Return on investment for business travel is a complex matter to measure, as it involves both operating and logistics costs, and a human factor too. That said, it is still possible to maximise this return with logical solutions.
With the multitude of ways of spending, from pre-paid to last minute bookings, paying at the hotel, by credit card, using a work or personal mobile, or even over the internet, keeping track of all the expenses that business trips generate is no easy task. But there are solutions that can help you get special rates for the whole company. The one offered by AccorHotels
, even lets you keep track of expenditure with a monthly report.
In short, the idea is not to book more cheaply, but to book smarter: adapt your reservations to the situation on the ground (based on the feedback from employees that have been there), keep hold of vouchers and sign up to programmes
based on how frequently employees travel, opt for pre-paid bookings, and be sure to read the small print of Ts&Cs so that you can prioritise bookings that can be cancelled at the last minute.
Travel is becoming an increasingly risky business (both physically and in terms of data), so it is a good idea to make sure that employees are aware of the safety regulations
and the technology that is most reliable when travelling (knowing where employees are at all times, how to contact them, protecting their data, etc.). This might not earn you money, but it certainly won't lose you money either, and will reduce stress levels and boost productivity as a result.
Direct contact is of course needed when signing contracts. Nevertheless, technology like Skype
etc. can easily replace a journey that would otherwise be made for the sake of a flying visit, where the employee might have to set off at the crack of dawn, to only get home late. As a result, this employee would be tired and worn out, and would not be able to give his or her best performance during the meeting. Ask yourself first: is the journey really necessary?
are those expenses incurred at the destination that are virtually impossible to avoid, like parking, transport, food and drink costs, etc. These expenses are typically difficult to predict, as they will vary seasonally and from region to region. But this shouldn’t stop you from making thriftier choices and adopting a collaborative approach (using hire cars with a driver, public transport, etc
As a matter of fact, a stressed-out employee on a business trip who can't find the time or space they need to rest or work will not be able to stay productive and will not generate any value. While this does not mean having to pay for employees to travel in first class or stay at a five-star hotel, prioritising their comfort can be as simple as booking them a seat with enough room to work, giving them access to the airport lounge, or choosing the fast track option for them to cut down the time they waste in queues.
Asking employees questions about their experience at the destination is the most concrete way of boosting ROI; find out what worked, what didn't, what came out as too expensive, or what could have been avoided altogether. Experience is the most effective barometer.