SME business travel programme tips
Business travel is a large and vital part of many growing SMEs as they work to remain competitive in their market. Corporate Travel Management (CTM) provides three simple and useful tips designed to help SMEs ensure their business travel programme and budget is delivering value.
1. Know when to outsource your business travel programme to a travel professional
Using the expertise of a Travel Management Company (TMC) will not only free up valuable time allowing you to focus on your core business function, but it also provides the peace of mind that a true travel expert is on your side when you need it the most – such as assisting in a last-minute change, an urgent booking or for complex international travel, a cancellation request, or to help you find that eleventh-hour hotel room in a city packed full of footy fans or concert goers!
A TMC should be able to demonstrate its value; from travel supplier discounts and data analysis to improved travel purchasing behaviours, rather than focusing on service fees. Professional TMCs should be able to highlight the return on investment and look to not only reduce your overall supplier costs (air/hotel/car hire) but save your business the most precious commodity of all, time.
2. Research what rewards programmes are available
Travel is a competitive industry – from airlines and hotel chains to credit card and car rental companies; there is no shortage of suppliers vying for your travel dollar.
With a choice of incentive and loyalty programmes available, be sure you are not missing out on a ‘value added’ offering geared at rewarding your business by simply doing business. Source an airline-branded credit card to pay for flights with that carrier to reap even greater benefits every time you fly.
SME programmes are often free to join and can provide a significant benefit across the organisation. If you’re unsure about what programmes are available and which could be suited to your business – don’t be afraid to ask your travel provider or speak with CTM today.
3. Consolidate and conquer
Booking travel across multiple websites and platforms is an easy way to exceed your travel budget.
By consolidating your bookings through one central online booking tool (or travel consultant), you will provide:
- Your company with greater visibility of spend
- A duty of care by knowing where your travellers are at any time
- Opportunities for further supplier discounts.
At CTM, we find that businesses save approximately 8-15% on their travel spend through consolidation of their travel programme. The time taken for travel bookings and amendments is also significantly reduced.
As your travel spend grows, and a greater commitment of spend with specific suppliers is possible, negotiated deals are often arranged. A private airfare deal or a hotel contracted rate will see your travel overheads reduce even further.
Designing a SME business travel programme doesn’t have to be overwhelming or require a lot of work. Research what’s available to your business to minimise costs where possible across the different elements of your business travel programme and always seek professional guidance where needed.