At Delta Air Lines, we know that sometimes small businesses need to stretch their travel budget to meet with an important client. Here are five helpful ways small businesses like yours can drive more value from their business travel investment.
1. Know Your Numbers
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. It may seem like an extravagance, but implementing an expense management system that tracks your company’s spend can reveal opportunities to be more efficient, even with travel. It will also give you an additional channel to communicate travel policies and guidelines with your employees.
2. Don’t Forget About Rewards
If your company is not already earning airline rewards, like Delta’s SkyBonus program, this one is a no-brainer. SkyBonus, for instance, allows your company to earn points for every $1 spent on any eligible published fare. Points can be redeemed for a variety of travel rewards, including tickets and upgrades.
3. Focus on Loyalty
Instead of price-shopping, choose a brand, travel group or parent company you can stick with when you and your travelers are on the road. Whether it’s with a hotel group, rental car, credit card or airline alliance, your company’s loyalty will return much more value to your investment. Consolidating your spend with one group allows you to pool the rewards you earn, which lets you reach more rewards sooner.
4. Create Guidelines
If you and your employees travel frequently, but your company doesn’t have a travel policy, it may be time to create one. Start small. Even informal guidelines will help employees keep your company’s best interests in mind when booking travel. You can include your preferred carriers and your preferred booking channel. If your company uses an agency to book travel, it’s easier to track bookings and make changes if needed.
Make sure you publish and distribute your company’s travel policies clearly. Use your intranet, new employee onboarding, an annual memo or a combination of channels. You can even get creative and reward your employees for sticking with the plan. For example, you can try holding a raffle at the end of the year for all employees who have followed the travel policy.
5. Designate a Travel Planner
Business travel can be a rewarding experience for your company, but it can also be costly without the right coordination. Your company can save substantially by centralizing planning and logistics through one organizer or designated team. This team can coordinate rides to the airport, distribute travel rewards across the company and save valuable time that might otherwise be wasted by unnecessary planning.