4 ways to keep your travel costs down in 2014

4 ways to keep your travel costs down in 2014

Travel-related expenses can be a major burden on businesses within any industry. It doesn't matter what product you sell or what service you provide: every organization needs to put one of its employees on the road sooner or later. However, that doesn't mean you have to cede a large portion of your company budget to travel expenses. So, if you're hoping to keep your travel costs lower in 2014 than they were in 2013 – or if you're sending your first employees on the road, and want to keep the budget in control from the start – the tips listed below could offer the insights needed to do so.

1. Determine a stricter company expense policy

One way to keep company travel costs under control is by instituting a stricter policy concerning what your employees are allowed to spend. For example, if you only need to bring you travel costs down by a couple percentage points, but can't find anything to cut on, then limiting the amount your employees are allowed to spend on meals – even by a small amount – could give you the breathing room you need.

2. Invest in automated expense reporting technology
I your business hasn't yet invested in automated expense reporting technology, then that's a surefire way it could cut down on its travel expenses. These programs generate and publish expense reports automatically, ensure employees adhere to company spending policies, cut down on the data entry required by both accountants and traveling employees and much more.

When you invest in automated expense report technology, you're investing in a program that will benefit the entirety of your business. One of the ways it will do that is by giving you the tools needed to keep your travel expenses to an absolute minimum. So if your employees are still entering and analyzing their expense reports manually using spreadsheets, the solution to your problem is clear: new expense report hardware will cut down on your costs.

3. Establish partnerships with travel vendors
Another way to keep your costs down during business trips is for your organization establishes partnerships with vendors whose services it uses often during those trips. If your business is constantly sending workers on the road, then see if any deals can be reached that will get you discounts – on rental cars, or hotel rooms, for example – because you're a "constant patron." This type of strategy can allow you to save major amounts of money on the amenities that add up during each business trip you finance. A few dollars off your rental cars might not seem like a big deal – until you see what the savings add up to over the course of a financial quarter.

4. Eliminate unnecessary trips
Finally, it's always worth it to put the extra due diligence into determining whether each business trip you finance is truly necessary. With the advent of online videoconferencing and file sharing tools, not every task that used to require an in-person visit is still necessary.

Business trips are an integral part of any successful organizations strategy. But that doesn't mean you should be sending out workers every single time the opportunity presents itself. For each business trip, decide on a specific goal you would like to see accomplished. If that goal could just as easily be accomplished using Skype or Google Drive, then you may not really need to shell out the money for the trip and its expenses. Consider each trip thoroughly – and that way, each time your business sends an employee out on the road, the costs will be more than worth it.