When managed correctly, business travel contributes to a company’s profitability. Unfortunately, many companies pay more than they should for their travel programs. If you are looking for ways to simplify travel booking, management, and reimbursements while also saving money, consider updating your business’s use of travel technology.
What Is a Company’s Bottom Line?
The bottom line in business is what is left after accounting for your company’s expenditures and earnings. Travel, for example, can be a costly expenditure after you consider the costs of research, booking, transportation, accommodations, meals, emergencies, billing management, and reimbursing team members.
Still, business travel is a necessity in many industries:
- Some businesses, such as construction, require an on-site presence. The cost of business travel is integrated into the business model.
- Sales and relationship building require in-person meetings. Zoom, email, and phone calls only go so far.
- Professional development and educational opportunities often require business travel.
- If your company operates more than one office, business travel is critical for team building and morale.
There are other examples of how business travel is critical to not only doing business but also supporting the growth of a business. Business owners and executives need to reframe the cost of business travel as an investment.
How Is Covid-19 Reshaping Travel?
Many industries halted or sharply restricted business travel during the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic: TIME reports that corporate travel budgets decreased by 90% in 2020. Over time, companies relaxed their restrictions and began to once again approve and even require travel for some employees. Still, technological and cultural changes have served to reshape business travel:
- Working from home has become standard practice in many industries and it is not unusual for some employees to live a significant distance from what used to be their home office. In fact, some companies no longer have a “home office.”
- The shift to remote work has had a significant impact on business travel. It may mean, for example, that sales team members who previously traveled frequently have now settled into a comfortable schedule of Zoom conferences with clients. On the other hand, employees who seldom traveled may now be located halfway across the country and may need to schedule trips for the in-person functions and check-ins with supervisors.
- Hotels, airlines, restaurants, and other hospitality-related businesses are not “back to normal” in their own operations. They may be short-staffed, and many continue to maintain sanitation protocols that can limit access to services and amenities.
- Some companies may develop business travel protocols that require employees to provide proof of vaccination, including booster shots, prior to leaving for a trip.
- While employees appreciate the ability to work from home, many also want to be able to travel as part of their job. A 2021 survey by EY showed that 67% of the workers surveyed would like the opportunity for moderate levels of business travel. This indicates that business travel is also seen as a benefit by employees: Companies that provide this perk may be in a better position to hire and retain quality talent.
- Many travel vendors changed their cancellation and change policies to be more flexible, allowing travelers to alter travel plans as needed without financial penalties.
What Is New with Hotel Travel?
Many hotels made significant changes to their operations during the pandemic. In addition to new sanitation and cleaning protocols, amenities such as pools, exercise facilities, salons, restaurants, and coffee/tea stations were closed. Hotels often struggled with staffing levels, and travelers reported challenges with getting their rooms cleaned or accessing meals, even including breakfasts.
As the world adjusts to its new normal, however, hotels are returning to more standard levels of service, though many are maintaining higher standards of cleanliness and sanitation. One significant change in the hotel industry was an increase in the popularity of extended stay hotels. According to Hotel Management, an industry publication, demand for extended stay hotel bookings increased by 8.6% in the first quarter of 2021. These hotels offer more living space and the option for travelers to cook their own meals, an attractive proposition for those who would prefer to minimize exposure to others. In-unit kitchens are also attractive to travelers who don’t want to stay at hotels with restaurants that have only limited hours or that are closed entirely.
Which Technologies and Processes Can Impact Your Bottom Line?
As you begin to navigate business travel in a post-pandemic world, consider the ways in which you can leverage technology to help you book and manage travel in a way that is more cost-effective than ever before. Here are some ideas:
Revamp your travel policy. Clear, thoughtful travel policies help ensure that employees, managers, and executives understand your expectations for business travel booking, cost management, and accounting.
Make use of the CLC Lodging’s negotiated discounts and payment options. We pre-negotiate preferred rates from travel vendors and streamline payments. Your company saves money and the headache of tracking down billing and payment for individual employee travel costs.
Use our mobile app to find and book accommodations. We are business travel specialists and understand the unique needs of those who spend a lot of time on the road. Whether you are looking for a hotel in a city center, an extended stay hotel for travel nurses, or a convenient roadside with semi-truck parking, our mobile app can help you find just what you are looking for.
Develop and maintain a travel program that improves your bottom line. Join CLC Lodging for free today.