Expert insight

How to buy and book travel smarter

29 July 2019 by Steve Banks, Director of Business Development

Helping businesses to be smarter in the way they buy travel, and their travellers to be smarter in how they book that travel can have a big impact. Smarter working can save money, reduce traveller friction, enhance travellers’ wellbeing and maximise their productivity.

Changing behaviours to achieve the next level of cost savings is easier than you might think. It starts with challenging unnecessary travel. Choosing the right time and how to travel has the same effect  whilst driving revenue and operational nimbleness.

If a trip is of real value, Smarter working will ensure it is taken in the most cost-effective, safe and healthy manner. Here are some practical examples of how you can help bookers in your organisation  to buy travel in a smarter way, saving money and time.

Planning ahead

  1. If the meeting is for internal purposes, do you need to travel? Instead of travelling, could the meeting take place via a telephone or video conference?
  2. Travel less – instead of travelling every month, do so every six weeks. This reduces demand by 25% over 12 months.
  3. Hold meetings during off-peak times wherever possible. This reduces the need to travel at peak times, which is usually more expensive.
  4. When booking a meeting room, make sure all in-house meeting rooms are in use before looking externally.
  5. Always book in advance. The further ahead you book, the more you normally save. For example, booking 14 days in advance is cheaper than booking 7 days in advance, which is cheaper than booking on the day of travel.

Travelling by train

  1. Book a fixed train time for your outward journey to get the cheapest fares. If you cannot commit to a fixed time for the return journey, book a fixed outward, and flexible single for the return.
  2. Consider which day of the week to travel and be flexible if possible. There can be a significant variance in costs; for example demand is highest on a Monday and lowest on Fridays.
  3. Avoid booking Anytime tickets; they are usually the most expensive option.

Travelling by air

  1. Use clusters of airports that are closest to where a traveller lives e.g.  London (Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton etc) or provincial (Leeds/ Bradford and Manchester, East Midlands and Birmingham). Fares can vary significantly.
  2. When planning to fly domestically, consider taking the train instead. It’s a more environmentally friendly option, allows you to work on the train and avoids the hassle of crawling through airport security.
  3. Instead of flying premium class (e.g. Business or First), consider Premium Economy, especially for day flights.
  4. When travelling long-haul, and therefore business class, consider flying via an intermediary point (e.g. via Amsterdam or Paris rather than direct from UK) to make substantial savings without impacting total travel time - especially with regional departures via an intermediary airport.
  5. Signing up for travel alerts from your TMC will keep you on the move by providing 24/7 support.

Staying in hotels

  1. Always choose your company’s preferred suppliers first programme. They are normally located in proximity to desired office sites etc and have had a great rate negotiated at them
  2. Book your hotel to secure the lowest rate and enable you to cancel your reservation up to 24 hours before travelling without any financial penalty.
  3. For one-night stays, consider using budget style accommodation such as Travelodge

Paying for your trip

  1. Avoid buying tickets directly and claiming back the cost through expenses. A typical expense claim costs between £12 & £25 to process.
  2. Your TMC will provide a payment solution, together with traveller tracking and out of hours help if you need it

You see? No ticket science here. Just clear thinking and simple changes to behaviour can deliver big benefits. But behavioural change is hard to achieve without outside help.

Organisations need specialist suppliers with expertise in data and behavioural science and the products to deliver on those insights, join up the organisational dots, create a different conversation about travel and bring different stakeholders together.

Capita Travel and Events’ business is built on helping our customers realise maximum value at every level from their travel and meetings spend. We help them to change the way they approach the way they meet and travel, and by providing measurable outcomes.

We’d like to do the same for you.

Interested? Let’s have a chat about your company’s travel, meetings and events objectives - from the stuff that keeps you awake at night, to the everyday experiences of your employees! Call us on 0330 390 0340, or submit your details below.