If you are a sole-trader, new start-up or SME, then a pivotal business trip could be something of a make or break moment in your company’s life. Making the trip could potentially secure a landmark deal for the business, but it could also drain a significant amount of resources that could jeopardise its future.
Whilst there is the technology available to correspond via the internet, it may be necessary to visit a certain site halfway across the world. The costs of travel, accommodation, transfers and general expenses can soon rise into the thousands – critical amounts for smaller business. Here are a few tips for saving money when heading out on business.
Utilise Car-Sharing Services
Services such as Bla Bla Car in the UK have great savings available for people travelling to and from major cities. People who are making the journey offer seats in their car in exchange for petrol money. A journey from Newcastle to London can cost as little as £15, whereas making the same trip by train often costs more than £100. Immediately a fantastic saving has been made. Alternatively, if you a driving a considerable distance by yourself, then you could open up the spare seats in your car to paying passengers to completely cover the cost of petrol.
Monitor Costing Patterns
When you first make contact with an interested party, it would be prudent to determine where you would be expected to travel to if a meeting is ever agreed upon. Many destinations have weekly fluctuations in price due to demand. Calculate the more affordable date to travel and try to centre the meeting around this date during the initial exchanges.
A flight from London to New York on a Monday can be as low as £314, whereas making the same trip on a Wednesday could set you back an additional £25. Whilst this may not seem a superfluous amount, it could cover one night’s stay in a hotel.
Invest in Loyalty Schemes
Many loyalty schemes are free to join up to and can offer instantaneous benefits. It makes good business sense to begin your association with these schemes at the commencement of your business travel life, rather than missing out on the points/rewards you could accumulate.
The Lufthansa PartnerPlusBenefit scheme rewards business travellers for flying with the airline or any of their associated airlines. These reward points can be used to redeem free flights in the future or for free hotel stays. If there are a number of employees in your start up that may be required to travel, they can all contribute towards the scheme.
The IHG Rewards Club is the world’s largest hotel rewards scheme, offering incentives to stay at one of the group’s 4,600 global hotels across a number of both luxury and budget chains. Many of the chains involved in the scheme are already amongst the most affordable hotel brands in the world and this scheme can add additional incentives. Building up points can give you and your colleagues access to free travel or discounted flights.
In the long-term, it may be financially advisable to invest in annual travel insurance rather than insuring for individual trips. Despite the initially higher outlay, this could soon pay for itself after a few business excursions. So if you anticipate that you will be travelling three or more times in one year, then it may be preferable to invest in the annual travel insurance.
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