Business travel is booming, and part of your role is to ensure those trips are productive. Part of that involves knowledge of your product or service and excellent customer interaction. But the rest of it requires optimizing travel for the best return.
Research shows that investing part of the budget into corporate trips often brings a substantial ROI. In fact, according to those findings, for every dollar you invest in travel, your business can bring in $12.50 in revenue.
How do you ensure your travel budget is going where it’s supposed to go in order to reap the benefits? The answer is two-fold.
First, start by training your travelers well so that they know how to bring in the clients. Second, follow these tips and strategies to optimize spending and boost your profit margin.
1. Look Into Various Transportation Options
The go-to transportation for corporate travel is flying, but it’s by no means the only option. If your timing is flexible, consider the pros and cons of driving or taking a train, bus, or (in some places) ship.
The expenses of flying include the trip fare, luggage, insurance, parking garages, and transportation to and from the airport. Those costs add up fast. If time isn’t as important to you as budget and comfort, another mode of transportation may be a better alternative.
If you’re renting a car for a few days, grab those corporate discounts at major rental providers or check out Turo. It works similarly to Airbnb: people rent out their cars on the platform. Depending on the area, you can find anything from a cheap but reliable vehicle to a luxury car.
2. Pay Attention to the Layovers
When you book something with a connection, such as a bus, train, or plane, pay close attention to the time between rides. Sure, it sounds great to get the shortest wait time possible, but if there are any delays, they will domino into the rest of the connections.
Instead, look for layovers that give you a little breathing room. If everything goes smoothly, and you have the full wait time, you can always find ways to fill that space productively.
3. Prepare for Mobile Work
Unless you’re driving, you’ll have some free time on your hands. Make a to-do list, and highlight anything that you can accomplish while you’re traveling or waiting.
Look into the WiFi options available to you. Most methods of transport offer internet packages. If you’ll be on the road for hours, it may be cost-effective to pay for the services and get your work done instead of losing that potentially productive time.
Take a few minutes to research the charging situation before you leave the house. Some planes, trains, and buses have USB ports or plugs, while others have nothing. Charge your devices fully, but have a plan to recharge them on the go.
4. Book Business Lodging
When you’re searching for lodging accommodations in a big city, your choices seem almost endless. There are advantages and disadvantages to hotels, motels, and Airbnb, especially for the corporate traveler.
Airbnbs are personalized and comfortable, but they’re often away from the business district, and they don’t usually have staff on-site to help you with issues.
Motels are designed to be great for sleeping and conveniently located near busy highways. However, they don’t have many amenities.
But hotels that advertise as corporate lodging will almost always be in prime locations near restaurants, shops, and transportation sites. That hot spot saves you travel time between meetings and gives you more flexibility and control over your meals and incidentals. Some hotels have everything you need right there on the property, including an office area to work quietly or hold meetings (just make sure to read up on each hotel before you book to verify that they offer the amenities they claim).
5. Schedule Time to Relax
There’s a reason you hear “work/life balance” thrown about so much today. Neglecting your mental health (e.g., relaxation) is a surefire path to eventual burnout, either physically or emotionally.
Take some time on your business trip to find ways to enjoy yourself. Don’t schedule back-to-back meetings for the whole day without throwing in some time at the start or end for resting. When you’re not rushing through your itinerary, you think and act more efficiently.
Using these tips to optimize your corporate travel puts your focus on convenience, comfort, and efficiency. This traveler-centric strategy not only saves you money but makes your workers happy, too — a surefire way to keep them loyal and productive. It’s a win for everyone!