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American Express Offers Tips for Business TravelersOctober 15, 2008 By: George Dooley
American Express Business Travel is offering 10 top cost-saving tips for road warriors. They note that with the global economy creating new and mounting pressures on bottom lines across all industries, business travelers can significantly impact the success and efficiency of their company’s travel program.
“Companies are seeking opportunities to maximize savings without sacrificing the tangible benefits of a robust travel and entertainment program,” said Priyan Fernando, president of Global Customer Group and COO of American Express Business Travel. The top 10 American Express tips for travelers include:
1. Plan Twice, Book Once— Travelers can incur many fees for changes with airlines often charging $150 or more and hotels charging "no show" fees of $50 or more. Double-checking to confirm appointments before booking can help you save on these potential added charges.
2. Pack Light— As airlines move to unbundle services, travelers can minimize any costs by packing and checking the least number of bags as possible. For longer business trips, the cost of dry cleaning may be cheaper than checking extra luggage for additional shirts and pants. Overnight delivery and luggage forwarding services are also an option if you have a lot of materials or samples to bring on a business trip.
3. Check Your Paperwork— Ensure that your passport is current and that you have any necessary visas for your trip in advance. Expired or missing paperwork can delay your trip and add costly charges for expedited applications. Most travel management companies can provide visa/passport support before you travel.
4. Be Flexible To Find Savings— For travel to or from an area with multiple airports, ask your travel counselor to search alternate airports or use this option in your online booking tool. For example, in New York City, fares may be less expensive enough at JFK to offset the incremental taxi fare difference for a trip to LaGuardia.
5. Watch for Waste— Millions of tickets go unused, even though most non-refundable fares are valid for travel for up to a year. While there may be change fees, travelers can still save money by not letting these unused tickets go to waste. There are various products available, like TicketTRAX for example, which can help travelers keep track of and re-use these tickets.
6. Employees That Stay Together, Save Together— Some companies are instituting room-sharing policies for co-workers traveling together. Along the same lines, sharing car service or taxis to and from the airport is an easy way to save. If you’re on different flights, plan to meet your co-workers at an airport lounge and travel to the hotel together, instead of meeting at the hotel.
7. Big Ticket Items Can Mean Big Savings— Complex international itineraries can offer opportunities for significant savings. Having travel counselors plan these trips for you saves you time (which you can use to focus on your business) and allows you to take advantage of their knowledge on the best airlines, fare classes, specials and more to ensure you get the lowest fare.
8. Plan Ahead and Stay In Touch— The earlier you book air tickets and hotel rooms, the more likely it is that you’ll find a lower rate. Many airlines and hotels will offer you a lower rate if the price for your trip falls after you’ve booked it. Plan your trips as early as you can and ask your supplier for a discount if you see the rate drop.
9. Stretch Your Stay to Stretch Your Dollar— With the resurgence of "minimum stay requirements," postponing your return trip from a Friday until a Sunday or Monday can create additional savings. If possible, considering extending your trip to include a weekend vacation in the same destination.
10. Oldies But Goodies— The "classic" opportunities still exist for travelers, and some are even more common now with higher airline loads. Whenever possible, you should look for opportunities to get "bumped" for a free voucher, select destinations that are "off-season" (e.g. for team meetings) and be flexible with your travel dates.