As a small business owner, traveling for business can be stressful, especially if you're trying to work within a set budget. How can you find good travel deals so that you and your employees can attend out-of-town meetings and conferences without expenses significantly impacting your bottom line? Well, the good news is that there are numerous cost-saving strategies you can employ to keep your expenses under control. Here are some business travel tips to help you get started:
Join a Frequent Flier Program
By consistently booking flights on a single airline, you can enjoy a variety of benefits, from hotel discounts to free airline trips. Most major air carriers offer free rewards programs (as do major hotel chains) through which you can earn points that eventually entitle you to significant money-saving perks.
Explore Credit Card Travel Benefits
Numerous credit card companies also offer reward points and similar bonuses for signing up and meeting specified spending minimums. Credit cards that are tied to specific airlines or hotels can provide you with great perks, such as priority boarding, free checked bags and reduced fees for in-flight services. As an added bonus, you can simplify your bookkeeping process by consolidating all of your travel and lodging expenses on a single corporate credit card.
Shop Around for Discounts on Travel Sites
Business travelers have a bevy of discount travel sites to choose from, including Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz and Kayak. Look to these sites for discounts and other special offers, and use other popular review-based websites (such as Yelp and TripAdvisor) to locate the most economical accommodations and restaurants while you're on the road.
Download Money-Saving Travel Apps
The websites mentioned above typically have apps that you can download to your mobile device that also help with travel-related discounts. The Travelocity app, for example, can help you create a comprehensive travel package that includes airfare, a hotel room, a rental car and so on. Just don't expect to accumulate reward points this way! The Travelzoo app offers a similar service, while the Kayak mobile app helps you monitor upcoming travel deals and also features a "Price Predictor," which assesses the likelihood of fares rising or falling before you make a reservation.
Determine Who Needs to Travel
Now that you know how to book a trip that's within your budget, you must determine which employees should accompany you on a given trip. Most importantly, you must think of which departments are involved in the project at hand, or which employees could most benefit from the presentations at a particular conference. In addition, you should look for those individuals who have a demonstrated track record of working effectively without your guidance, as these employees can likely be trusted to make reasonable, cost-conscious decisions while on the road. Another factor might be selecting an employee who demonstrates an enthusiastic desire to learn more about the industry and who can also be trusted to best represent your business.
With these business travel tips at your disposal, you'll be ready to hit the road before you know it. Where are you off to first?
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