Are you responsible for coordinating the travel arrangements of a small company with frequent travellers, or are you a business owner struggling to keep tabs on your travel spend?

Managing the travel processes within a company and enforcing a travel policy can be a tedious, time-consuming task. Not to mention the after-hours calls to help your travellers when they are stranded at the airport.

Adopting a few good habits will help you keep sight of the positive outcomes that travel can derive for your business, shape a better-performing travel programme and free up time so you can focus on more pressing issues at hand.

Here are Flight Centre Business Travel’s 10 steps to perfect your business travel bookings:

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1. Know how travel impacts your company

Get in tune with the nature of corporate travel in your organisation, understanding who travels where, when, why and how. Consider how your company’s culture influences the travel experience for each stakeholder.

Work jointly with management, employee travellers and representatives from relevant in-house departments, like IT, sales, finance or HR. Understand the pain points each traveller experiences, be it time-consuming booking processes or conflicting policies. Share this feedback to get buy-in and ensure compliance.

Collaborate and engage regularly, not only when things go wrong. Build a positive brand around your travel programme, which is a natural extension of what the company represents.

2. Partner with a knowledgeable travel management company

At Flight Centre Business Travel (FCBT), our account managers make it their business to know your business. Tap into their specialist knowledge to empower yourself and improve results.

For support booking flights, FCBT will send you at least three travel options within two hours of any request. Ticketing rules are complex, so we’ll explain how semi-flexible fares can save on costs for changes and cancellation fees. We also hold the price of a flight for up to 24 hours while you await approval from management.

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3. Keep up with the latest travel trends

It is no longer enough to select a hotel for your traveller based on price and location. You need the right match. FCBT’s SmartSTAY programme identifies five business traveller profiles and the value-adds important for each type of traveller.

It’s not always cost-effective to book the accommodation closest to a traveller’s place of business. Choosing accommodation outside the Cape Town CBD, for example, can impact the cost of a room night by up to 46%.

Plus, the way hotels are yielding their prices at the moment with different prices showing at different times of the day, it pays to have an expert to assist in getting the best possible rates.

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4. Know your total travel spend for better budgeting

You can’t aim for savings if you can’t calculate your travel spend. This includes big expense items, as well as smaller costs that add up over time, such as extra baggage fees and airport parking.

Sometimes booking the cheapest room with no inclusions doesn’t save travellers a cent. If your company is spending significantly more on items such as parking and Wi-Fi, negotiate to have these included in the room rate.

Identify high-volume destinations and frequently used suppliers. Look at common routes to see if alternative routings or suppliers could be better suited. Establish whether your travel spend includes meetings, incentives, conferences and events.

Tighter rules around travel can reduce overspending, but be careful they don’t create traveller friction or burn-out. This is the negative imprint travel leaves on an employee, causing stress, exhaustion and unhappiness.

If employees have to settle for undesirable flights and hotels to save money, productivity and well-being often suffer, which can be costly. Alternatively, travellers could go rogue and book outside policy, which has its own challenges.

For 6 more tips and tricks, download your complimentary 10 step travel booker’s guide here!