Companies can now embrace spending on corporate travel with open arms after a recent study by the Harvard Business Review revealed that businesses with a strong travel culture see profits soar by as much as 47%.

According to the research businesses where leaders see corporate travel as an investment rather than an unnecessary cost experience much better business results compared to those with a weak travel culture.

Travelling companies saw double the rate of improvement in areas such as customer loyalty and retention (50% vs 21%), market share (43% vs 22%), and employee satisfaction (35% vs 15%).

There can be no denying that in-person interactions foster closer relationships with customers and business partners.

While it is clear from the findings that cutting back on business travel will not save your company money in the long run, there are various ways to be smart about travel spend.

Adopting a traveller-centric company culture doesn’t have to break the bank, says Oz Desai, General Manager of Corporate Traveller. He shares four ways to help companies manage their business travel spending:

Oz Desai
Oz Desai, General Manager of Corporate Traveller

Implement a company travel policy

A travel policy is an essential tool for both a company and its employees, as it helps ensure that any travel conducted pays dividends.

Although a travel policy is often viewed as a way for a company to ‘police’ the travelling employee, that is not what the document should be about.

A good corporate travel policy matches an organisation and staff’s unique travel needs with the goals of the business.

It provides travelling staff and travel bookers with useful information and, more importantly, provides parameters when booking travel arrangements.

Leverage your travel company’s airfare expertise

The majority of companies with a strong corporate travel culture use a single travel management company, according to the HBR report.

Travel managers at these companies have extensive experience in both leisure or corporate travel backgrounds.

Experienced travel consultants know the tricks of the trade, which will help you to get the most from your airfares.

Your travel consultant will also advise you that rather than choosing fully flexible fares, you can save with semi-flexible tickets, which allow changes for a small fee.

And, booking different cabins for the outbound and inbound journeys can reduce the overall price of a return ticket, especially when flights are full.

Enjoy loyalty programme perks

Encouraging staff to sign up for an airline’s individual traveller loyalty scheme can often mean benefits for your travellers at no additional cost.

Just like airline rewards schemes, many large hotel chains have loyalty programmes that award points every time a traveller makes a booking.

Points can be exchanged for a variety of discounts and freebies, increasing the travellers’ enjoyment and saving the company money.

Take advantage of free extras

Usually, to qualify for an upgrade or negotiate a discounted rate at a hotel, companies would need to commit to booking a minimum of 100 nights.

That can be a tall order for many businesses, especially those with a small travel spend.

That is another example of how a travel management company can be useful. For example, Corporate Traveller has access to the Flight Centre Global Hotel Programme, an easy-to-use booking solution that has a wide selection of hotels and discounted corporate rates.