By Sarah Waffle Gavin, on November 16, 2013

Stretch your travel dollar

Travel fuels business and, in particular, small business. For every dollar invested in business travel, companies realize $12.50 in incremental revenue and $3.80 in new profits.1 For small businesses who are working hard to stay in the game and keep their teams employed, travel may mean a make or break for them. But travel can also be one of the first line items to cut, so if you’re looking to save money on your business’s travel budget, we’ve got some ideas to help save money without cutting travel:

1. Book your flight, hotel, and car together to save big. Just like when you bundle your cable, internet, and phone at home, booking the flight you want, hotel you want, and car you want, all at the same time equals big savings, on average up to $525 per trip. Even if you’re going to a conference with a room block, you can often save more by bundling your trip into a package you’ve designed, with those savings either being pocketed to help the bottom line or reinvested in your trip so you can take a client you’re wooing to a nice dinner or add another day to close a big deal.

2. Maximize your rewards by making sure you get points for the trip you actually need to take. So often as business travelers, the flight we need to take to make our trip work isn’t on our preferred airline, or the hotel we’re hoping to get points at is miles away from our meeting. As great as it is to get points for traveling, as small business travelers, often, the needs of the trip mean you lose out if you’re only enrolled in airline or hotel programs. With a program like Expedia Rewards, you get Expedia Rewards points regardless of which airlines you fly, or, if you’re flying on an airline and are part of their loyalty program, you get Expedia points over and above what they give you. You also get points on any hotel you stay at regardless of the hotel brand and, if you’ve got our higher tier status with Expedia, you get hotel upgrades at over 1,400 VIP Access hotels, so you can book the hotel you need and not worry about sacrificing your reward.

3. Ask your procurement partner if they offer travel dealsNational Purchasing Partners, for example, partners with Expedia to provide 5% off all hotel bookings for members of their small business program.  That means over 100,000 companies are saving big money on their business travel and even passing that savings on to their employees as an HR travel benefit. 

4. Your new best friend fits in your pocket when it comes to saving on last minute travel. We’ve all been in the situation where a meeting gets moved and you’re stuck overnight without hotel reservations. The old school way to handle this was to drive around looking for a “No Vacancy” sign, often resulting in penalties with higher last-minute rates to stay the extra night. Today, don’t look up, but rather look down (but not while driving!) to your mobile phone where hotels are competing for last-minute bookings to help fill vacant rooms. You’ll often save up to 40% off your last-minute room using the Expedia mobile app.  For a limited time, we even have a $25 off coupon for first-time bookings to get you started.

5. Get a credit card that’s geared specifically for small businesses to make the most of the money you’re spending and make sure it comes with travel benefits. For example, Expedia’s partnership with Chase Ink means that if you use the Chase Ink card, you have access to our Expedia Business Rewards program so you can manage and monitor employee travel, plus earn rewards. Business who use Expedia Business Rewards earn a $100 coupon for every 10 nights their employees book, while their employees get to earn all of their own Expedia Rewards points, making it a win-win for the business and the employee.

Did you know that we’re giving away a holiday shopping experience in New York City courtesy of MasterCard and Expedia for NPP members? If your company is a member of the National Purchasing Partners, be sure to connect your NPP membership to Expedia for more information, terms and conditions, and to get 5% off hotels on whenever you book.  Not a member, but want to win? Contact NPP to learn more about how to join.

[1] Travel Coalition Survey

What are your tips for making your travel dollar count?