Many have claimed that business trips involving lavish meals and cushy beds are gone, with corporate travel budgets having been dented by the recession. However, as the global economy picks up, so too is spending on travel – driven by an increase in prices, as well as millennials.That’s right, at the end of 2015 an Expedia survey found that millennials spent more company money than their generation X and baby boomer colleagues. But before you put your expense accounts on lockdown, here’s some contradictory advice: Having employees spend more isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the occasional upgrade could decrease travel expenses in the long run.
Why it’s not a crazy ideaWhen booking a hotel room most believe an upgrade would constitute a bigger room, a better view or even a bathrobe flung in on the house. But there’s more to it than getting the ability to spin around in the middle of the room with your arms outstretched – with plenty of space to spare. Think of it this way: Spending a little more can go a long way in terms of productivity. You get more desk space – employees won’t be cramped on the bed trying to use the hidden wall socket behind it – in order to get work done, and instead of dishing out extra money for places to work remotely in the mean time, the option for early arrival and late check-out will go a long way. Furthermore, upgrading often means free WiFi.
Access to the club loungePerched on one of the top floors, the hotel club lounge is an exclusive social space reserved for guests in the more expensive rooms and can literally be a business traveller’s home away from home – or an office away from their office. This is because, to those willing to venture outside of their rooms, it offers full business centre services including computers and printers. Some even have meeting rooms that can be booked free of charge. Getting out of the room is a big deal as you don’t need the stress of being cooped up all the time to get things done piled onto the reason for your visit – it shouts low morale and lack of productivity. And let’s face it, rather a few pounds more to get all the above facilities and a few drinks than the amount of money you would spend sitting down in the bar area. Still not fully convinced a club lounge is needed? Take into account that breakfast alone could cost firms up to £30, while the average WiFi charge in a London hotel would be £20 for 24 hours. Spending some £50 for an upgrade no longer seems like the more expensive option.
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The collaborative success of suitesWhile the club lounge is far less of a secret now, there’s a method being used by several senior executives that employers and employees alike have yet to acknowledge. When more than one employee gets to go on a business trip, then why not book a suite? Think of the separate living room area as the meeting room – it could save a significant amount of money you’d likely spend trying to find a suitable spot to hold a meeting. Talk about logistical conveniences – and it’s more professional than the closest coffee shop. OK, so the employee gets an amazing view, a living room and a giant bathroom, but let’s not forget that the company benefits from it too. And remember that ever-present productivity factor? A well-rested and comfortable employee will be more focused and willing to work while away – a taste of the “suite” life would assuredly ensure anyone feels to the best of their abilities. Gary Jones is a sales director at FCM Travel Solutions. For the majority of SMEs that buy business travel, they do it in an unstructured and unmanaged way. But we’ve got seven steps for how to cut business travel costs by a fifth.
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