Are you ready to offset your increased travel expenses as business travel returns to normal? 

It’s conference season! Many businesses have seen a drastic reduction in corporate travel in the past few years due to COVID-19, but 2023 is looking like the year that travel plans can resume as usual. 

If your business has grown used to not paying for employee travel in the past few years, you may find yourself squeezing the budget trying to make arrangements. In this article, we’re taking a look at some recommendations to offset expenses and make room in your budget for the cost of business travel. 

Travel costs are more expensive than before the pandemic. 

When it comes to travel in 2023, there’s good news and bad news. The good news? Prices are finally starting to decrease. The bad news? That’s after hitting record highs. 

It’s not surprising 2022 saw record travel prices – the cost of doing anything increased right around the same time that many felt comfortable travelling again. So don’t be surprised if the cost of flying, housing, and feeding your travelling employees is more expensive than pre-pandemic conference seasons. 

However, especially if you haven’t booked yet, there may be opportunities to book better deals than if you travelled to any conferences in the previous year. 

Where do you find the money to pay for business travel? 

If the budget is tight this year, and you’re worried about the cost of travel, there are ways you can streamline and optimize your daily operations, while freeing up extra funds in your budget that can go to additional expenses such as conference travel. 

My business, Schooley Mitchell, is North America’s largest independent cost reduction firm. We help businesses free up these kinds of funds every day. Here are some of the areas we find that businesses regularly overspend. 

Incorrect card processing rate structures. 

Your business could be losing significant revenue to incorrect card processing rate structures. 

Processors usually offer seemingly standard contracts, but many contain provisions that allow them to increase your rates. This often comes with the caveat they must notify you first — but those notifications could appear in small print on one of your statements. Be sure to read your statements for notification of rate increases and periodically check your rate to see if it has mysteriously increased. Often, all it takes for them to waive the rate increase is a phone call to object. 

Unorganized software licenses. 

If you pay for anything like Microsoft Office or Adobe products for your business, unorganized licenses could be costing you. 

Forbes calls this the “quintessential Goldilocks problem… Purchase too many licenses and unprovisioned or inactive licenses will never get used, resulting in wasted spend. Purchase too few, and your employees could deal with the constraints of having to share, swap or reassign licenses frequently.” 

In either scenario you’re wasting money; either on idle licenses or lost productivity. 

Unnecessary analog phone lines. 

Nowadays, a lot can be done with a stable internet connection – making your analog phone lines not only redundant, but overpriced. Solutions such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) give you a lot more bang for your buck, without long distance calling fees. 

Billing errors. 

As cost reduction specialists, we see way too many billing errors on our clients’ invoices. From incorrect rates and cancelled services to being charged for another customer’s services, billing errors are expensive and tiresome to resolve. However, vigilance is important. Especially for larger accounts – such as telecom services with hundreds of phone lines attached – it’s not uncommon for us to find a billing error worth several thousand dollars. 

In conclusion… 

While readjusting to regular conference travel costs could be a shock to your budget, it’s doable. In fact, there are lots of easy ways to recover money you might be overspending, in order to fund that travel. 

My business is helping businesses just like yours save money on their operational expenses across thirteen common cost categories. I’d love to help your free up space and time in your operations to make this year’s conference travel smooth sailing. 

About Stephan: 

Stephan Lafreniere is an insight driven senior executive with a track record of success in developing and implementing strategies and tactics to drive profits. 

He has held progressively senior roles within the planning, merchandising, branding, supply chain, and operations disciplines at iconic Canadian retailers including Canadian Tire Corporation, Hudson’s Bay Company, Loblaw Companies Ltd., and Sears Canada Inc. 

In 2021 Stephan joined Schooley Mitchell which is the largest independent cost reduction consulting firm in North America, with offices coast-to-coast in the United States and Canada. On average, we reduce essential business service expenses by 28% and have delivered over $540 million in documented savings to our clients to date. 

Stephan is passionate about saving money for his clients and helping them grow their business. Schooley Mitchell delivers expertise to companies of all sizes from all industries, offering a broad range of services.