Business Travel Costs

8/1/2003

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Holding down travel costs is increasingly important for many businesses today. Fortunately, for business travelers there are ways to economize. Having frequent travel club memberships, seeking out travel bargains online and taking advantage of membership tie-ins to other travel-related services can mean savings for you and your company.

To help your business get the best deals possible, the Better Business Bureau advises that you develop and enforce a solid travel policy for employees. Consider how much your employees travel and what class of service you can afford. Circulate specific guidelines for booking preferred hotels and airlines, selecting rental cars, handling meals and entertainment and payment methods.

You may opt to work with a travel manager or agent. If so, thoroughly research their qualifications and be clear about how you expect them to carry out and manage your company's travel policy. You will want to find a travel agency that offers all the services your company needs. Get bids from various agencies and evaluate the services. Be sure to check the company out with the Better Business Bureau. If possible, use one that has been recommended to you by other businesses or colleagues.

You can also do travel research on your own. The Internet can be a valuable resource, but if you are buying travel online, be sure to do your homework first. Use well-known travel web sites that have a satisfactory record with the BBB and a good reputation for customer service. Read and understand the company's privacy policy. Be sure there is a customer service number and a physical address on the site, in case you encounter a problem. BBBOnLine has a safe shopping site at www.bbbonline.org, which you can use, to research travel-related sites that have agreed to meet BBB standards for e-commerce.

Some good airfare deals can be found on the Internet, but find out about any restrictions, before you click the submit button. You can also check directly with airlines and hotels for last minute travel bargains and special promotions.

Another way to make your travel dollars stretch is to use frequent flier tie-ins. With some plans you can earn miles not only by flying, but by dining out, making long distance phone calls, renting cars and even buying flowers.

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