Business travel nets many companies nearly a 4-to-1 return on their investment, and you can do the same if you travel right. Traveling right means taking stock of a trip’s potential costs, potential income, and engaging in a few strategies that can help you make the most of your trip.
How to Track Your Business Travel ROI
Figuring out your corporate travel ROI can be tricky, especially since most clients won’t actually come out and tell you the in-person sales pitch was the only reason they sealed the deal.
To determine expected ROI, you need to instead review prospective inputs and outputs. A travel investment may not be worth it if nabbing the client is massive longshot or involves a pricey last-minute flight. Traveling only for a single meeting or a single client could also make it a trip to skip.
If a client is on the brink of closing, however, an in-person visit may pay off. Set up a spreadsheet that lists:
- Estimated travel costs per employee
- Potential revenue and sales outcomes
- Additional benefits of the trip, such as local networking with former colleagues or existing clients and mentors
Then check out a few ways to reduce the overall cost of the tip while increasing the trip’s impact and value.
Maximize Your Time on the Ground
Flying out of town for an in-person meeting at noon? Take advantage of the open slots in the morning and late afternoon by booking other appointments. If existing clients are in the area, schedule a coffee break or informal visit.
If no existing clients are close, review your network on LinkedIn. Look for connections based in the city you’re in, or ask one to put you in touch with a prospect. An impressive 84 percent of LinkedIn users report creating business opportunities through the platform.
Establish an Out-of-Town Home Base
If you’re heading to a major city with multiple clients in the area, zooming from office to office can be expensive, time-consuming and downright exhausting. Save time, money and hassle by instead setting up a home base near your main client and letting the others come to you.
Pick a quiet coffee shop or communal workspace where you can have “office hours” during your trip’s downtime, inviting local clients to drop by at their convenience.
Keep Overnight Stays at a Minimum
Hotel costs can add up rapidly. Keep your overnight stays at a minimum by booking early arrivals and same-day late departure flights. While your sleep cycle may suffer, you’ll save money by not having to spend the night in your destination city.
You’re also apt to snag lower fares by booking these less popular travel times, especially if you book at least six weeks in advance.
Figuring out your ROI in advance is the way to make the most of every business trip. Look to take advantage of every opportunity to meet with local clients, make the most of your time on the ground and keep overnight hotel says at their minimum. Joining an airline’s business travel program is another way to save, with ongoing perks and reward points that can add up to an even greater ROI.
Your expense report software can help you save time and remain producting on the road, too. Look for a solution that works the same on all your mobile devices - has all the same features, all the same functions - including intelligent receipt handling features like snap and send receipt capture, forward and forget html receipts, Uber integration, hotel folio itemization, etc. This way you can build expense reports as they happen and submit your expense report before your plane touches down back home.
Our choice of Chrome River EXPENSE was made in part due to the very user-friendly interface, easy configurability, and the clear commitment to impactful customer service – all aspects in which Chrome River was the clear winner. While Chrome River is not as large as some of the other vendors we considered, we found that to be a benefit and our due diligence showed that it could support us as well as any large players in the space, along with a personalized level of customer care.
We are excited to be able to enforce much more stringent compliance to our expense guidelines and significantly enhance our expense reporting and analytics. By automating these processes, we will be able to free up AP time formerly spent on manual administrative tasks, and enhance the role by being much more strategic.