Expert insights

10 expert tricks to cut your business travel costs

10 July 2016

We asked industry insiders how any size of firm can reduce its transport bills – here, they share their secrets.

Think your company isn’t big enough to secure great rates on travel? Think again! At this year’s Business Travel Show, we quizzed the experts about how to bring down your business travel costs. Read on for their top tips (clue: loyalty is important)…

1. Join an airline loyalty scheme

You needn’t be a big company to earn benefits when you fly: “Enrol in a loyalty programme designed for SMEs – such as our BlueBiz scheme at Air France KLM – with no entry requirements, minimum spend levels or annual targets,” says Rachel Young of Air France KLM, Delta and Alitalia.

2. Fly smarter

As well as consolidating your air spend with a partner that serves your most popular routes, think about which airports best suit your needs.

“Remember that using your regional airport can often save total travel time, and ultimately deliver more cost savings,” says Young.

3. Book trains further ahead

Encouraging travellers to book rail tickets well in advance can benefit any business.

“Advance-purchase tickets provide a significant saving if you stipulate a set time and date,” says Capita Travel and Events’ Chris Truss. “This can be as much as 44% off the full ‘anytime’ single fare.”

Read his recent blog for more on the benefits – and challenges – of booking rail in advance.

4. Know your travellers’ needs

Find out why your travellers are booking ‘anytime’ rail tickets.

“Buying two singles might be the solution, but your travellers need flexible return tickets,” says Truss. “Buy an advance single ticket for the outbound journey, then an off-peak single for the way back.”

5. Try something new

Changing your rail route or departure station may result in a cheaper ticket, says Truss.

Travelling from Birmingham to London, you could go from New Street to Euston, or Moor Street to Marylebone, via different operators – and find a significant cost difference.

6. Centralise taxi bookings

“A single taxi expense claim can take businesses up to 54 minutes to process,” says our taxi partner, Cabfind. “With a centralised taxi booking system, expenses can be managed at the point of booking – providing an instant time and cost benefit to any size of organisation.”

7. Use a managed taxi service

“The large volume of bookings handled by managed taxi services like ours allows smaller companies to tap into economies of scale that would otherwise be unavailable to them,” says Cabfind. “This allows them to access lower prices as well as a priority service.”

8. Pick a car hire partner

Pushing your car-hire business through one supplier can be the best option (and offer substantial savings on private mileage costs).

“Employees can then benefit from loyalty programmes,” says Robert Ingram of Enterprise Rent-A-Car. “Take our Emerald Club: no minimum rentals are needed and it lets you access offers only available to members.”

9. Control your car-hire costs

A business rental account can also help you lock in car-hire rates.

“Retail rates go up and down every day with demand,” points out Ingram. “A business rental account gives you consistency – including, potentially, on billing – and speeds up the rental process.”

10. Check your needs

Don’t just think about car-hire base rates – consider the extra charges, says Ingram. “You may need one-way rentals, or vehicles delivered out-of-hours,” he adds. “Does your rental company pick customers up for free? Every charge affects price, so think about what you require.”

PS For the lowdown on recent air, rail and ground transportation trends, check out our at-a-glance infographic.

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 the details below, with an idea of the times that suit you for a call.