The growth of the digital era has, without a doubt, led to a multitude of benefits for business owners across the globe. We are now able to manage remote teams and have meetings from the other side of the world at the click of a button. Despite all of the obvious benefits, nothing can quite equal a face to face meeting – after all, people do business with people.
Business travel is big business. Although business travel accounts for only one-fifth of all of the flights in the country, it actually accounts for one-third of the spending. In other words, business travelers generally spend a lot on getting to places for work. A recent study found that the average cost per flight for a business traveler is close to $651.
However, travel is a necessity. For every dollar spent on traveling to meet suppliers and clients, the business can expect more than a dollar in added profits and revenue or reduced costs.
With new technology and clients halfway around the world, numerous flights can add up to become a substantial expense. As a result, organizations have to be very smart and work out the best time to book in order to cut travel expenses.
Although sometimes the flexibility required to cut down a flight price simply does not meet the demands a company needs, there are periods of time in which flight prices significantly drop. These are worth keeping an eye on.
The Fine Art of ‘Farecasting’ On Travel
Airline prices are so volatile and unpredictable that there’s an industry term for getting the perfect flight booked for the perfect price – ‘farecasting’. Farecasting used to be somewhat of an art form/ back. Before the digital world exploded, frequent travelers and businessmen had their own inside secrets about how the industry worked. These globetrotters spent enough of their time off the ground and in the air to know how the system worked. This helped them play it to their own benefit.
Things are a lot more complicated now. Technology has helped both airlines and passengers up their game. Airlines now use sophisticated software to optimize the fare and squeeze out every cent of value from their vast flight network. A technique known as Expected Marginal Seat Revenue (EMSR) is at the heart of most airline pricing software. The complicated and advanced algorithms match different routes, passenger info, median incomes, and various combinations of flights to figure out the most optimal price for any flight.
There’s also a common myth that airlines use browser cookies to track the type of device you use and the number of times you visit the site to figure out if you’re willing to pay more for a particular flight. However, this myth has been debunked by industry experts.
Airlines aren’t the only ones with tools. Passengers now have a plethora of apps and web tools to find the cheapest possible flights, airlines, and dates for their travels. According to a study by Google, the average person will visit fifteen different websites, have seven research sessions, and spend weeks trying to book a single flight. That’s a lot of effort to save money on flying, and it usually pays off.
Businesses and frequent flying entrepreneurs can go one step further in their quest to save money on flights.
Businesses Can Save Big On Travel
By using all the tools at their disposal, businesses can save a lot of money on travel. The trick is to use the right tricks and do extensive research.
Business research on airline pricing reveals patterns that most average consumers would ignore. Businesses need to get to know these patterns in order to save as much as they can.
For example, it’s not only about what day or month you choose to travel that affects the price, but also the actual day and time that you make the booking. A study by the Airline Reporting Corporation found that Friday was the best day to book a flight, as the average price for a seat is lower just before the weekend. Some experts extend this theory and believe that booking a flight anytime over the weekend is usually a good idea. Flights tend to be cheaper when there’s not a lot of people booking but a lot of people traveling.
On average, the cheapest times to fly are the months of May and November. If you are in the process of organizing a meeting, take a quick look at the monthly price reviews and pick a date that works best for your business´ budget.
Planning domestic flights 13 weeks in advance and 27 weeks in advance for international flights have been found to be the most cost effective. Of course, it’s not always possible to book meetings this far in advance. In this case, price comparison websites such as SkyScanner are on hand to provide the most affordable options for your business.
The type of ticket and where you fly to can also have a big impact on the cost. Most businesses will book business class tickets, but the thriftiest organizations can save a lot by adopting budget airlines and booking tickets at least a month in advance. As well as this, cheaper flights can often be found to smaller airports, where you can then rent a car or book a train ticket to get to the desired destination for a much lower price.
Businesses can also use certain online tools to forecast sales and lock in prices ahead of schedule. They can shroud their searches in anonymity by browsing incognito to make sure the airline can’t track their online activities to shift prices.
The other way businesses keep on top of costs is by having administrative support staff subscribe to airline newsletters that provide updates on cheap flights. Monitoring these once a week will keep staff well informed and offer a sense of scale when it comes to price.
Furthermore, business accounts departments will often have an ongoing arrangement with an established travel agent who can get better deals for the firm. This sort of arrangement works out well if the employees of the firm travel frequently and booking tickets is a regular aspect of the business.
Another way to shave money off the tickets is to look for local and smaller airlines that are cheaper. Sometimes, paying in a local currency can also make a big difference in how much is paid. Additionally, if there’s a large group traveling for business, it’s worth checking with the airline regarding group booking discounts, as many will offer this.
For the most dedicated firms, there are ways to find out if the airline has made a mistake in listing ticket prices. Taking advantage of a technical glitch may be another way to cut down the expense of business travel.
There are, of course, other ways to save money on business travel. Most experts and industry insiders recommend taking advantage of certain rules in the airline employee handbook to get an upgrade for free. You could try traveling alone and being a regular customer with a specific airline to raise your chances of an upgrade. If your seat is broken or the built-in entertainment system doesn’t work properly, you may also be entitled to a discount. Taking advantage of your loyalty and circumstances could help you get a better seat or quicker flight for cheap.
Businesses are beginning to understand that following top saving travel tips can shave off a huge chunk of the usual annual expenses. It’s worth being tech savvy, and having an eye for such digital opportunities has never been such a desirable skill within an organization.
Final Thoughts On Travel
Travel is an essential part of modern business. Despite the advances in online communication and the global nature of modern business, meeting face-to-face is still a great way to secure a supply line or win new business. However, frequent travel can be prohibitively expensive and can detrimentally cut into any business.
Businesses need to use all the tools they can to pick out the best day and time to book their ticket. Extensive research to find the cheapest flight is called ‘farecasting’ and over the years it has been adopted by businesses of all sizes.
Properly farecasting and using the right tools for research can substantially reduce travel costs for any business. The savings could be immense, and with the vast amount of business travel, these savings are definitely worth making.