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Expert Shows How to Save on Air TravelApril 20, 2009 By: George Dooley
Price concessions are not the only way to save money on air fares, says Bradley J. Seitz, president and CEO, Topaz International, a air fare research firm. Seitz offered his advice on saving money when traveling for business on a recent post on his blog, http://bradseitz.typepad.com.
“These 10 items are well known by experienced travel managers, but the travelers and CFOs of the world of business may not consider these options as potential cost savings,” Seitz says. "They are not tactics that require price concessions, but rather a change in the way we all should look at business travel. In most every industry and every company in the world, employees that have been able to hold on to their jobs are challenged to prove value. What are these employees doing to grow revenues or reduce expenses? Where do their individual contributions impact the performance of the company? Too many times, they rely on their suppliers to provide price concessions, when they should be looking for strategies to spend smarter,” Seitz writes.
“The most effective way to do this is to better understand where you are currently spending your dollars, and then devising a way to reduce that in a way that does not impact the performance of your traveling employees,” he says. His top 10strategies include:
1) Refundable vs Non-refundable airfares: Companies continue to have policies that allow their travelers to book fully refundable airfares, which are usually the highest in the marketplace. Take a non-refundable airfare up front, and save a few bucks.
2) Economy Class Air Travel: The standard for international travel for many companies has been business class, and the savings to change policy to coach can be substantial.
3) Alternate Airports in Metropolitan Areas: When traveling into or out of large metropolitan areas, there can be substantial price differences depending on what airports you go into or out of.
4) Nonstop flights or connections: Sure, in good times flying nonstop is always the way to go, but when it gets tough out there, flying connections could save you more than 50 percent of the cost of the flight.
5) Open the Travel Window in your policy: The most common times to travel for business are first in the morning and late in the day - so saving money means looking outside the normal window and including more options.
6) Is that full service hotel really necessary? It would be hard to substantiate a luxury hotel for business travel today, but how much could be saved at a lower tier hotel?
7) What is the best way to get to your destination? This one might take a little work, but comparing the cost of taxi versus sedan versus rental car and parking versus public transportation all should be considered when traveling today.
8) If you do rent a car, do you need something that big? We all love to cruise in that mustang, but maybe a smaller more economical car is really the best thing for everyone.
9) Eating - not like it used to be? We would all like to go out for that big expense account meal, but during times like this, we might have to tone it back big time, even consider a take out meal from the local Whole Foods.
10) Travel is good, but today a call may be just as good: Every particular situation requires careful evaluation to make sure that trip is in fact vital and important. Sometimes a call may just be a whole lot easier and cheaper.
“We must all think differently,” Seitz says.” “For all the little things we do today, it will pay dividends for our companies and our careers in the long run.”