Ever wondered what the average cost of business travel in the UK is? If so, hopefully I can give you some idea of this expense. I think it is fair to state at the outset, that this differs a lot between Corporate travel and that for smaller businesses.
It is also worth pointing out that business travel drops a lot in times of recession and austerity. The reasons for that are pretty obvious. When businesses start to make cuts, then business travel is one of the first areas they will, or should look at.
What Makes Up Travel Expenses and Costs?
There are a number of elements that can quickly add up to travel costs. I have listed these below and you will be able to quickly see how these can mount up. They include:
- Business Car Milage
- Car parking
- Toll Fees
- Air flights
- Car Hire
- Food allowance
- Mobile Phones
Although the list is not exhaustive, it easily demonstrates how quickly even a basic trip can mount up.
What Is the Average Cost of Business Travel in the UK?
For most businesses this cost works out at around £750 per employee per year. Now clearly this will depend on the type of business. A factory for example should have lower costs per employee that say a sale's team who travel regularly. However, for those employees that have a need to travel, the average costs are high.
The thing to note for most businesses is that these do effect the bottom line and the net profit of any company. That does not mean that they are not required. Any business travel expense should however be carefully scrutinised before a final decision is made. This is especially true for the higher costs such as hotels or air travel.
Business Travel Pros & Cons
There are of course huge business benefits in travelling when required. Below I have shown what these are and also offered some alternatives to actually making a physical journey.
Face to Face Benefits
- Networking is important and getting to know a business colleague can be very important
- Initial meetings are best done face to face
- Shaking a hand, showing special interest is best done face to face
Alternatives to Business Travel
- Use the phone
- Use conference Calls or Video Conferencing
- Use email - not always suitable but suitable for fast basic communication
- Meeting half way - always a great compromise for both businesses
Business Travel Tips to Help Reduce Costs
There are many ways to keep costs down and planning is by far the easiest way of achieving that.
Flights and Budget Airlines
In the UK there are a number of budget airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet. When booked well in advance you can get really great value flights. These are ideal for regular and required monthly meetings as they can be booked well in advance. Buying a flexible ticket is the best option as meeting dates can often change.
I have always found these to be better than using email. If you have already met someone and have got to know them, then a conference call is usually enough for anything that is ongoing. These are very cheap and call rates are very low for all businesses. For just a few pence you can have a long conference call to deal with the ongoing status of a project.
Another alternative is a video conference call. Although more expensive the ability to see someone can have its advantages. Something like Skype for Business is a cheaper method of doing this and it is easy to set up and run.
It is common in every business to use email. Personally I think it is over used and also a poor method of communication. If used properly it can be very good and is instantaneous. The disadvantage is that it can be misused. Some people tend to hide behind an email. Others ignore incoming emails and will not reply if they don't want to.
Some people copy in everyone and their granny and then send read receipts. It is all to easy to misread an email or even the tone of it. For simple communications it is however very useful.
Summary of Average Business Travel Costs
For me the first question I always ask is, "Is this trip really necessary?" If the answer is yes, then with a little planning such as the cheapest method or the fastest route, I then get on with it. If not necessary then I look at the alternatives and pick the best one to suit both parties needs.