Dear Aunty B,
Our travel costs have increased and blown our budget by 20% this year. One of the reasons is the rising costs of petrol, food, hotels and air fares.
I told staff that we have to cut travel costs by 30% next year and almost had a mutiny on my hands. Their point is they spend long hours on the road and they don’t want to “slum” it. (Moving from five star to four star is not slumming it in my book.)
It is not just that prices have gone up. I feel like our travel costs have blown out and I want to change their attitudes. What do I do?
Tell them ‘tough’. If you need to cut travel costs, you need to cut travel costs!
You want to change the culture? Try this. Work out a fair price for hotels, meals etc. Then offer a fixed allowance (taking into account inflation). Those people who want to travel cheaper can keep the difference. My bet is if it is their money they will opt for cheaper alternatives. Once the cheaper alternatives seem palatable, voila! You have changed the culture.
Make sure that you also have a ferocious office manager who trawls her way through every travel expense so they also get the clear message that your company is a cost-focused company.
As for cutting your travel costs; have a look at alternative technologies like webinars. Do your staff really have to do all that travel?
Your Aunty B