Five smart ways to keep your corporate travel budget down

corporate travel expense

Featured | Finance

By Alvan Yong

According to Roy Morgan, there are currently 2.1 million business travellers in Australia alone. For a country that is home to one of the world’s busiest flight routes (Melbourne – Sydney), this won’t come as a surprise to many, but as corporate travel continues to grow domestically, the bottom line impact on business expenses is being felt.

Through my work as Airbnb for Work’s Asia-Pacific regional head, I am well aware of the challenges businesses (SMEs especially!) are facing when it comes to managing the cost of corporate travel. Modern corporate travel is all about combining affordability with flexibility to suit every travellers’ needs and smart processes, and I am proud of Airbnb’s pioneering role in this space. 

If you are a frequent business traveller or the owner of a small or medium enterprises, here are four of the most effective ways to reduce your overall corporate travel spend:

Develop a clear policy on corporate travel

From booking flights and accommodation, to meal allowances and managing expenses, setting out a corporate travel policy can be a tedious task, but it’s well worth your time in the long run. Firstly, take the time to assess your existing corporate travel policy to make sure it covers every area of travel spend in your company.

Once you’ve completed your review, focus on getting the fundamentals in order – a proper approvals process, as well as guidelines on bookings, on-the-go spending and expenses. Setting out a clear strategy and procedures will guide your business travellers’ decision making and help them adhere to your policy, which is guaranteed to save your business money.

Take advantage of the share economy

The share economy has established itself as a significant player in the business travel industry, offering costs-efficient alternatives for businesses looking to keep their travel budgets down. Airbnb research shows business travellers save on average 49% per night booking through Airbnb over other, more traditional accommodation providers.

Plan ahead

This is the golden rule when it comes to saving money on business travel. If possible, always book flights and accommodation far in advance as they can dramatically increase in price nearer the time. Bonus tip: The cheapest days to travel are Tuesday and Wednesday, so if possible, book for flights for those days.

Minimising food spend

According to Airbnb research, one in ten travellers are eating out every meal whilst on the road and spending between $50-$100 AUD per meal due to convenience. Suggesting options such as booking Airbnb for Work listings with kitchen and food reheating facilities whilst travelling might help with the budget, especially for frequent travellers. Planning ahead where you can eat and what you could prepare back at accommodation, will avoid large expense bills.

Be strategic about place and location

There are many ways to save money on business travel if you and your employees are strategic with their spending. A simple example: Choose accommodation that can also facilitate meetings and workshops to avoid booking conference spaces, entertaining or room bills– Airbnb offers work friendly spaces equipped with studies and large living rooms perfect for meetings or brainstorming.  

Alvan Aiau Yong is Regional Lead for Airbnb for Work.

Read up on related expenses articles:

What can and can’t be put through as “other” expenses

Startup DiviPay raises $2.3m to bring their SME expenses solution to market

A guide to managing expenses for small businesses

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