and deals.

5. Be flexible with dates: Flexibility in travel dates can directly translate to higher savings on business travel expenses. For example, flights departing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays often result in lower fares, as do flight times like red-eyes and early departures.

6. Use comparison sites: Improve cost-effective decision-making by using comparison sites like Skyscanner, Kayak, or Google Flights. These tools facilitate a comprehensive analysis of options across multiple airlines, helping you to secure the best value for your corporate travel budget.

Reduce Costs with Environmentally-Friendly Transportation

Ground transportation can quickly add up and inflate overall business travel expenses. Here are a few ways to promote budget-consciousness and efficient travel and ensure your employees navigate their business trips cost-effectively.

7. Utilise city passes: Investigate the availability and potential cost benefits of city passes. These passes often provide unlimited access to public transportation for a fixed duration and provide substantial savings compared to purchasing individual fares, especially for employees with extensive itineraries.

8. Explore bike-sharing programs: Encourage employees to take advantage of public bike-sharing schemes, a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly option for short-distance travel, allowing them to experience the city in a unique way while reducing transportation expenses.

9. Promote the use of public transport: Encourage employees to use trains, buses, or subways as their primary mode of transportation, especially in cities with reliable and extensive public transit systems.

Reducing Costs on Food Expenses

Food expenses can easily escalate during business trips. By encouraging efficient spending strategies, you can help your employees dine smart without sacrificing quality or breaking the bank. Here’s how:

10. Take advantage of complimentary breakfasts: Ensure all employees are fully aware of any included hotel breakfasts and actively encourage them to take full advantage of this significant cost-saving opportunity.

11. Promote local eateries: Guide employees towards a more authentic culinary experience by recommending locally-owned restaurants and cafes, where they can often discover unique flavours, higher quality food, and better value than in tourist-centric establishments.

12. Set Meal Allowances: Establish daily or per-meal allowances within your business travel expense policy, providing employees with clear guidelines on spending while also offering them the flexibility to make their own dining choices within a budget.

Revolutionise Your Travel Expense Management

Traditional credit cards and reimbursement processes can often lead to overspending, unauthorised purchases, and a mountain of administrative work for both your finance team and travelling employees.

Digital solutions like CleverCards revolutionise business travel expense management, streamline processes and enable business owners and finance managers to exercise greater control over employee spending. Here’s how!

13. Control employee spending remotely: CleverCards are prepaid digital Mastercards that can be distributed remotely to travelling employees with a specific amount loaded onto each card. This allows you to establish spending limits by category (hotels, meals, transport, etc.), prevent unauthorised spending, and ensure employees adhere to business travel budgets.

14. Reduce time spent on finance admin: CleverCards digital prepaid Mastercards can be emailed to employees worldwide, eliminating time-consuming pre-travel paperwork. As well as that, the absence of traditional reimbursement forms and the need to collect and process receipts upon return, provides significant time savings for your finance team.

15. Per diems made easy: CleverCards enables you to provide ongoing financial support to your employees throughout their travels. You can easily allocate per diems or top-up allowances in real-time, ensuring they have the resources they need. This eliminates financial stress and allows them to focus fully on their business trip objectives.

Ready to Reduce Your Business Travel Expenses?

Business travel expenses don’t have to break the bank. By implementing the strategies outlined in this guide, you can regain control over your employee’s spending while abroad or visiting a different city in Ireland. From accommodation and flights to local transportation and meals, a few smart choices can lead to significant savings over time.

By switching to CleverCards, not only will you experience direct savings and greater control, but you'll free up valuable time for your finance team and give your travelling employees a smoother and more focused experience.

For more information, contact the CleverCards team by filling out the enquiry form below. We look forward to hearing from you soon!