It’s a fact that small and medium sized companies are currently spending more on business travel – in fact SMEs spend up to 37% more on airfares than their larger counterparts. But whilst the big boys get bogged down in paperwork and box-ticking, smaller companies can be more agile and streamline their costs with our essential tips and advice.
Pack Light – The single most important piece of advice I can give you as a business traveller is to pack as light as you possibly can. Often preached yet rarely seen! Not only does it cut down on excess baggage charges when flying but you’ll also whiz through the airport/train station/bus depot quicker (delete as applicable). Pack a capsule business outfit: dark suit, change of shirt/blouse, underwear and toiletry miniatures are a must.
Get Agile – You can get one over the big players by being more flexible – corporate companies have to complete reams of forms, get approval from accounts and confirm a fixed date weeks if not months in advance – yawn! Which is to the advantage of smaller businesses that can set a date with a client and have the relevant flights/trains/cars all booked up in less than 24 hours.
Skip Business Class – Airlines charge a premium for business class seats knowing that the corporates will cough up, but even with the hefty discounts that are floating around, it’s still cheaper to fly economy class. And if you get lucky there’ll be a few empty seats (or maybe even rows) and you can spread out, without paying the flat seat premium!
Make Skype Your Best Friend – We all know have invaluable Skype is in the office but it also comes into its own on the road too. It allows you to connect to wi-fi hotspots without having to pay to sign up
Get Organised – Don’t forget to keep all your business related out-of-pocket expenses which are tax deductible. Keep as many ‘hard’ receipts as you can for taxis, meals, accommodation and transport. Your accountant will thank you for it.
Get Friendly – Another advantage of smaller companies is that you probably know each other a lot better than within a corporate organisation. And when it comes to accommodation on a business trip, consider sharing a room to cut costs, although you’ll have to assess the situation before you ask!
App Happy – There are reams of business-specific travel apps out there designed to make your journey just that little bit easier. Check out the ‘XE Currency’ app especially if you’re travelling internationally and need to convert across different currencies. The ‘Around Me’ app pinpoints the nearest shop/restaurant/chemist etc and the invaluable ‘Packing Pro’ app tells you what to pack for where, as well as information on passport and visa requirements.
Get Loyal – Loyalty cards are your best friend, especially in the business world. And it’s a great bargaining tool as well, especially if you can be flexible regarding your travel dates and times. Airlines reward their loyal customers with lounge access, seat upgrades and priority boarding.