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If there were an international conference, meeting or pitch that was relevant to five employees, would sending just two actually cost you money?

Flying employees across the world is expensive. More travelling employees equates to more end-to-end costs, more chance of noncompliance with travel policy, and more instances of expense fraud, right? 

Yet business travel is good for business. More travelling employees can equate to more meetings, more handshakes, more collaboration and better ROI, right? 

The ideal size of a corporate travel team is somewhat of a grey area. Travelling on business has traditionally been regarded as a perk reserved for more senior employees; a management approach which can in itself cause dropping morale in non-travelling staff.

We weigh up the pros and cons of sending fewer employees overseas on business, and discuss why a smaller travel team may cost you money.

 

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The Pros of a Small Corporate Travel Team

It’s no surprise businesses come to the conclusion that their overall travel spend will be exponentially reduced by cutting the size of their travel team.

Corporate travel is expensive and travellers incur costs on all fronts. Some of the most alluring corporate travel destinations can also be the most expensive to visit. Take San Francisco, for example, where the average daily budget for essential items (accommodation, transportation and food) comes in at almost $550 USD.

Similarly, the cost of eating out in Tel Aviv is such that the city is ranked as the 6th most expensive in the world for international visitors.

The challenging reality for travel managers is that even essential expenses like food, accommodation and transport can begin to stretch the company purse. Booking international flights alone can break the bank without an effective booking tool.

Furthermore, even a carefully designed corporate travel policy can be undermined by noncompliance.

Logically, more travellers equates to a higher chance of this occurring. In fact, it’s reported that employee overspending makes up as much as a third of a business’ travel and expense budget.

Another study found that expense reimbursement constitutes approximately 15% of all business fraud.

And international travel exposes employees to risk. The enduring threat of global terrorism, local crime and identity theft poses further financial risk to businesses.

So if high essential expenses, the chance of noncompliance and risk go hand-in-hand with international business travel, why would businesses consider sending more employees than they absolutely need to?

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The Cons of a Small Corporate Travel Team

Corporate travel boasts a significant return on investment - a figure put at between $10 and $14.99 USD

Why? Business travel is both personally enriching and professionally lucrative. It exposes employees to new ideas, strategies, industries and markets, and even primes the brain to think creatively.

Yet corporate travel is only as good as its travellers. Positive travellers succeed in meetings, in pitches, in conferences, in networking engagements and in driving innovation upon their return to the office.

On the other hand, travelling employees who are crippled by the common and diverse stresses associated with international travel aren’t as incentivised to adhere to a stringent programme of frugal spending.

Reducing the size of a travel team can place a heavier burden on the travellers. It can contribute to loneliness and stress, and reduce the opportunity for collaboration. It can also damage the morale of non-travelling employees at home base, who feel they are being denied the opportunity to enjoy a career highlight. 

Even more obvious, a smaller travel team means fewer feet on the ground, less presence in pitches, fewer business cards and smaller networks, and less exposure to new and profitable ideas.

However, managing the many costs inherent in corporate travel is challenging without the use of a streamlined travel management platform.

Travel managers must leverage effective booking, expense reporting, risk management and communication tools if they are to facilitate a successful business trip. 

To see if your business is spending too much on corporate travel, calculate the potential savings the Locomote platform can offer by completing our Travel Savings Calculator below:

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