Slash ever-rising T&E costs with these 4 strategies


Once glance at all the expense reports that come through your department, it’s plain to see that some locations spur much higher costs than others.

Which places can you expect to tally up the highest costs this year? According to the 2019 Corporate Travel Index from Business Travel News, the most expensive cities are:

  1. New York
  2. San Francisco
  3. Boston
  4. San Jose, and
  5. Washington DC.

Of course, you want travelers to be especially cost-conscious in those places. But savings should top of mind no matter where they are.

Frugal on the road

Check out four ways you and your A/P team can inspire travelers to be smart about business expenses:

1. Showcase role models. Let’s face it. There are some employees who are much better at adhering to policies and keeping costs low than others. You can probably name a few right off the top of your head.

Ask those employees to act as “role models” for T&E spend. It could be as simple as having them send a quick sheet of tips, apps, websites and restaurants they use. Or it could be as elaborate as scheduling an in-person session where they share advice and answer questions.

2. Promote rate checks. You know Uber and Lyft are cheaper than taxis (about $25 versus $34) for ground transportation. But which rideshare should travelers choose? Encourage them to get both apps, so they can do a quick check to see if an Uber or Lyft ride is cheaper at that time and place.

And travelers can do the same with food spots, car rentals, etc., instead of just picking the first option they come across. It takes only a minute and will add up to big savings long term.

3. Consider generational differences. Chances are, your youngest travelers are your more mindful spenders. Most millennials opt for fast dining while older generations prefer more upscale dining, found Dinova research. Young travelers are also more hesitant to expense certain items (like snacks and alcohol) and more aware of company resources (like preferred restaurants lists and rewards programs).

Make sure everyone is well informed on company resources and available cost savings, and tell A/P to keep a close eye on baby boomers and Gen Xers’ expense reports. It’s not too late to change their ways.

4. Gather feedback and reassess. When it comes to your travel process, there may be certain things you’re paying for that your company thinks are helpful … but travelers really don’t want or need.

For example, many companies use travel agents to help with bookings. But travelers prefer booking digitally to working with travel agents, found Carlson Wagonlit Travel research. That was true across the board for booking flights (69%), hotels (78%) and ground transportation (71%).

It might be time to poll your travelers to see what’s really worth dishing out the big bucks for.