Travel Management for small businesses
Does size matter?
Yes it does. Travel Management for small businesses and large enterprises aren’t comparable in the slightest. Let’s explore the main distinctions between small business travel and its associated advantages and challenges. We can then discuss how to leverage those benefits and cope with any difficulties.
Table of Contents :
- Small business + Low travel volume = Room for improvement
- Travel Policy
- Travel Budgets
- Corporate Travel Management Solutions for Small Businesses
- Online Booking Tools
- Manual Booking
- Travel Management Companies
- Payment Methods and the role that they Play
- Credit cards
- Credit Facility
- Bank Transfers
- Negotiated rates – The deciding Factor
Small business + Low travel volume = Room for improvement
Small businesses may not have the same resources as larger enterprises. However, they have the potential to create better-managed travel experiences.
This potential should not be overlooked. Small Companies don’t face the same volume of travellers in general, so they have the opportunity to focus on the individual needs of the traveller allowing them to experiment with different travel management strategies and make changes quickly.
Smaller businesses can easily measure the success of their efforts. This can be seen in terms of cost savings and traveller satisfaction. There are fewer travellers, providing more insight into their behaviour and preferences allowing them to customise their approach for every individual.
According to Gett, only 60% of companies have a travel policy in place. For smaller companies a travel policy is extremely important and needs to be number one on your to-do list. A solid travel policy is essential for financial sustainability. Wastage, late or missed flights, and careless booking habits can all lead to higher costs and a failed business.
Creating or Improving your travel policy is a lot easier when you have a lower travel volume. This allows you time to fine-tune it long before any major damage is done. This does not apply to a large corporation. Keep an eye out for these common mistakes when developing a corporate travel policy.
Duty of care also needs to be highly present while developing the processes and goals of your travel policy.
Small companies usually have small travel budgets. Business travel isn’t cheap, and without regular expense reports that outline every travel expense it’s extremely easy to go over budget. This is where expense management comes in, a common feature included with most travel management software.
Travel Spending can also be reduced by using a TMC (Travel Management Company). This is typically an effective management solution. Most travel management companies (TMCs) will comply with your travel policy. They also offer detailed reporting and expense management advice to help you further reduce your travel costs.
Large corporations often need to employ an in-house travel coordinator. This is to manage all travel-related tasks and is accompanied by additional employment costs. For smaller businesses, however, the office administrator, procurement staff, or HR staff can handle this role.
Corporate Travel Management Solutions for Small Businesses
We have a dedicated article on The 10 Best Business Travel Management Solutions UK
Online Booking Tools
Online booking tools are great for small to medium size businesses and allow for complete control over your corporate travel. There are hundreds of OBT’s available on the market, some good, some bad. OBT’s often come with a fixed monthly cost. This can be an issue for those that don’t travel frequently.
Choosing the correct booking platform is essential for successful travel plans. It is advisable to do research before making a decision. Reading articles can help with this process. This article can be a good starting point.
Manual booking is the most common mistakes small businesses tend to make. An internal staff member or the business traveller search, compare, and book their company’s business travel online. This is known as the “self-booking” method.
Some of the core issues with this booking method are:
Consolidation & cost :
While searching for flights, accommodation and vehicle rentals online the results are scattered. Meaning that the booker will most likely not be able to discover and compare all of the options available. Booking a flight for cheaper without realising there is no luggage allowance is an example of this. Paying double the price when changing the dates by one day could have been avoided.
Did you know that you won’t be allowed to check in if one letter of your name is wrong on a boarding pass? Small details like these lead to great loss to the many businesses that attempt this booking method. Covering the cost of these errors will make for a convincing standpoint to switch booking methods.
Booking your own business travel takes your mind off of what’s important, business. This defeats the purpose of the trip and could have a negative outcome on your business. Not to mention that these staff members have a full-time job to do. Meaning that either the booking or their actual work will lack attention to detail.
Travel Management Companies
TMC’s have been around just as long as business travel has. Small, medium, and large businesses prefer to use a TMC. This is because it is an effective and organized process that saves you time and money.
TMC’s have an advantage over OBT’s. There are no monthly costs as you are charged per booking. This can make it more expensive than an OBT, as the fees are higher per item. Explore this article for more insight on how to choose between a TMC and an OBT.
Payment Methods and the role that they Play
The most common payment method in the travel industry. There are however, many different types of credit cards. Doing proper research will help to choose the most effective card type for your business.
Keep in mind that there may be some high transaction fees involved.
Most commonly provided by TMC’s, this is the second most popular option for all size businesses. It is worth bearing in mind that the TMC will conduct a strict credit check and vetting process. This is to confirm that your business is capable of paying the bills incurred.
Secondly, the TMC will ensure that your business has accounts in good standing. This is to ensure that the facility will not be abused.
If your business doesn’t qualify then the best alternative is a pre-funded credit card
A TMC or Booking platform can provide you with an invoice that must be settled before any bookings are issued. This is not ideal when time is critical.
Negotiated rates – The deciding Factor
When it comes to small to medium businesses, they do not have the travel volume to qualify for corporate rates. We can use OBT’s or TMC’s to get around this issue. They charge booking fees, but these are typically cancelled out by the rates they get from their suppliers.
This means that even though you are paying booking fees, you’re still saving money by using these booking methods. OBT’s and TMC’s are the best booking methods for small business travel arrangements. This is because they generate additional savings from a lack of errors, efficient booking methods and saving of your staffs time.
OBT’s and TMC’s are more efficient than traditional methods of booking. This allows users to gain access to the best rates quickly and easily. They also provide additional services such as travel advice and assistance with any problems that may arise while travelling.
This provides an added layer of security and comfort for small business owners who are already stretched for time and resources. Small businesses can benefit from using OBTs and TMCs. This helps them save time and money. It also ensures their employees are able to travel safely and comfortably.