People Watching Part 2

October 23 2008 by Chris McGinnis
Comments (2)

people watching2.jpgIn last week's blog I wrote about how the nature of each business trip depends on a wide variety of factors and influences. But you know, business trips and business travelers are similar in a lot of ways, too.

Business travelers are by nature a generally optimistic, well-rounded bunch. Our employers would not send us out on the road if we weren't good at adapting to rapidly changing conditions, making great first impressions and keeping our minds open to new ideas and places. Another skill worth honing in a sputtering economy is the ability to find value on the road. Some business travelers are good at this while others might need a bit of practice and coaching. (Stay tuned to future blogs along these lines!)

So even though the economy is slowing, it's never going to stop. Business trips will still take place, but cost control will be a common mantra in coming months. Business travelers are going to have to cut back, cut down and cut out many of the perks we've grown accustomed to, no matter if we work for ourselves, at a small business or a large corporation.

QUESTION: If you are asked to cut back on your business travel spending, what's going to be the first thing to go? How can you shave costs and still be happy and productive on the road?

Categories : Road Warriors


By Patrick Moore on October 24, 2008 11:14 AM

Unfortunately, the current financial state has already forced many cutbacks in spending across my firm - a global F250 business services provider, so shaving of costs has actually turned into a bit of butchering!

In booking air travel, gone are the days of buying unrestricted fares. The corporate travel desk actually requires override approvals to book direct flights - offering first, up to 2 connecting legs to get to the final destination. Business fares may now only be booked for travel exceeding 8 hours (no more New York to London in the front), and then only when clients have approved full reimbursement of the expense. In an effort to further control costs, my practice group opts out of the 8 hour rule and instead enforces coach class only for all travel.

On the hotel front, it's just as difficult. Our approved list of hotels in all major cities has shrunk, and the amenitites are minimal.

All in all, it's becoming more and more unpleasant to be on the road for work, and in talking with colleagues and peers, itís a pretty similar story across many major companies right now.

Though for sanity on the road, I still look for the enjoyable client dinner out at a great restaurant (though the expense audit department has more scrunity with the wine selections showing up as well as the per person tab), and then I always try to find good workout facilities near the hotel to wind down after a long day or help force sleep in an uncomfortable bed.

By M. Casey on October 24, 2008 3:26 PM

"On the ground" is probably the biggest place to reduce cost. In general, we're already flying coach, so there isn't too much to save unless we go to low cost carriers which actually aren't much cheaper in many cases.

So, hotels are certainly the next big cost item to focus on, especially for longer stays. Many of the more economical chains are doing better at serving business travelers (e.g. better working spaces and free Internet).

Food probably comes in next. It's getting harder to entertain, or even find reasonable personal meals at a good price. It's especially challenging when you don't have time to leave the hotel and order breakfast or lunch which typically adds $30 per shot to your bill for a bowl of cereal or turkey sandwich.

With that said, I try to find the best hotel deals online and look for packages that include meals or other amenities. It also helps to pit stop at convenient stores, so you're not paying $6 for bottled of water or granola bars in the hotel/airport.

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