Business travel is an important tool for many companies to maintain international contacts and generate business. But apart from the benefits of business travel, high costs can be incurred and a great deal of effort that can lead to stress. With an advanced travel expense management, costs can be kept low and administrative effort reduced to a minimum. But what does an effective travel expense management look like and how can both employees and the company plan their next business trip without feeling stressed? We have put together some tips for you:
The cost drivers of business travel
Many different factors add to travel costs, such as flights, which are often the biggest cost drivers. According to a study by AirPlus, this is directly followed by hotel accommodation and other cost drivers such as conferences, train travel, rental cars and numerous other expenses incurred on business trips.
It’s clear that business travel results in administrative costs for a business and many travel managers even expect rising prices. However, not for higher travel costs, because these should remain constant according to travel planners, but because of more travelling itself. Indeed, travel managers are forecasting more business travelling. They expect that around 1/3 of business travellers will pack their bags more often in the future.
Although there are many alternatives (such as video conferencing), many companies do not want to forego personal visits. As a result, business relationships can be deepened and colleagues can better coordinate with each other and seal important deals: Because such meetings still require a personal visit from the point of view of many companies. According to the study, the top reasons for business travel are building up networks, promoting business deals and getting to know each other better.
How often business trips are on the agenda depends of course on the respective budget of the companies. The bigger the travel budget, the more business trips are expected. Globalization also contributes to confidence, as it also creates more and more international corporations and, as a result, the need to travel and meet colleagues and partners in their respective countries.
In countries with a thriving economy, a positive effect on the travel budget can be expected.
The most expensive cities for business travel
Of course, the destination also plays a big role in travel expenses. The consulting company Mercer evaluates every year in a study, which cities are among the most expensive in the world. Luanda, the capital of Angola, was in first place in 2017. Although the city’s cost of living is generally rather low, the cost of a high standard of living that is expected by expats and business travellers is extremely high. Hong Kong, the Chinese metropolis, is also making a name for itself. In addition to many Asian cities, Switzerland is among the front runners, with Zurich in fourth place, Geneva at place number 7 and Bern at number 10.
Tips to save costs and nerves
In any case, business trips are exciting and for many employees a welcome change from the office routine. However, they can bring numerous stress factors.
Among them, especially the following factors can lead to high stress:
Delays and cancellations:
If trains, flights or other means of transport appear late or not at all, this can confuse the entire travel planning, because usually the time schedules are planned very tight to save costs. Business travel is not vacation and time is money.
Due to the tight schedules, it can happen that something is forgotten, which is of great importance for the journey and the lack of time makes it difficult to recover the important forgotten materials.
If communication is hampered by linguistic or even cultural barriers, it can also be a significant stressor. It also puts a lot of pressure on the business traveller, as you are expected to maintain relationships and represent the company.
Disease and jetlag:
The time differences are not to be underestimated, because meetings and appointments must indeed be perceived at the appointed times as well as it is problematic when a business traveller has to cancel due to health problems, such as a cold then the company has to deal with a great organizational effort.
Internet connection, W-Lan and infrastructure:
Also annoying costs, can be an unreliable Wi-Fi network or bad Internet connections. As a result, the can not be worked properly and additional stress arises.
In order to survive the business trip as stress-free as possible, it is important to pay attention to the following topics in advance:
The employee should inform himself whether he has a guaranteed stable W-Lan connection. This makes it easy to avoid stress being generated on the spot and communication can be secured.
In order to be able to work abroad as well, one should also make sure that a quiet workplace is available, to be able to work concentrated and undisturbed.
In order to stay fit in the long term especially with frequent business trips, attention should be paid to a healthy nutrition and sufficient movement.
It is also particularly important that the business traveller researches enough, such as the possibility to print something out somewhere, if necessary or in general, to learn more about the destination, as it can break through cultural barriers and avoid misunderstandings.
The revolution of travel expense accounting
Also a known problem and factor which can affect business travel is the documentation of travel expenses. In some companies, the travel expenses are collected manually and the travellers have to collect all the receipts and then submit them, and then the administrative effort for the travel planner follows. The entire travel expense management is a very time-consuming topic, although tools could provide a great relief, many companies still do without it.
A travel management tool works as follows: Vouchers can be uploaded on-site by the employee and stored in the system. These data are stored in the personal file of the respective employee and can be viewed and approved by the responsible persons at any time. Through this process, the automatable processes can be done in no time without administrative effort and the travel planner can save the paperwork.