Getting the best deals for business travel
Many companies require their employees to travel for work, and if your business is the same, it is worth considering the various options when it comes to booking business flights to save you time and money.
How to book business flights
There are four ways you can book business flights – using a travel management company (TMC), an online service, booking it independently, and directly with the airline.
Travel Management Company (TMC)
Using a TMC can be very useful, particularly for businesses that have to organise a considerable number of flights every year. This enables you to pass the details of your travel requirements on to a third-party company, who then finds the best deals.
As you are working with experts in the field, you benefit from impartial advice, such as which airline has more legroom. You can also avoid merchant fees, hold the seat and its price until the ticketing deadline closes, get special deals for multiple bookings, and receive 24-hour support wherever you are in the world.
However, you will have to pay a fee for using a TMC, making this option only worth it if your company requires a lot of travel arrangements to be made.
Online booking service
This offers a similar facility to a TMC but you can do everything online. They search for the best tickets to offer you the best price, and provide a team of experienced travel consultants to offer you support at any time of the day.
You can store employees’ travel details on the online service, so you do not have to keep inputting them every time you book a flight. You also have all your bookings in one place, making it easier to keep track of the company’s travel arrangements.
This method is the most time consuming, so if you have to book flights regularly, you might find it is not the most efficient way to do so. As you find the flights yourself, you are not privy to upgrades, multiple seat packages, or inside information about the airlines.
The best way to book is to look for flights through search aggregator sites such as opodo.com or lastminute.com, as these searches multiple airlines to find the cheapest option for you.
Call an airline
Whether you choose to speak to the airline directly depends on whether your business tends to book flights to the same location or use the same carrier often.
For instance, if you have an office in Dubai, it might be advantageous to strike up a relationship with Emirates so you can get deals for booking multiple flights a year.
They might offer you cheaper rates or simply some perks, such as upgrades, holding prices, greater luggage allowance and so on.
Saving money on booking business flights
If you choose to organise the flights yourself, there are still ways you can save money:
- Book your travel arrangements several weeks or months in advance for the best prices (up to five months for flights to the USA).
- Combine trips abroad to avoid unnecessary flights in the future.
- Avoid fully flexible flights as these cost more.
- Avoid travelling at peak times and stay over night on Saturday.
- Look for indirect options.
- Book business packages that include flight, accommodation and transfers in one deal.
- If travelling in Europe, look at low cost airlines, but beware of extra charges such as luggage fees. You might find these add up so much it is not worth booking with them.
- Sign up to a frequent flier rewards card to rack up points on the miles you travel and save you money on future flights.