Small businesses in the Midlands need to be savvier and start punching above their weight when it comes to buying business trips and travel. This isn’t a warning; it’s a message of encouragement. And it comes from the expert speakers at this year’s Business Travel Show who are eager to share tips, knowledge and advice with travel buyers who need their help.
“Small businesses believe the amount they spend on travel is simply not enough to give them any real buying power when it comes to negotiating discounts and deals,” explained David Chapple, Business Travel Show Event Director.
“But what they forget is, despite their size, it’s still a buyer’s market out there with plenty of opportunities for SMEs to ‘savvy up’ and reduce the amount they spend: from very simple money-saving ideas, to tips about having a structured approach to booking travel.”
In anticipation of this year’s seminar programme, which features eight sessions specifically for SMEs including ‘Finding the lowest air fare’, ‘Online Booking Options for SMEs’ and ‘How SMEs Can Be Savvy Travel Buyers’, the Business Travel Show has put together ten top travel tips for smaller companies:
1. Consolidate your travel arrangements through individual suppliers - your budget may not allow discount negotiations, but repeat business is an equally strong bargaining tool
2. Centralise your business travel buying and set a travel policy that everyone buys in to. Senior staff should lead by example and individuals should be discouraged from booking their own travel
3. Always fit meetings around travel and not the other way around - travelling off peak can save a lot of money
4. If you don’t have the power to negotiate discounts with hotels - at least ask them to throw in something for free (VAT, breakfast, for example) as a recognition of your loyalty
5. New hotels often have introductory rates and are worth considering
6. Hotel extras can be very expensive so have the mini bar emptied and arm your staff with a phone card
7. When booking air travel - consider budget airlines for short flights and lesser-known airlines for long-haul flights. The savings can be fantastic
8. You can often save money by buying two single airfares in your country of departure - it’s no longer illegal and allows you to take advantage of currency fluctuations
9. Consider buying round-the-world tickets if your trip has multiple destinations
10. Don’t take a taxi from the airport. Many major airports have faster, cheaper public transport links, such as Heathrow Express