With a smart process in place, you can save money on every trip – and make your travelers happy and your business profitable. Here are five smart ways to budget for your business trips.
Write out a plan
There is a lot to consider when traveling for business trips. To help make sure nothing falls through the cracks, write out a a financial plan and company travel policy that covers every area of travel spend within the company.
Create a proper approvals process, along with guidelines on travel reservations, spending limits, and policies on expenses. Setting clear procedures will help travelers stay within the company’s travel policy that don’t hurt the company’s bottom line, while also giving them the flexibility to make decisions should there be last minute changes.
Planning is important to maximize savings. When it comes to business travel, it is better to book travel in advance since prices can increase substantially when booking things last minute.
Keep your expenses in check
Travel and lodging costs make up the bulk of expenses. You can save by being more flexible on times and dates of travel, signing up for alerts for price promotions, and sign-up for corporate programs or memberships that give a corporate discount. There are companies that specialize in corporate travel management that may help.
Set up a realistic food, transport, and miscellaneous expenses allowance. Of course, when it comes to taking a prospect or client out for dinner you may want to splurge a little. You can set a dollar limit based on the area of travel per meal, or just give a per diem allowance.
As you can discover here, without a plan to track and keep your expenses in check, travelers can make a number of crazy monetary claims for business trips to include their pets! This includes setting limits when it comes to the drinks tab!
For transport, you should clearly set guidelines for travelers to choose the most cost-effective methods while not sacrificing travel times. This could be reimbursing them for using their own car or taking a Uber from the hotel to meeting location.
Extra charges such as hotel Wi-FI and parking can add up quickly, so allowing for miscellaneous expenses is important for budgeting purposes. After you account for all expenses, you may want to add an additional 10 to 15% in budgeted costs so there are no surprises. You can use different software programs and mobile apps to help keep track of your expenses and send reminders if an employee is getting close to a limit on a budget expense.
You may want to create an incentive system where the more your employees and travelers save, the more they receive. The savings can add up, so giving them a bonus, gift certificates, or even paid-time-off (PTO) can encourage them reduce travel costs.
These smart ways of planning for business trip expenses can make the most of your savings. It also can keep your employees happy so they are productive and help the company continue to grow!