Now, let’s get one thing straight, this article is not about listing all of the ways that your team are terrible and are costing you a fortune.
We know you like your team – they’re your office amigos, your work buds, or, if you’re under the age of 25, the squad. But, let’s be honest, they probably do little things that grind your gears; whether it’s the way they eat crisps, or filling the kettle just to make one cup of tea.
One thing they almost certainly will be doing is pushing up your travel spend. It’s not their fault, and a lot of the time they’ll actually be trying to save money, but booker behaviour is one of the most common reasons that organisations find to be a reason for increased travel spend – ergo, changing that behaviour is one of the best ways you can make significant savings in the long term.
However, you don’t have to go all Derren Brown in order to change your team’s booking behaviour. Well, you can, but why not try this best practice advice gathered from business travel experts first?
I couldn’t book until the day before!
Increasing lead times and encouraging your team to book as far in advance as possible is one of the key ways to drive your travel costs down, but it’s something that’s much easier said than done – calendars clash, last minute issues pop up and people get suspiciously-timed cases of food poisoning. There will, though, be times when forward planning and preparation is completely possible (attending conferences or trade shows, for example) and of course, there are internal meetings that have much more flexibility than those with clients.
In order to start booking ahead of time and opening up access to significantly lower rates you need to look at why your team are leaving things so late. Some of them will just be unorganised, sure, but there might be a more fixable problem lurking under the surface. Are they putting off booking because they find the process too much of a faff? Or are they avoiding committing to a particular travel time because, in the event of plans changing, they find amending the ticket too difficult? Both issues can be solved by finding a booking site that’s easy to use and will let travellers amend their bookings simply should time and arrangements change – which they inevitably will…
I need a flexible ticket!
In an ideal world we’d all have a flexible ticket, but, as your dad will probably tell you, an ideal world is an expensive world and so there has to be a middle ground, especially when it comes to booking business travel.
When your team book a flight they’ll usually know when they will be travelling or when their meeting will be finished and therefore they book a fixed ticket, which gives them cheaper fares; if your team apply this way of thinking to booking train tickets you should find that your travel spend will dramatically decrease.
Encourage your team to see whether meetings can be arranged during off-peak travel times, as this will instantly give you a better rate. Secondly, remind your team that they can have the best of both worlds by booking a cheaper, set time on their outward journey and then enjoy the flexibility of an anytime return on the way back. That way, the traveller isn’t inconvenienced and the ticket cost is reduced – win/win.
I couldn’t possibly stay in that hotel!
Some people have a real fear of staying in ‘budget’ hotels, such as Travelodge or Premier Inn, and they often try to disguise this by saying that the hotel in question would be no good for business travel – too few plugs, no desk, poor wifi etc. Some of their ‘fears’ will just be down to good old fashioned snobbery, in which case it’s quite alright to suggest with a smile that they ‘get over it’, whereas others will have been burned, maybe literally, by a bad budget hotel experience.
If that’s the case then their concerns might be quite valid, but it’s well worth reassuring your team that many well-known budget hotel brands have invested heavily into their business offering in recent years and as such there’s no reason to shy away from using them. They’re not going to be suitable for all of your team and for all of your trips, but if you haven’t been inside one during the last couple of years, it’s worth checking them out.
To start using a booking site that’s easy to use, full of all the content that you’d find anywhere else and which can provide you with clear, concise reporting on your travel spend then sign up to travel.cloud today.