Travel Managers: How to Keep the Spending in Your Company in Check 

 September 12, 2022

Travel managers do a lot for the company they work for. Mainly, they are in charge of planning, coordinating, and executing employees’ local and international business travel.

Travel managers also:

  • Make sure that employees have access to up-to-date information and resources
  • Act as a liaison between management and employees
  • Communicate company policies and procedures for travel
  • Use the power of negotiation to maximize value for their company
  • Reduce and limit travel costs

A travel manager’s ultimate goal should be to provide quality travel services. However, due to business travel expenses, a large part of a travel manager’s job includes monitoring finances. They analyze current and future costs. And they may change existing policies and procedures to reduce expenses.

Here are effective strategies a travel manager uses to keep travel spending in check.

1. Assess the Current Booking Process

Travel managers must analyze their current booking process to identify improvement opportunities. They must also determine the best way for employees to book their trips.

A travel manager may be in charge of booking employees’ trips, or they may do it independently. Either way, the manager can use the answers to these questions as a baseline. The answers will reveal what changes need to be made to the booking process.

Most companies make booking travel easier by using an online booking tool. For example, Orbitz and Travelocity are two online sites to utilize.

These tools include the ability for managers to:

  • View and modify itineraries
  • Research and compare prices
  • Submit expense reports
  • Access resources from one centralized location

They also include tools to help troubleshoot problems. For example, there may be occasional flight delays or cancellations. Booking sites reveal which steps to take next in such an event.

Furthermore, travel managers determine the best travel methods, such as planes, trains, or automobiles. They also need to suggest cost-saving measures, such as taking a bus instead of flying.

2. Calculate Per Diem Rates

Travel managers need to calculate the per diem rates for each employee who will be traveling. Per diem refers to the amount of money an employee can request from the company. Then, they use the allotted money to cover daily living expenses. For example, employees can use per diem to pay for food, lodging, and incidentals.

Travel managers must follow government rules for calculating per diem taxes. When calculating per diem taxes, there are factors to consider. For one, the location the employee will be traveling to reveals a lot. Another factor to consider is the time they will be away from their home base.

The manager must consider particular possibilities that will likely affect the budget. For example, an employee may have to spend more money than what a daily allowance covers. They may need the extra money to pay for transportation. Or, they may need extra money to cover incidentals, such as clothing or toiletries.

A travel manager must keep all this in mind. They should set enough money aside in the budget to cover extra expenses that may arise.

3. Update the Company’s Expense Systems

Updating a company’s expense systems is another task a travel manager handles. As they review the system, they should consider how it works and if it is effective. They must also identify waste and inefficiency in their company’s system.

Finally, travel managers must analyze the options if there’s a way to improve a current policy or procedure.

If a new policy or process needs to be implemented, they can create a detailed analysis of the change. From there, they can reveal its potential impact on revenue and costs.

4. Research Ways to Decrease Costs

There are other ways a travel manager can decrease travel costs. Regardless of the task, figuring out ways to reduce the costs of their company’s travel should be at the forefront of their minds.

It’s wise to consider lowering travel-related expenses by 10% or more.

So, they should look at other costs such as:

  • Catered meals
  • Dry cleaning
  • Entertainment
  • Working lunches

Employees’ commutes are another way to cut costs. They can offer solutions to their company to reduce the cost of commuting during long trips.

5. Seek Out Discounted Rates

Using the internet to one’s advantage allows them to research discounted rates. For example, analyzing rental car companies will help them determine the best deals.

They should also research package deals. Many packages include airfare, lodging, and meals. Buying a package often is an effective way to cut back on expenses.


Employee travel can be a profitable business opportunity for a company. So, a travel manager’s priority should be to keep employee travel costs reasonable. Of course, it’s vital to their company’s bottom line. But, at the same time, they should ensure that employees have the best experience possible.

The five tips above are effective strategies to keep travel spending in a company in check.

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