Cost Saving Strategies for Business Travel
Every business traveler from the small business entrepreneur to the Fortune 500 power executive knows that there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings. There’s no doubt that the best way to close the deal, maintain a relationship or get a hands-on perspective of an operation is in person. Sometimes travel is pushed to the bottom of the priority list because of cost, particularly by small business owners, but we have some tips to help you save money on one of your most fruitful investments – business travel.
1) Use alternate airports – Lower cost airlines often use secondary airports for major cities, keeping other airlines’ prices competitive. If you are going to Chicago, consider flying into Midway instead of O’Hare. Headed to San Francisco? Try San Jose or Oakland instead. To get to New York City, you have the choice of three major airports, so compare.
2) Travel off peak – Travel is seasonal ie if you are travelling to the USA, January and February are generally lower in demand. If your plans include Europe, the summer months are high season; South America’s seasons are reverse of North America’s. Every destination has some seasonality built into the airfares, so if you have a choice, plan your trip for the lower seasons.
3) Plan ahead or stay longer – Similar to seasonality, advance purchase can reduce your airfare. Airfares are often lower if purchased 7-, 14- or 21-days before travel. In addition, spending a Saturday night usually offers the lowest rates. Although business travel normally doesn’t extend over the weekend, staying three nights midweek is often much lower than spending two nights. Consider scheduling more appointments or even take a vacation day to explore your destination and stay longer.
4) Check the change policy – As a rule of thumb, the lower the fare, the more restrictive the change policy. If your meeting is set in stone, you can confidently accept a fare with a high change fee, but if you expect your travel schedule to remain fluid, multiple change fees can quickly outweigh a low initial price. The lowest ticket price may not be your lowest overall cost, so choose an airfare accordingly.
5) Understand hotel’s extra charges – Just like change fees on airfares can negate a low fare, $20 a day for Wi-Fi or $25 a day for parking can add up quickly and make that low nightly rate uncompetitive. Choose hotels that include breakfast or complimentary gym access, depending on your personal needs. Many chain hotels are designed with the needs of business travel road warrior in mind, so take advantage of their offerings.
6) Know the cost of ground transportation – In a sprawling city like Los Angeles, renting a car for a day might cost less than one cab ride. On the other hand, in New York City, the parking fee alone might top several short taxi trips. Shared shuttles and metros provide easy and inexpensive airport to city transport in many cities. Know your distances, time requirements and costs, then plan accordingly.
7) Bonus tip: Use a credit card that accumulates points and perks with business purchases. Small business owners and entrepreneurs can use points for last minute, expensive business travel to reduce cash expenditures. Corporate travelers who are reimbursed for business expenses might use the points for a well-earned family vacation.
NASA Travel’s professional business travel advisors know all the ins and outs of airfare rules, benefits and amenities at thousands of hotels and how to get around in cities across the world.
Delivering Quantifiable Savings
We welcome the opportunity to be held accountable for delivering genuine savings to clients. Through a true partnership we aim to assist in understanding client travel requirements, identifying opportunities and implementing a cost reduction program.
- Savings – the industry’s most cost effective agent booking tool for air, car, and hotel, are been used by us, which provides lowest possible fares majority of the time
- Documented Savings – Our agents are trained to dig deep for cost reduction
- Partner Fares – Industry leading practices that accesses best fares in over many countries worldwide
- Consolidator, wholesale and private fare sourcing
- Travel Policy Compliance Management – Can save considerable amount on your travel spent
- Negotiated super savings with our global hotel properties
Travel Policy Management
Effective management of your company travel policy is vital to decreasing costs. NASA Travel employs quality control technology to map your policies and ensure adherence on each trip. Additionally, we provide comprehensive management reports to pin-point areas for improvement, as well as areas of cost containment success within your travel program.
Air travel is the largest portion of a company’s travel budget and usually represents 70% of total travel expense. Airline volume agreements are not available to many companies due to volume thresholds and in most cases do not provide discounts on lower priced fares.
However, all airlines are very keen on new business and will offer a variety of discounts to attract new corporate travel. NASA Travel is very proactive when working with airlines and knows what programs are available and how to secure the best options for each client. Savings can range from 5% to 20% depending upon the carrier and travel destinations.
Here are a few programs available:
Small Business Programs — Many carriers have small business programs that reward companies for traveling on the specific airline by awarding against air miles accrued by individual travelers and corporate alike, when reaching certain volume levels.
Foreign Airlines — Some international carriers offer significant discounts
Negotiated Agreements — NASA Travel will collect your historic purchasing data, as well as growth potential and required travel patterns, to secure a corporate volume agreement from an airline where possible.
Fare Sourcing – Our international rate desk scrutinize and construct best routes and fares, but also source fares from either airline wholesalers or our Global partners where a better price options exist.
Low Cost Airlines — All major Low Cost Airlines, can be easily booked through NASA Travel agents.
Rates that we offer clients are equal to or better than rates available only to the largest companies. To achieve even lower rates on select properties, we will negotiate discounts directly with hotels in locations that your travelers frequent.
NASA Travel will analyze how much you spend on rental cars each year and make recommendations on how to reduce costs and improve traveler satisfaction. We will assist with the negotiation of a discount volume agreement if the value of your purchases meets the requirements of the rental companies. We employ advanced software that searches each location for the best price.
Contact our Business Travel Account Management Team with any further questions.