With rising prices all across the travel industry ($4/gallon, anyone?), businesses everywhere are searching for ways to reduce their travel budgets without risking their bottom line. Here are three simple (and relatively painless) ways to cut business travel costs without damaging your business or employee morale.
1. Cross-train your employees.
The average two-person field sales team (sales rep + specialist) costs companies approximately $138,000 every year in local travel alone. Instead of sending multiple employees to the same meeting, cut your costs in half by cross-training a single employee in related specialties, such as sales and pre-sales or consultant and account rep.
For internal departments, like marketing, finance and human resources, limit the number of people who travel locally or nationally for conventions, press events or training. Instead, designate a spokesperson for each department to attend events and then train the department upon return.
2. Give employees a per diem, and let them make the choices.
Car service, high-end hotels, expensive nonstop flights and four-star restaurants might have been the standard during the dotcom bubble, but for businesses in a modern-day financial crunch, these luxuries are breaking the bank. Create a new rule book for your traveling employees: “Here’s how much you have. You choose how to spend it.”
By giving your employees a hard expense cap, you pay only what the budget can afford. Employees choose whether they want to A) splurge on a nonstop flight and pay out of pocket for the rest; or B) opt for less expensive flights, hotels, meals and transportation to stay within the company’s allotted budget. Just make sure your legal department is on board before implementing this or any other corporate travel policy.
3. Harness virtual technologies. Read the rest of this entry »