With travel and expense spend typically representing 10 percent of a company’s overall operating budget, the onus is often on the travel booker to ensure the costs remain in check. However, trying to achieve savings by only considering the immediate implication of cost isn’t the answer, according to Ryan Potgieter, Flight Centre Business Travel General Manager.
A practical example is booking the cheapest hotel room with no inclusions. “This doesn’t necessarily come with the cost-saving advantages one would traditionally expect. A good travel expert like FCBT will work with you and understand your company well enough to advise that you would be better served with an all-inclusive rate that includes services such as Wi-Fi, breakfast and parking facilities, which can otherwise add up,” Potgieter explains.
Here are four more accommodation booking hacks to help monitor your expenses, reduce traveller friction and eliminate your stress as a travel booker.
1. Reduce headaches associated with cancellations
“Most travel bookers will know the anguish of having to cancel or amend a work trip at the very last moment. Choosing the right hotel rate is crucial; but as hotel rates fluctuate up to 10 times per day, this can be challenging,” says Potgieter.
“Partnering with a TMC such as Flight Centre Business Travel (FCBT) will take care of this for you. FCBT employs a Global Hotel Programme that actively searches multiple websites and hotel deals across global locations to find the best accommodation, often with reduced cancellation restrictions, which means that bookings can be cancelled and amended, often on the day of travel, without possibly incurring penalties.”
2. Get added perks for your travellers
Different corporate travellers prefer different travel benefits.
“Millennials, for example, generally relish a chance to extend their corporate trip by a few days to give them time to explore the destination on their own, for their enrichment,” Potgieter reveals. “When dealing with FCBT, which has the global backing of the Flight Centre Travel Group, travellers benefit from a range of ‘bleisure’ options that are available and can be added seamlessly into a booking.”
There’s more. FCBT’s SmartSTAY programme is designed to make travellers’ stay more comfortable, with items such as free breakfast, early check-in and free upgrades, “any of which can mean happier, more productive travellers out on the road,” Potgieter offers.
3. Don’t miss out on upgrades
“In most cases, a company would need to guarantee they will book at least 100 nights to qualify for an upgrade at a hotel. This can be a tall order; especially for a company with a small to medium-sized travel spend,” he adds.
By booking through a travel management company with global buying power, such as FCBT, a company could enjoy the same upgrades and discounted corporate rates as any large player in their market.
The same applies to airlines, Potgieter explains: “Many international airlines have loyalty programmes designed to benefit not just the traveller but the company, too. By including loyalty programmes and preferred airlines in a company’s travel policy, travellers enjoy added benefits, such as free upgrades, lounge access and fast check-ins, while accruing points towards free flights.”
4. Cross your Ts and dot your Is
Travel policy compliance is crucial not only to maximise savings but also to guarantee the safety and happiness of your employees. Travel bookers need to regularly review their travel programme and ensure their travel policy is practical, enforceable and optimised.
For example, although it can be tempting to book the closest accommodation to a travellers conference or meeting venue, broadening the location radius can result in considerable savings. When looking at a trip to Cape Town, for example, opting for accommodation outside the Cape Town CBD can impact the cost of the room night by up to 46%.
Reaching out to a global TMC like FCBT can be extremely valuable and deliver savings, no matter how small or big the business.
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