Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Finding the Best Time Making Travel Bookings

All traveling employees and managers worry about the travel costs that add up on a company's expense reports. Yet very few likely consider the effect that the time-of-day has on when they should book their travel accommodations. One recent report shows that prices fluctuate regularly at airliners - and that different times of day may be much better than others.

Skrift, citing data from Yapta, reported that more than 20 percent of all price-drops occurring at airlines in a given week occur during off business hours on Tuesday. Off hours on Wednesday followed close behind, accounting for 19 percent of all drops, offering savvy bookers an insight as to when they should be booking their seats. The study from Yapta also found that negotiated fares dropped more frequently than fares in any other class, accounting for 73 percent of price drops.

"Sometimes negotiated rates can open in a different class of service, which would open an opportunity for the company to save," a Yapta spokesperson told Skrift. "Also, often times companies will simply negotiate a discount off of the public fare."

Only 14 percent of all price drops took place on Saturday and Sunday combined, so clearly the weekend is not the right time to be looking for low airline prices. Some may think that these savings are insignificant, but the difference adds up on a corporate expense report: according to the study, the average savings for a ticket under $500 was $58, and the average savings for a ticket priced at more than $500 was $306.

"Just because corporations have negotiated fares with their preferred airlines doesn't mean these corporations don't have to be vigilant about carriers lowering their fares," wrote Dennis Schaal, of Skrift. "A lack of vigilance about these price drops means businesses are wasting money, and leaving themselves open to charges of wastefulness to foes in the corporation."

Another way to keep travel costs down: go to cities with low taxes. There's another factor that can have a surprisingly significant effect on the overall amount that your employees request for reimbursements on their expense reports: Taxes. A recent Fox News report, citing information from a Global Business Travel Association study, listed the top ten cities for tax costs.

The study took into consideration the amounts added on top of average car rental, restaurant and hotel booking expenses. The list is reproduced below. Clearly, executives need to know - if you send employees to one of these cities, you can expect a heftier expense report than usual to come back with them.

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