Are you the event planner for your department or your entire organization? Finding a date, selecting a venue, and organizing activities can be a serious challenge, especially on a budget. With businesses tightening their belts as we ride out economic uncertainties, less money is available for team gatherings. But with coworkers spending increasing amounts of time working outside the office, it has never been more important to bring everyone together.
While those little watercooler chats might seem frivolous, in-person interaction is vital for various reasons. From team bonding to acknowledging colleagues’ hard work, investing in bringing teams together, face-to-face can reap significant benefits in employee engagement and retention. But what tips and tricks can you use to make your budget go the extra mile? At TravelPerk, we have gathered our top 8 cost-saving hacks for corporate travel planners to reduce spend and streamline the event management for their next team gathering. Let’s dive in!
Your dates can make a difference
Something as straightforward as the time of year you host your next event can greatly impact your budget. Remote first companies, in particular, may need to book extensive travel arrangements to bring their teams together, and traveling outside peak periods could significantly cut costs. Avoiding the summer months could drastically change the amount you need to spend on airfare and hotel bookings.
While June, July, and August are the most popular months for leisure travelers, winter holidays can also see prices soar and availability wane. Weekdays in April, May, September, and October are typically good for business travel, with employees back in the office from their holidays and more cost-effective options for accommodation and transport available for group bookings.
Focus on flexibility
If the last few years have taught us anything, having a generous cancellation policy is crucial! Business travel has always been full of unexpected circumstances. Whether it’s the client meeting that gets postponed or the employee that falls ill before their trip, travel managers have long known the inconvenience that can come from trying to cancel last minute or reclaim the cost of their itineraries from insurance.
Before booking any flights or transportation, check if your fares are non-refundable or if a more flexible option exists. Accommodation cancellation policies can also vary hugely, so check with your provider whether a more generous policy is possible with a non-refundable deposit.
Services like FlexiPerk from travel management solution TravelPerk allow travelers to cancel their travel plans up to two hours before departure with no questions asked and a minimum 80% refund guaranteed. Travelers can cancel itineraries directly on the TravelPerk platform or contact a real human in customer support in just 15 seconds, 24/7, 365 days a year.
FlexiPerk offers you the most flexible business travel ever. You a pay a small fee on top of your booking and if your plans change, you can cancel up to two hours before and get minimum 80% of your trip refunded. No questions asked.
Vet your venue
Choosing an appropriate event venue comes down to a few vital factors.
- How many people are you bringing together?
- What would be a convenient location that reduces the amount of travel for most participants?
- What is the purpose of this event? What kinds of meeting spaces might you need?
As we will soon see, if you want to bring your employees together for some straightforward team bonding, staying local with some activities at HQ could be a great money-saving option. However, if you are hosting a larger event, you might need more extensive arrangements.
A hotel might be a better backdrop if you need a conference space and accommodation for employees. Many big-name brands have loyalty schemes that give members additional points and perks for hiring their event spaces. If you are a smaller team, Airbnb has fantastic cost-effective options with their range of inspiring venues designed with corporate gatherings in mind.
Get creative with activities
Team building sessions don’t need to cost a lot of money! The aim of the game is to make employees feel appreciated and to get them talking as a team. So while you might feel the pressure to overextend, sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most effective.
There are many low-cost team-building activities, including several that you can host at the office to keep spending low. Whether it’s an old-school sports day or a buffet-style team dinner, with some creativity and help, you can ensure everyone has a great time without breaking the bank, and this leads us nicely to…
Get everyone involved
As the old saying goes, “no one is an island,” and you don’t have to tackle everything alone! For various reasons, asking colleagues to chip in with the organization can be beneficial. As well as easing the load on your to-do list, delegating tasks can give you fresh ideas and another pair of eyes to spot any potential pitfalls. Plus, asking coworkers to handle decorations or create a killer playlist will get people talking and build the buzz around your event!
Skip or scale back on the swag
While we all love some good giveaways, it can be easy to go over the top and waste precious event budgets on items your teams might only use once or twice. If company goodies are a non-negotiable part of your team event, there are still ways to save. While making your branded gifts event specific might seem like a swanky treat, it only adds unnecessary cost.
Instead, keep your items practical and simple so you can buy in bulk and reuse them for other purposes. For example, stylish notebooks branded with your company name can be gifted to new hires during their onboarding process or handed out at expos or conferences.
Reap other forms of ROI
Saving money isn’t all about reducing your costs. Think outside the box, and you can further maximize the ROI on your team event. These days content is king. Designating a team member to capture the best moments can form useful content for social media and your organization’s recruitment efforts.
To stand out, go the extra mile and record short interviews with employees. Ask them to briefly describe the event and how they feel about working for your company. There will never be a better opportunity to capture their excitement on film and show prospective candidates what a special group they could join!
Want to organize a memorable company event but worried about making sure it all runs smoothly? Download our ebook now to make sure you’ve ticked every box.
Spending money on a travel management company’s services may seem counterintuitive, but it can be the most effective way to reduce costs and improve the travel experience for your corporate events. With expansive inventories, TMCs have access to the industry’s best contracts and greater power to negotiate group discounts. On top of sourcing special rates, using travel services can save employees hours by enabling them to organize flights, accommodation, and transportation in one user-friendly platform.
As well as providing a streamlined process to book team travel, solutions like TravelPerk now offer dedicated events planning tools. Taking the hassle out of organizing your travel program, their platform can help coordinators book travel for multiple team members for one event, track signups, and disseminate any necessary details in just a few clicks. Plus, thanks to the simple-to-use tagging feature, travel managers can track all costs related to a single event in real-time in one collated report.
Sadly we all learned the hard way that plans can change! But with a travel management solution, you won’t be left frantically calling or emailing your corporate travelers to update them. Through a simple mobile app, employees receive real-time notifications for any itinerary changes or security concerns for their trip. On top of these valuable tools, TravelPerk users can save up to 25% on their travel spending with the easy-to-use VAT solution.
Want to see how utilizing TravelPerk’s range of tools can transform event planning and corporate travel for your organization? Reach out and speak to our teams for a demonstration today.