SINGAPORE, July 19, 2023: Business travel continues to grow, projected to increase 188% over the next five years, but at the same time, costs are expanding
In response to these trends, a seasoned business travel expert offers nine tips, from taking flights every half hour and early weekdays to booking eight days in advance, to help companies get more value from their travel in the coming financial year.
FCM Asia Managing Director Bertrand Saillet says: “As travel experts, we know the tricks of the trade to secure the most convenient and cost-effective travel options for companies that travel regularly. Here are some money-saving hacks that business travelers have tried and tested over the years.
“FCM Asia has helped more than 7,000 companies with their travel through a comprehensive suite of offerings, from expert advice through dedicated travel managers and 24/7 support to innovative booking technology and powered travel assistants. by AI. Our team knows that service, efficiency and value are ultimately priceless for businesses, so many of these hacks will also improve the travel experience and save time,” added Saillet.
Here are nine travel hacks to cut business costs
Save up to 20% on airfare by booking eight to 14 days in advance. FCM Asia’s experience shows that the cheapest domestic airfares are those booked eight to 14 days prior to departure. Airlines tend to release cheaper seats around this time to fill their flights. Business meetings are often arranged a week or two in advance, so this trick is more useful for business than leisure travelers.
Book flights every quarter or half hour for cheaper fares. Veteran FCM Asia business travelers swear by this rule, chalking it up to a classic case of supply and demand. Flights that leave on time are more expensive as they are booked more frequently. For example, management can instruct an executive assistant or travel booker to book a flight at 08:00, and they will simply book a flight at that exact time. By booking flights of 15 or 30 minutes on either side of the hour, travel bookers can find a less crowded and therefore more affordable option.
Book flights early in the week. Data from Google Flights shows that, on average, flights departing on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday have been 12% cheaper than weekend departures. This trick will come in handy for business travelers who have the flexibility to book meetings earlier in the week. Weekend flights, while more expensive, come with other advantages: A traveler may be paying more for a Friday flight, but has the added benefit of spending a weekend in that destination.
Limit yourself to one or two airline rewards programs. It’s tempting to sign up for all the rewards programs, but FCM Asia recommends maxing out just one or two of the top ones and increasing your membership status. The most coveted benefits of these programs, such as first seat selection, extra baggage and access to the business lounge, are available to members who achieve gold or platinum status, which is difficult to achieve in many programs. Major programs like Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer allow you to earn and redeem points when you fly with a wide range of alliance partners.
Negotiate prices with your travel providers every 24 months. Many companies have a “set it and forget it” approach to their travel policies. This year, FCM Asia has seen several policies that haven’t been updated since 2019. If you want to reduce your company’s travel budget in FY24, it’s worth negotiating prices and scope of services with vendors, such as hotels and car rental companies established. in your policy. It may be worth switching to providers that offer better value. Regardless of how your business travel has changed in recent years, you should have a travel policy to match.
Use the ‘rule of five blocks’ to reduce reservation costs in the city. Avoid booking within five blocks of the CBD to save on hotels and restaurants in the cities. When looking for an alternative, choose areas with good public transport and easy access to the CBD.
Combine your trips. Since the pandemic, many of FCM Asia’s customers have changed the frequency and duration of their trips. While same-day trips were very popular in 2019, weekly trips are taking over as companies bundle multiple meetings into a single two- or three-day trip, occasionally adding a leisure trip to the end.
Flexibility trumps loyalty to reduce costs. Staying with the same hotel group or airline because you’re in a loyalty program may give you unique perks and offers, but it may not equate to cheaper travel throughout the year. Regularly compare prices with other travel providers to ensure you get the best value. Alternatively, set a cost limit for travel and let your employees pick their hotels and flights. This gives travelers ownership of their business trips and increased employee satisfaction while ensuring costs meet an agreed rate.
Join value-added programs and sign up for travel newsletters. It pays to selectively subscribe to hotel and airline ezines to keep up with sales and subscriber-only discount codes.
FCM is one of the world’s largest travel management companies and the main corporate travel division of ASX-listed Flight Center Travel Group. Find out more at www.fcmtravel.com.