If you work in HR, you know that one of the biggest challenges in your job is convincing the rest of the organization that you can make a real contribution to the bottom line. Too often, HR is seen as a ‘cost center’ rather than a ‘revenue center’ – and that can mean the HR department isn’t taken as seriously as other departments, or given a seat at the strategic boardroom table.
So how can you look like you’re just as focused on the bottom line and making a contribution to the overall health of the organization? If your company spends money on corporate travel, try implementing these 5 money-saving strategies – and then make sure everyone knows just how much money you just added to the bottom line!
5 ways to save money on corporate travel
1. Establish well-defined policies. Too many companies just let employees ‘use their own good judgement’ when it comes to travel-related expenses. But without sufficient oversight, this can lead to $200 steak dinners and late-night raiding of expensive mini-bars. By establishing some clear guidelines (like specific per-diem amounts, expectations regarding taxis vs public transit, etc.), you can control costs without taking draconian measures.
2. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. With all the emphasis on bargain-hotel websites these days, you might be surprised to learn that the corporate sales departments of major hotel chains are more than willing to provide discounted rates even for mid-sized organizations. If your staff travels to a variety of cities throughout the year, one call to a hotel chain that serves the regions you travel to most often could save you 20% or more on annual hotel costs.
3. Consider corporate credit cards. Using corporate credit cards for travel expenses – either providing them to employees who travel or using them to book travel from head office – delivers three key benefits: First, they provide you with better annualized data on where you’re spending travel dollars, which can help you cut costs; second, they reduce the reliance on cumbersome expense forms (which some employees seem to take forever to submit); and with a little research, you can find one which provides cash back or other benefits that can further cut costs.
4. Talk to the purchasing department. Your purchasing department is experienced in researching and negotiating the best prices from all kinds of suppliers – they may be able to help you find additional ways to save money on travel costs, or even help you with some hard-nosed negotiation. What’s more, they may already be working with travel-related suppliers who are motivated to provide deeper discounts in exchange for the promise of exclusivity.
5. Investigate corporate housing. If you have multiple staff members visiting the same city several times during the year, or you often host visitors from offices in other cities, it might be time to consider furnished corporate housing. In Toronto, corporate housing can be half as expensive as hotels, while providing guests with the ability to make their own meals – which can put a stop to those $200 steak dinners!