businessman walking outside airport terminal while talking on cell phone

With the increased utility of smart phones, we have turned into a DIY culture. From ordering dinner to paying bills and monitoring packages being delivered to your house, why shouldn’t business travel planning be included in that DIY mentality? Because business travel is actually quite complex to plan, can take up valuable “working” time, and can make or break a company’s bottom line. While profits and losses are closely tracked for things like materials and payroll, when it comes to travel, companies seem to go for a Wild West approach—and it’s costing them. When reviewing your company’s travel expenses, there are some things to consider in order for your business travel to prove a return on the investment.

Business Travel News reports that business travel is projected to rise six percent this year. As a result smart companies will consider ways to improve their business travel planning, make life better for their top employees, and manage the budget in the process.

Business travel is actually quite complex to plan, can take up valuable “working” time, and can make or break a company’s bottom line. 

If you or one of your colleagues has said something like this recently, it’s an indicator that your travel program needs some professional guidance:

• “I think we blew our travel budget. Wait, do we have a budget?” First thing’s first: if you don’t have a travel budget, make one. If you have a line item for office supplies, you need a line item for travel. Take a look at last years’ travel expenses and how they contributed to your bottom line. For instance, did the client really need their account manager there every month, or would longer quarterly trips have been better? Either way, a transparent travel budget is a must.

• “We exceeded the budget because our travelers aren’t following policy!” Two things to consider here: First, is your travel policy difficult to follow? Punitive business travel policies may result in travelers trying to bypass them. Second, how easy is your policy to follow? A DIY approach to business travel can lead to non-compliance for the simple fact that your travelers can’t easily figure out how to follow the policy. A travel professional can be a great partner in this situation, as they understand the complexity of travel and will ensure that travel booked is within policy.

• “We’re a major player in our industry! So why don’t we qualify for major discounts?” There’s no doubt you may have serious clout, but in any business, money talks. And the money you spend on business travel may not be enough to impress the travel suppliers you work with. Enter a Travel Management Company (TMC). Because these travel pros work with a large variety of clients, they have superior buying power and can negotiate discounted rates in a way that many companies cannot.

• “We lost our top salesperson…again.” Life on the road can be tough. And if your company isn’t attempting to make it pleasant, your team very well may leave for greener passages. Focusing only on the bottom line can mean putting your top performers through late nights, early mornings, rushed connections and missed meals, and general travel misery. TMCs can help this situation by making sure that your travelers are taken care of and you aren’t overspending your budget.

Don’t leave your travel planning up to someone who doesn’t have that listed as their main job description. Working with a TMC is the best way to ensure your employees travel better and keep your travel budget in check. See if your company is handling business travel as well as it could – view our slideshow with 7 questions to consider.

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