Five tips for managing business travel during an economic downturn

Mar 24, 2023

A period of economic instability is the toughest time to manage business travel.

While you may, at times, have to implement cost-saving measures, it’s still necessary to continue meeting with clients and contractors if your company is to survive difficult periods.

Read on to find advice from industry experts on how to manage business travel during an economic downturn.

Remember that business travel is an investment

During a challenging economic period, companies consider where costs can be reduced. And travel is often one of the first impacted areas.

But every business trip offers the chance to see a long-term return on that investment.

You’ll still need to meet clients and build relationships for your company to reach the other side in a better position. Allowing your team to travel is an essential part of making this happen.

You must be mindful of the financial outlay, however. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to keep travel costs to a minimum.

Five ways to reduce travel costs during an economic downturn

Amid rising pressure to cut costs, business travel is often highly scrutinised. Fortunately, it’s becoming easier to manage, track, and reduce your spending as technology advances.

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Prevent overspending by reviewing your ground travel policies;
  2. Reconsider your dependency on company cars;
  3. Take a multimodal approach to travel options;
  4. Track spending from a single location;
  5. Embrace technology.

Taking these steps and reviewing your company’s relationship with traditional travel methods (such as company cars) can save you more than you may have thought possible.

Get more detail on each of these steps below.

1. Prevent overspending by reviewing your ground travel policies

You’ll need a solid set of travel policies to manage your travel costs — but don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach.

Your employees’ travel needs will vary, depending on their team, role, and location. This means they’ll have different demands regarding budget, travel dates, and preferred method of reaching their destination.

By creating several policies to cater for your teams, you’ll find it easier to manage costs — all while improving the travel experience of your team. And splitting your policies in this way makes it easier to build sustainable travel policies that reduce your company’s environmental impact.

2. Reconsider your dependency on company cars

Almost six out of ten new cars sold in Europe are registered for corporate travel — showing how much companies rely on them for business travel. But the need to manage costs brings to light the almost never-ending list of related expenses.

As a business, your standard operating expenses include rent, utilities, accounting, salaries, and marketing. Company cars are an additional operating expense with many outgoings attached to them, including: 

  • Licences;
  • Taxes;
  • Permits;
  • Parking;
  • Insurance;
  • MOT;
  • Maintenance;
  • Repairs;
  • Tolls;
  • Fuel.

For many of these, the costs are rarely consistent and will fluctuate monthly. Plus a repair bill could land on your desk at any moment.

To top it off, cars are parked 95% of the time yet their asset value continues to reduce.

Paying out such a long list of variable expenses for a depreciating asset during a difficult financial time doesn’t make sense. This means it’s important to support your team’s travel with alternative forms of transport — whereby the costs are also easier to track and manage.

3. Take a multimodal approach

Sometimes, your team members may need to drive — perhaps when transporting equipment from one location to another. But are company cars still worth the investment, given they spend most of their life losing value in a parking space?

This is where taking a multimodal approach can cut your corporate ground travel costs. 

If you give your team the flexibility to choose from a range of transport options, they can choose the best fit for the time and distance of their journey. For example:

  • Work taxis for trips across the city; 
  • Car-sharing services to transport equipment;
  • E-scooters and bikes for the first- and last-mile.

Not relying on company cars opens up a world of sustainable transport options that will help reduce your costs. The examples above remove fuel, maintenance, and parking expenses. 

When your team needs to travel further afield, multimodality can make those trips more cost-effective and sustainable by removing the need for corporate air travel

4. Track and manage spending from one place

The costs of company cars are often scattered, making them much harder to track. Plus, expenses could come at any time — you never know when repairs or maintenance will be needed. 

Managing your corporate expenses from a single location makes the process much smoother, certainly from a tracking and payment perspective.

Managing your corporate ground travel with Bolt Business gives you access to your own Company Dashboard where you can:

  • Set spending limits;
  • Track total expenditure;
  • Make a single monthly payment for all travel costs.

Having this level of visibility is essential as you navigate your company through a difficult economic situation. 

5. Embrace technology

A key part of the strategy for keeping your company’s travel costs in check is embracing technology.

Without it, tracking business travel costs is a time-wasting hassle — and you could find that your total spending ends up higher than you forecast. 

By embracing technology, you can set spending limits, which gives you the certainty that your team’s travel won’t exceed a certain amount. You’ll also have increased visibility, allowing you to identify areas to reduce your spending further. 

As an added benefit, taking this step will make claiming expenses easier for your team, giving them more time to spend on activities that can help your business grow. 

Manage your corporate ground travel with Bolt Business

Bolt Business is the mobility partner your company needs during an economic downturn.

Take a couple of minutes to create your account — this helps you move away from expensive company cars and manage your costs more efficiently.

From your Company Dashboard, you can: 

  • Set spending limits;
  • Build corporate travel policies;
  • Track the trips and spending of your team.

Speak with our team to learn how Bolt Business will benefit your company.

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