Following are some helpful apps for road warriors.
• Taxi Magic makes getting a cab or limo faster and cheaper.
• FlightTrack tells you when the plane actually leaves and arrives.
• SeatGuru compiles information on airline seating to show the best seats other than premium.
• Priority Pass shows you what lounges you can access and where they are in your terminal.
• TripIt is a helpful and multi-layered trip-management application.
As we climb out of a long recession, travel prices are
increasing across the board, including base costs, ancillary expenses,
taxes and fees. What are you going to do about it? Let's take a closer
look at these costs and how smart management can keep travel -- the
average firm's second-largest controllable expense -- under control.
Base Costs The
base costs of a plane ticket will rise because, with load factors
averaging 90 percent or more, demand is very high for a scant number of
available seats. Fewer seats have come as a result of mergers (like
Southwest and AirTran), possible mergers (American has some suitors) and
service reductions to some cities. Airfares are projected to rise an
average of 4 percent domestically and 7 percent internationally this
Meanwhile, hotel development has slowed and now demand is
rising steadily, with rates climbing accordingly. Car rental companies
also are managing demand very well, with rates inching upward.
Travel expenses in the air and on the ground also will rise, as
travelers have a growing number of opportunities to purchase perks like
inflight Wi-Fi. And, we might soon see baggage charges for carry-ons or
gate-checked bags, as airlines grapple with overloaded luggage bins.
(Even Southwest might consider charging for bags.)
and retail options will expand, too. The difference between the haves
and have-nots aboard a plane will widen, so consider these costs and
your duty of care to your road warriors. Will you deny such charges?
Which ones are permissible and under what circumstances? Will you try to
negotiate for reduced fees?
From the hotel side, expect more resort fees, gym fees, etc., and fewer amenities for free. Again, what can be reimbursed?
the car rental side, watch for no-show fees and a myriad of additional
charges that now represent 60 percent of the daily rental cost. Your
credit card and company insurance policy might cover some of the items
your travelers are paying extra for; it's a good time to check.
Taxes, Fuel Surcharges
Airport authorities and governments are starved for funds, so watch
these taxes and surcharges rise. Also be careful of fuel surcharges. Not
only are they rising, but they have gone unmonitored. They rise and
never seem to fall, even as fuel prices dip at various times of the
What You Can Do How can you counter these effects and keep travel costs in check? Some suggestions:
• Leverage spend.
Group and meeting travel combined with all of your corporate travel
spend should be properly leveraged through one consolidated source for
the most effective supplier agreement negotiations. Only with
consolidated data and control will you secure the best values.
• Revisit your travel policy.
The policy should define how to avoid some of these charges, what can
be reimbursed, what suppliers should be used and why. A well-crafted and
clearly communicated policy, implemented with a strong travel partner,
can save your organization 20 percent or more. Assign someone the task
-- and be sure to report your savings.