5 Ways to Reduce Business Travel Expenses

 

Pre-Pandemic Business Travel

Business travel has been a long-standing feature of American corporate culture. Before the pandemic, business travel maintained a steady upward trend, with 1.3 million Americans traveling for business within the United States every day. Business travel encompasses a wide variety of industries and professions, spanning both the private and public sectors. Traveling for business was traditionally crucial for industries that rely on site visits and therefore need the ability to bring employees experts to a given location (such as a facility, factory, training site, etc.) to interact with the people on-site, as well as the place itself. 

Despite the need for on-site interaction, the true cost of business travel is quite staggering. The average cost of a three-day business trip is about $1,200, with international travel reaching about $2,525. According to a report in 2019, the U.S. was predicted to spend $111.7 billion to send employees on 117 million business trips in 2020. 

How COVID Changed Corporate Travel

The pandemic changed the global landscape drastically. With national borders shutting down, canceled flights, and bans on social gatherings, global business travel expenses plummeted by 52%. Companies had to improvise. Some used videoconferencing to replace face-to-face meetings, while others turned to site-specific technology, such as Avatour, to conduct business that relies on site visits. During this time, companies were able to reallocate travel funds to other areas of business and enjoy the cost and time-saving benefits of less travel.

Now, as the world opens back up, business travel has resumed once again. However, prices are increasing, and business travel remains a prominent culprit in annual carbon emissions. Therefore, in order to maintain similar 2020 cost savings on business travel while reducing carbon emissions, we’ve prepared five helpful tips on how to reduce the cost of business travel.

How to Save Money on Business Travel

#5 – Reevaluate Your Business Travel Policy

The world has changed since the beginning of 2020. Yet, with vaccine accessibility and lower rates of COVID, people are eager to get back to “normal.” As your company opens back up to regular business travel, consider amending your policy to fit any new requirements, policies, or changes in budget. 

If you don’t have an official travel policy, now would be a great time to create one. Determining the roles and positions who must travel versus who can stay behind will help shine a light on any unnecessary spending.

Approximate savings: 20%

#4 – Reduce the Number of People & Days

One way to save on business travel is to cut back on who is going and for how long. Instead of sending five team members, send two. Instead of building in a three-day buffer, consider shortening the trip. 

While this will certainly reduce costs, there are certainly downsides to this approach. For one, deliberately reducing who can go might impact quality assurance and collaboration on-site. For another, a shorter number of days may also leave travelers feeling rushed, tired, or stressed.

#3 – Incentivize Employees

If your company has a lenient and/or no travel policy with high stipends, there’s a chance that you might be spending more than you need to. Moreover, travelers may be likely to spend their entire stipend rather than saving when possible. 

Incentivizing employees can come in many shades. One idea is to allow your employees to keep some of the percentage of cost savings, thereby encouraging them to reduce spending on items they don’t really need. 

Approximate savings: 20-30%

#2 – Be Flexible

By planning ahead as much as possible, you can be more flexible with your departures, arrivals, and times. When booking, ask your employees to provide several options for their travels. This will help the assistant/booking manager or employee to find the most cost-effective solution that still fits with their trip.

Approximate savings: 50%

#1 – Leverage Remote Presence

The best way to save money on business travel is to bring your employees to a physical location without the need to travel. Remote collaboration platforms like Avatour provide the same level of interaction and collaboration as if your team was on-site. Using the power of 360° technology, Avatour goes beyond face-to-face videoconferencing and gives each employee or guest the power of the full picture, complete with the ability to interact with an environment as if physically present. 

Remote presence is an ideal solution for site-specific visits such as inspections, site training, and tours. 

Approximate savings: 80%

In Conclusion

There’s no doubt that a hybrid approach to business and business travel will replace the traditional model. As businesses innovated during the pandemic, they were able to fully realize the cost and time-saving benefits of a significant reduction in travel. As the world opens up, taking a full audit of your company’s travel policy will result in the ability to reallocate funds to other business needs. 

Avatour is the remote collaboration platform for site meetings. To learn more about Avatour’s 360° platform or to receive a personalized demonstration of our technology, click here.