6 tips to optimize business travel costs

Oct 13, 2023
Business Travel
travel manager budgeting travel costs
According to the 5th annual Global Travel Forecast report published by GBTA and CWT, business travel prices are experiencing strong growth due to rising hotel and airfare costs (+3.7% and +2.6% respectively). What does this mean for travel managers? It means that we have to find ways to save money. Indeed, faced with the rising costs of business travel, it's becoming essential to implement a rigorous mobility policy that respects the travel budget. Here are six tips to optimise business travel costs.

1 - Controlling expenses by controlling orders

By defining reservation rules (for car, train or plane) with your employees, you can be sure that they respect your travel policy and the allocated budget. For example, at FREE NOW for Business, you have complete visibility thanks to the admin dashboard. This web interface allows you to add or remove employees, assign cost centres, define personalised preferences and view details related to a particular trip. This system is fully automated, and all the trips are accessible in the dashboard upon completion.

2 - Centralise payments

One bill with all the expenses? It's not a dream but a reality with our centralised payment option! With FREE NOW for Business, you can opt for a centralised monthly payment to group all employee expenses in one accounting entry via an invoice received at the end of the month. This gives you greater visibility on all your teams' travels to better control and monitor expenses related to ground transportation.

3 - Limit the number of suppliers

In addition to having more bargaining power when you give exclusivity to one supplier, you also have more control over your employees' bookings. This way, you reduce the "invisible reservations" - those that your employees make outside of your mobility policy. Just remember leakage costs £2,700 per year per traveller and the price of an expense report can range from £45 to £60 in open bookings.

4 - Don't neglect indirect costs

When we talk about business travel, we intuitively think of direct costs (transport, accommodation, meals or travel) and tend to overlook the indirect expenses (billing, accounting, expense reports, insurance or unforeseen events). However, such indirect costs can be more expensive since they are rarely controlled. A piece of advice to limit them: anticipate and automate their management as much as possible so that you don't have to spend time on them later. With FREE NOW for Business, you can synchronise your expense claim management with SAP Concur to help you gain more control over your expense claim processes and save money while doing so.

5 - Understand your travellers: cultivate the data

Understanding the data you collect during business travel is an effective way to improve your travel programme. Analysing your travellers' behaviour provides you with valuable leads for correction, improvement and therefore, optimisation! At FREE NOW for Business, we provide you with all the tools you need to understand your employees' travel needs. The Web Booker, our online platform, allows you to track journeys and get a detailed summary - the essential data to understand expenses and costs!

6 - Set up an expense report policy

By setting precise guidelines for expense reimbursements, you take the first step towards defining employee expenses. A good expense claim policy means automating, dematerialising and centralising the process! In addition to saving the time of your accounting department and your employees, who are thus more efficient, you also limit fraud. According to SAP Concur, expense claim fraud costs companies an average of £660 per employee per year. That's a money-saving opportunity you should consider.