Have you recently realized that your business’s travel costs have gotten out of hand? Or, have you known that your employees have been spending too much on business trips for a while, but have been really unsure on what to do about it? Beyond implementing managed travel, one of the easier ways to reduce your company’s business travel expenses is by actively trying to save on hotel costs.
If you can save on hotel costs, you may just find that your company’s business travel is resulting in that ROI you want. Plus, saving on hotel costs doesn’t have to mean staying at sketchy, budget motels or forgoing room service after a long convention day.
Here are nine ways growing businesses can save on hotel costs, starting with your next trip.
1. Put together a company policy for hotel booking.
If your growing business doesn’t currently have a business travel policy, or you’re not using a managed travel service, then it’s time to implement a company policy. Even if you don’t have an overall travel policy with guidelines for when, where and how to book company travel, you can still put together a hotel-specific booking policy that tells employees how much they’re allowed to spend and where, and what the processes are for getting that travel spending approved.
2. Start approving hotel bookings ahead of time.
And, on that note, start approving hotel bookings ahead of time, in order to save on hotel costs. Rather than allowing employees to book travel on their own, as necessary, and then simply submit receipts after the fact, require them to seek approval for their proposed hotel bookings before they spend any money.
You may just find that this simple requirement reduces your hotel costs, as employees no longer take an “ask for forgiveness, not permission” approach to their bookings.
3. Look for hotels that offer needed amenities.
As far as how to save on hotel costs when actually booking individual properties, look for hotels that offer the amenities that business travelers need. Finding a hotel with free WiFi, free parking, free meeting spaces, free breakfast, etc., can majorly cut down on your overall travel costs. That paid WiFi — which your employees likely need to get their jobs done — can really add up over a week-long stay, increasing your hotel costs needlessly.
4. Set guidelines on what part of the hotel stay you will or will not cover.
As you peruse your employees’ expense reports, you might not just see paid WiFi as one of the extra hotel costs that they incurred. If you’re seeing extra charges — like charges from the mini bar — on your company’s hotel receipts, then it might be time to put some parameters around what the company will or will not cover. If you’re trying to save on hotel costs, then your employee should probably pay for that overpriced beer and bag of chips themselves.
5. Book as far in advance as possible.
While it’s not always feasible, when an emergency arises or a client has an immediate request, if you can, book your company’s hotel stays as far in advance as you can. Hotel rates go up the closer you are to your travel dates, so planning accordingly can help you majorly save on hotel costs. If you know, for example, that you’re attending a conference, along with a few employees, in three months, go ahead and book those rooms now.
6. Be flexible with your travel.
Unless you’re traveling for a conference or other event with set dates, you can typically be a little more flexible with your travel days — which can mean big savings on hotel costs. Check out your chosen property’s rates and how they fluctuate, and then consider booking your stay on the most affordable days of the week.
7. Use your data wisely.
Whether your Travel Manager compiles data on your company’s travel or you source data from a managed travel provider, make sure you’re using that data wisely. Look at data on your hotel spending and see if you can spot any trends.
Do certain employees spend the most on hotel stays? Do you always pay more for hotel stays when employees are on business in certain destinations? If you can spot any consistencies, address them, whether that means staying outside of a high-priced city, where the hotels might be more affordable, or having a discussion with an employee about travel policy compliance.
8. Reward your employees.
One of the best ways to get your team on board with a new policy change is by offering an incentive. While, with saving on hotels, you’re trying to obviously cut costs, spending a little on an incentive first might save you more money in the long run.
For employees who remain travel policy compliant throughout the entire year, offer some sort of reward, whether that be a gift card, extra paid days off or something else you feel would incentivize your team.
9. Consider hotel alternatives.
While a hotel might seem like your only accommodations option for business travel, more and more business travelers are opting for the cost savings they can find by skipping the hotel and staying at a home rental. Not only are home rentals sometimes less expensive, but they also can sometimes house more than one employee at a time, with multiple bedrooms, and they offer extra space for working and relaxing after-hours.
The best way to save on hotel costs is by simply using a travel management service.
However well the above tactics work for helping you save on hotel costs, there’s still one superior way to save on hotel costs, easily, without any extra work on your end: using a travel management service. With access to deals you typically can’t find as an average shopper, and with travel policy compliance front and center, a travel management service will save your company money, time and headaches.
JTB Business Travel offers a wide range of managed travel services, helping you save money and streamline your company’s business travel from trip planning to booking to expense reporting. Get in touch today to learn more.