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business travel spending tips

Smart Business Travel Spending Tips for Small Companies

COVID might have put a temporary kibosh on business travel, but it’s coming back fast! In May, for instance, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said “business travel is returning to full force, with the number of 2022 trade shows on the books at the Las Vegas Convention Center set to surpass pre-pandemic numbers.”

Trade shows, of course, are just one popular destination for business travel. Conferences, networking events, even meeting new clients are among other things many companies deem worthy of a plane or train ticket.

Business travel can be an excellent way to reach new customers, expand your team members’ skills and give you a competitive edge. But the Microsofts and Exxons of the world have a bit more cash set aside for travel expenses than a small manufacturer or a budding bakery. And seeing as how business travel is pricey, that puts smaller businesses at a disadvantage.

Today, we’re going to try to help balance the scales a bit by providing a few smart business travel spending tips for small companies.

Business Travel Spending Tips

Avoid Common Travel Price Gouges

The travel industry brazenly goes after consumers’ pockets in a number of ways; the more you can avoid them, the better.

  • Airport parking, for instance, is prohibitively expensive, with a week of parking costing up to $273, according to ParkingSpot. Avoid these costs by taking a ride-sharing service or public transport to the airport; reduce costs by looking for coupons; and if you must use airport parking, only use long-term parking and try to book it in advance.
  • Resort fees are another creation of hotels aggressively trying to bleed out their patrons. Also called amenity fees, destination fees and other terms, these fees ostensibly cover gyms, Wi-Fi and other perks that were once part of the booking cost. If you can, avoid hotels that charge resort fees.
  • Baggage fees are a well-known encroachment of the past few years. Many airlines now charge $30-$40 for passengers’ first bag, $50-$60 for their second, and sharply more for every bag thereafter. Where possible, book with airlines that don’t charge baggage fees. When you can’t, be prudent about your packing, and make sure your bags aren’t overweight before you leave home.

Set Realistic Food and Transportation Limits

A little preparation can go a long way in reducing business travel spending. If you travel to a city without researching nearby restaurants, your wallet could end up being subject to “whatever’s easiest” syndrome — possibly leading to exorbitant meal costs, especially if you eat at your hotel. But if you research the area ahead of time, you’ll have a clearer idea of how much a decent meal should cost (and where to get it), and you can set more reasonable food spending caps ahead of time.

Same goes for transportation, where even a little planning could turn numerous expensive cab rides into a few short walks and subway fares.

Use Travel Rewards Credit Cards

If you know you’re going to be traveling a lot, you can get more bang for your buck with a travel rewards credit card.

The most obvious benefit for those looking to tamp down business travel spending is points. Spend enough on flights, hotels and other travel costs, and chances are you’ll be rewarded with free fares and stays.

However, many travel cards provide other perks, such as no blackout date, free Wi-Fi for hotels, and free baggage and quicker boarding for flights.

Use Time-Tested Means of Booking Cheaper Flights

You can also do a few other things to bring down your flight costs. Exact times vary, but experts tend to agree that you can book the cheapest fares one to three months before your travel date. If time isn’t a major factor, flights with layovers tend to be less expensive. Cost-compare not just through booking engines like Expedia, Priceline and even Google, but also through individual airline websites too.

Document It for Tax Purposes

McManamon & Co. — an accounting, tax, fraud, forensic and consulting firm that offers custom services to companies across a broad spectrum of industries — can certainly help you with the tax side of business travel. But our consulting arm can also help your company determine the smartest business travel policies to ensure you’re not burning cash every time you send an employee out into the world.

Learn more about what we can do for your small or midsize business. Call us at 440.892.8900 or contact us online today.

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