~by Meghan Belnap~
If you travel frequently for work, you are probably aware that there are different ways to save on business expenditures. Most companies fail to look into the variety of options because they lack the time and the expertise. However, any saved amount can help maintain a budget and create more opportunities for business trips in the future.
There are a variety of expense-tracking applications that are free to download and use from the Apple, Android or Microsoft store. Many of the applications can be set up so you can enter the types of expenses that your company will allow you to put on your expense account. By tracking the costs, it helps keep you organized and aware of your budget when it comes to overall costs that you have racked up since your arrival.
Partner With a Travel Agent
Planning out the logistics of a business trip can be time consuming enough without figuring out the cheapest flights and best lodging deals. Have all business trips planned months ahead of time by giving the agent your company’s travel information at the beginning of the year in order to book the best flights at the cheapest rates. Travel agents are often aware of the best deals through their use of travel agency software. Enlisting the help of a travel agent can ensure that the finer details of the trip are not lost or forgotten.
Plan the Meetings Ahead of Time
If you’re hosting a business partner for lunch or dinner, you can often end up with expenses that you didn’t plan on when you started. One way to avoid this is to select your restaurant in advance and talk to the manager about your expectations before you arrive. This means avoiding the sommelier who wants to sell you the $320 bottle of wine to celebrate your business dinner. It also means that you can set the tone and the stage in advance. Be forewarned that not every restaurant can accommodate you like this, even if you do ask in advance. On the other hand, as a savvy business person, finding the restaurants that will accommodate you can save you time and money and help you create solid relationships with your correspondents.
Give each employee a certain budget that they cannot exceed. Other than business necessities, employees should spend their own money on entertainment and outside food costs. Making this clear in the company guidelines will eliminate confusion and misunderstanding. Refrain from sending your employee with a company credit card to pay for their business expenditures. Have them save receipts and proof of purchases until the end of their trip. Then reimburse them for the costs that involved strictly business matters.
Downsize Your Travel Team
If you are going on a convention or trade show trip, as a show of force, it may be tempting to bring more people than you actually need. Just as in college football, there are talented red-shirt people that could help you if they came along, but the truth is, you don’t need them. If you are taking your staff to a trade show, save time and money by choosing only the people that best exemplify your goal for that particular event..
Frequent traveling can help expand company accounts and markets as deals are made through networking. When you make saving money a priority, it sets a positive precedent for employees and coworkers. As you implement these changes into your business trip itinerary you’ll save more time and money in the long run.
Meet the Author: Meghan Belnap
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure.
You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.