Business Travel Hacks That Go a Long Way

Business travel can be filled with pitfalls for the uninformed. But for those in the know, it can come with a plethora of perks. Your team counts on you to help ensure their business travel experience is low stress and high reward. While common sense tips like "pack light" and "bring an empty bottle" are helpful, savvy business travel coordinators and managers dig deeper to ground themselves and their employees in hacks that have a real impact on the quality and cost efficiency of business travel.

"Expect the unexpected" is always a good rule of thumb for business travel. Delayed flights, lost luggage, subpar hotel accommodations, sudden itinerary changes --- the list of contingencies that you should always take into consideration goes on and on. But you can also expect to get more out of business travel, provided you take steps to avoid snafus and take advantage of perks and privileges that are often overlooked and underutilized.

Consider adding these how-tos and must-dos to your checklist. They're filled with valuable time - and money-saving tips to help make business travel less stressful and more successful.

Ditch the Stress, Plan for Success

Make sure your business traveler profiles are up to date, with the correct contact information and personal identification, including known traveler and loyalty affiliation numbers. If your colleagues plan to go abroad on business, advising them to check whether they need to update their passports can help them avoid a major hassle.

Encourage your travelers to review your expense policies. Remember that an understanding of what can and can't be expensed and how the process works can go a long way toward helping your colleagues  make wise purchasing decisions and ensure their trip runs smoothly. This includes knowing your company's preferred air carriers, how far in advance flights should be purchased, and the allowable class of service. You can make expensing even easier by connecting your Expensify account in your Upside profile so Upside trip receipts will automatically be forwarded.

Emphasize the importance of using preferred air carriers, hotel vendors, and car rental or rideshare providers for cost and quality control. And while you may want your colleagues to enjoy some rest and relaxation on their travels, be sure to set expectations by making them aware of meal allowances and restrictions on alcoholic drinks and entertainment.

Simplify business travel with Upside. Enjoy direct access to your own customer service experts, Upside Navigators. Save money (and earn gift card rewards) with package pricing on flights, hotels and/or ground transportation, or book airfare and lodging individually. When you sign your company up for Upside, you'll even get monthly reports detailing your travelers' total trips, costs, rewards, and savings.

Get Sky-High Savings and Service with Smart Air Travel

Book two one-way tickets on different airlines: It can be cheaper than booking a round trip, and mixing and matching flights may land you better arrival and departure times. Check individual flights on Upside, or book a package that includes flights + hotel (and even rental car). Buying a package gives you access to unpublished deals that can save your company even more.  

Score an upgrade, minus the bump up in cost. By booking an economy ticket with a Y or B booking code, your business travelers can signal that they're looking for the complimentary upgrade that can happen if any seats in the next class are available. Bear in mind that this is more likely to happen if your colleagues are frequent fliers with a pattern of loyalty to the carrier they're booked on. Also keep in mind that if you buy on Upside, the Navigators will look for perks like these without you even asking them.

Cancel non-refundable flights without getting hit with a fee. Many travelers aren't aware of it, but there's typically a 24-hour window to cancel without penalty. So if your business traveler has already booked a flight, simply track it for a day. They can cancel and rebook if a lower rate pops up. Some carriers, including American Airlines and Southwest, have 24-hour hold services that buy you time to find a better rate, and United's FareLock, which starts at $6.99, will hold flights for as long as three weeks. And don't forget, when you book through Upside, the Navigators will handle cancellations for you and do everything in their power to avoid any fees. You can also set the "Refundable only" filter while searching for flights on Upside.

Open the Door to Red Carpet Treatment at Hotels

Get complimentary Wi-Fi that works the way it's supposed to. Between 64 and 69 percent of business travelers say that free Wi-Fi or high-speed Internet access would motivate them to book a room through a hotel's website or app. Check to make sure your company's preferred hotel vendors offer strong Internet connectivity, which can make all the difference in productivity while away on business. Time is money, and a lot of both can be saved with Wi-Fi that is not only complimentary, but dependable.

Tap into tech conveniences. If you can steer your colleagues to hotels with as many ways to stay connected as possible, more power to you (and for them!). Research shows that more USB chargers, streaming services like Netflix, chargers for laptops and guest rooms, keyless or mobile room entry, and TVs with web access are high on business travelers' wish lists. Rule of thumb: The greater the tech conveniences and connectivity, the greater the receptivity to staying at a hotel for business.

Make sure there's a business center. A hotel with resources that facilitate your colleagues' work saves your company time and money and boosts productivity. A business center gives them the convenience of having copiers, fax machines, printers, computer stations, and other business equipment on premises. And if the hotel has someone on staff to ensure the business center is running smoothly and free of technical glitches, all the better.

Drive Savings and Convenience with Rental Cars

✓ Rev up the savings on rentals. Rental car provider websites often offer exclusive discounts, but be sure to check prices on Upside, which includes great rates on rental cars when you add them to any package you purchase.

Make Business Travel More Rewarding

Whether you're facilitating air travel, hotel accommodations, or ground transportation, it makes sense to advise your colleagues to join loyalty programs for preferred vendors, if they haven't already. They can accumulate rewards and enjoy extra incentives for traveling on business.

Get retailer gift cards courtesy of Upside. At Upside, we save your company money and reward your business travelers with gift cards with every qualifying package purchase. They have the potential to earn gift cards to redeem at brands like Amazon.com, eBay, and Target.

For an all-in-one tool to support your team's business travel needs, be sure to have your travelers download the Upside app, which provides 24/7, live chat access to our Navigators, who can provide invaluable insights and guidance. Navigators can also be reached by phone or email at [email protected].

Looking to set your team up for business travel success? Visit Upside to enroll your company in Upside for free, so you can enjoy a smoother experience booking and managing travel. You'll score 3% cash back for your company every time $100,000 in travel is booked with Upside.

Enroll Your Company