Starting up a business can be expensive, especially when it involves travelling to foreign countries at your own expense. Here we look at various ways that new businesses can keep their travel costs as low as possible when starting out and securing those big clients.
- Have an advance booking policy
Flights can be hundreds of pounds cheaper if booked in advance with the biggest savings to be made on long-haul destinations. As a new business, it helps to put in place an advance booking policy so your growing team know that wherever possible, they’ll need to book their tickets between one and three months before they travel for the best savings. It also helps to have other policies in place – such as the requirement for your staff to use a good quality but affordable hotel chain with certain amenities included in the price. Some hotel chains – Accor Mercure for example – offer loyalty programmes that give you access to special rates and allow you to earn points redeemable against free nights.
- Research the flights before you book your meetings
Often flights can be most expensive when you are tied to particular dates or times. If you can choose when to travel and therefore pick the cheapest tickets, this can save your business hundreds of pounds. Start by searching for flights around the time you intend to travel to get an idea of when you could make savings and try to find a few low-cost options – then see if you can schedule your meetings around the cheapest times. Be open to staying an extra day at your destination if it means securing a much better flight price – it also gives you the chance to spend more time with your new contacts or colleagues.
- Check airline websites
Flight comparison and online travel booking sites are very popular but many people don’t realise that they don’t show all available options. Some airlines will not list some or all their flights on these websites which means you could miss out on good deals or more suitable times/dates. It makes sense to check the airline’s website directly for prices and times to ensure you have the full range of options.
- Join a rewards scheme
A rewards scheme allows your business to collect points every time you or one of your employees takes a flight. These points can be exchanged for free flights, flight upgrades or other rewards, depending on the scheme you choose. For example, on Lufthansa’s PartnerPlusBenefit scheme, upgrades start at just 1,500 points and free flights start at just 3,500 points. You’ll get a ‘thank you’ bonus of 1,500 points just for joining the scheme – enough to enjoy a free upgrade to business class straight away.
- Look for a business credit card with rewards
Pay for all your business travel expenses on a credit card that offers a generous rewards scheme and you’ll earn even more points towards free flights, hotel stays and other perks – on top of your frequent flyer programme benefits. Just be sure to factor in any annual fees when evaluating the benefits of the scheme and pay your balance off before you’re charged any interest.
- Use your carry-on allowance
Checked baggage can add hundreds or thousands of pounds to your annual travel bill and for short business trips, it’s rarely needed. Stick to carry-on baggage only and you’ll save both money and time on your journey. Carry-on baggage allowances are typically generous – Air Canada, for example, allows you to carry both a ‘standard’ item (measuring up to 23cm x 40cm x 55cm) and a ‘personal’ item (measuring up to 16cm x 33cm x 43cm). The maximum weight for each item is 10kg. Note that in addition to your carry-on allowance, you can also bring a jacket and a small purse with you measuring up to 25cm x 30cm x 14cm. Individual airlines have different policies about carry-on baggage so be sure to check with your airline before you travel – and make sure you review the guidance on what you can take in your hand luggage, particularly regarding liquids and gels.
Chloe Ravat is the Marketing Communications Manager at PartnerPlusBenefit, a loyalty rewards scheme for business passengers aboard 10 of the world’s leading airlines.