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economy seat, they can quickly find out through our app if there is current availability in business, or premium economy without any red tape. If there’s an upgraded seat available, you’ll get a discount that is unavailable anywhere else.”


PEOPLE POWER Once safely on the ground, many of these same strategies can also be applied when booking hotels or meeting venues for business trips, too. Namely, building relationships with the right people. “Account manager relationships lead to miraculous room availability when the direct approach online, or via reservations, results in nothing, even with preferred providers,” says the senior travel buyer. Equally, many hotel chains will offer corporate rates and reward programmes, such as the Marriott for Small Business scheme. Membership promises the best rates when you book direct, easier access to meeting rooms on-site, exclusive promotions and a points scheme to put toward free nights.


And when it comes to venues, one buyer also recommends Headbox, a consolidated tool for booking sites. “They not only have 200,000 European venues on their portfolio, they have already negotiated the best terms due to their volumes, and they don’t charge us, the client, for this service,” he says. “They have a 3-D walk- through website that allows bookers to shortlist and provide their management with a virtual collection.” Used correctly these tips and tricks will almost invariably see businesses save hundreds, if not thousands of pounds, on


buyingbusinesstravel.com


GIVE STAFF


THE AUTONOMY TO MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES FOR THE BUSINESS, AS IF IT WAS THEIR OWN MONEY


to reward employees for saving company money on business travel by allocating individual tracked budgets per staff member, and offering rewards contingent on the proportion they manage to hold back. “If, for example, they’re


travelling to Chicago and stay with their friend, rather than at a hotel, they get something back,” explains Heinrich. “You could really incentivise travellers to save money with that approach.” More simply, says Cowlishaw,


“give them the autonomy to make the right choices for the business, as if it was their own money. You never know, they might just do it for the rush.”


their business travel costs. The motivation for senior managers, and travel teams operating on tight budgets, is therefore clear. But what about travellers themselves? After all, though they might benefit from some of the perks en route, companies are often requiring them to put additional effort into finding routes and carriers that will save their employer money. Increasingly, it is the individuals themselves that are tasked with booking the nuts and bolts of travel. So, what’s in it for them? “Sometimes the problem


you have is that individual travellers don’t care about saving money,” agrees Heinrich. “It’s the travel managers that are interested in saving money.” As one possible solution, she recommends teams take a look at US platforms, such as Rocketrip. It has been specifically created


2019 JULY/AUGUST 53


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