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The 10 best ways to save money on business travel


Finding business travel savings might sound like a challenge – especially with anticipated travel price increases, as detailed in our 2024 Global Travel Forecast. But there are ways to keep your costs down without compromising on traveler safety or services.

With a smart process in place, you can save money on every trip – and make both your travelers and your stakeholders happy. Check out 10 of the most effective ways to reduce your overall business travel spend.

  1. Tighten up your business travel policy
    From booking flights to meal allowances and handling expenses, there’s a lot to consider when setting out a business travel policy. Take a close look at your existing business travel policy and consider whether it’s robust enough to cover every area of travel spend within your company.

    Focus first on getting the fundamentals in order – a proper approval process, along with guidelines on bookings and reservations, on-site spending and expenses. Setting clear procedures will help your business travelers make decisions that stay within your policy and don’t incur additional costs that hurt your bottom line. If you don’t have a travel policy in place, read our handy guide on how to write one.

  2. Have a pre-trip approval process
    One of the simplest ways to reduce your business travel spend is by having an approval system in place for every booking. By making it clear who needs to approve travel, you won’t have the problem of trips having to be canceled after they’ve been booked, triggering wasted expenditure.

    If you partner with a travel management company, make full use of their online booking tool, which often includes trip approval processes. This should give you better oversight when it comes to setting up travel arrangements. CWT’s tool allows you to choose which employees can book their own hotels and flights and easily monitor their bookings. It means you can take immediate action if they venture outside your travel policy. 

  3. Save on airline flights
    Airline tickets can be expensive, so be smart about which ones your employees’ book. Employees could save just by being flexible on the dates of travel and airline they use, and by booking economy flights only. However, once booked, having a fixed travel plan is usually cheaper. Encourage traveling employees to only buy flexible tickets that provide an option of return dates, if absolutely necessary for the trip.

    Getting alerts for airfare promotions and discounted rates can also massively reduce your business travel costs. For example, CWT’s innovative travel management software searches for the best prices and the most competitive rates on airfares. Our additional price optimization tool uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically cancel and rebook tickets when it finds a cheaper deal to the same location, saving you even more money. On average, our customers can save USD 150 per ticket.

  4. Cut the cost of hotels
    Room rates can vary enormously, even within the same hotel, so being smart can deliver big savings. You may decide you want to let your business travelers choose where they want to stay. That’s fine – just make sure you set a budget threshold or star rating. You might also want to specify that standard rooms should be the required room type, and clearly outline whether you’ll be covering minibar charges, Wi-Fi costs and so on.

    If you want to stay in control of the booking, research will also pay off. Our hotel offering on our easy-to-use booking tool, myCWT, provides genuine, independent peer reviews from business travelers who have stayed in those hotels. If your employees visit the same location regularly, we can help you negotiate special discounts on hotel rates. Available for hotel fares as well, you can also watch savings mount with our price optimization tool, which will cancel and rebook accommodations automatically when prices drop. On average, our customers save USD 100 per stay.

  5. Consider bleisure travel
    Combined leisure and business trips allow for more flexibility when it comes to timing, which helps bring travel prices down. There’s also more openness to blended travel from senior management. According to a Future Market Insights (FMI) global report, bleisure travel already accounts for 33% of all business travel.

    This follows a cultural shift from the strains of the pandemic, but also how travel intersects with well-being, employee retention and recruitment, especially for younger employees.

  6. Explore trip batching
    Embrace the shift towards sustainability and lower costs through a strategy called trip batching. Rather than travelers booking individual trips, trip batching involves choosing a region and booking multiple trips in the area at once. Since the pandemic, there’s been a 10% increase in such multi-destination trips. Consolidation of trips can lead to reduced emissions, cost savings, and more efficient use of your employees’ travel time.

  7. Understand ancillary charges
    Additional charges such as Wi-Fi and parking easily add up to give you an unpleasant surprise at the end of a trip – especially when you thought everything had been accounted for. Some business service providers can bundle these costs into one combined package, helping you factor them into your budget forecasts and keeping you in control of your spend.

  8. Help your employees be more productive on the road
    If your employees are spending less time organizing their trip, they’re spending more time working – which is good for your company. Making their journey run as smoothly as possible at every stage will help them stay productive during their trip.

    Software can play a big part in this – for example, our complimentary myCWT app syncs employees’ travel schedules with their business smartphone calendars, giving them important travel details whenever needed.  Additionally, employees stay in the know with trip and safety alerts, destination intelligence and real-time flight status updates supporting the broader objective of enhancing employee productivity and safety throughout their travels.

  9. Partner for travel optimization
    Hiring a business travel specialist can rein in your overall business travel spend. As experts in the field, we work with global organizations to implement customized travel management programs and services – and our industry-leading travel support can save you money, time and stress.

    By teaming up with a travel management company like ours you can benefit from preferential rates on airfares and hotels, as well as on-site offers and promotions. Plus, our best-in-class business intelligence and reporting solution combines data from trip expenses such as airfares and non-trip expenses such as business meals. It gives you full visibility of all your travel arrangements, helping you make the right decisions that will lead to significant reductions in your costs.

  10. Reward your employees – and your business
    Every time your employees pick a more cost-effective travel option, they save the company money. Over the course of a year, that can really add up. So, how about giving them an incentive to deliver further savings? It could be a voucher for their favorite store, a share of the savings, or time off – just some way of thanking employees for reducing your travel costs and encouraging them to keep doing it.

    There are also savings to be had by ensuring your business makes the most of business reward schemes. These cost nothing to join and give your company points every time you make a booking. Once your points have built up, they can be redeemed against the cost of airline tickets, upgrades, and often hotels and car rental.


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