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Small Business Digest



Travel Isn’t Just an Expense – It Can Strengthen a Business

Travel costs are viewed as just that—a cost.

However, one travel manager believes that there is value in traveling to meet clients, see trade shows and be proactive, even in these recessionary times.

“Like many economists, I believe that travel purchases will conservatively improve in 2011,” says Michael MacNair, head of MacNair Travel Consultants.

“Businesses have returned to the basics of well-managed expenses, well-leveraged staffing and technology, and an aggressive approach toward maintaining and growing their client base,” he adds.

MacNair cites a Phocuswright’s corporate travel-distribution analysis that indicates in 2009, business-travel spending was down 23%; in 2010 rose to a 2% positive growth rate; and in 2011 is expected to grow another 3%.

MacNair recommends the following to those managing business travel:

  1. Manage travel, not just trips. Follow the trend of a more managed travel process. Define policies and procedures to save money and time over a do-it- yourself approach. Find a travel-management company for help. Once onboard,
  2. Tighten the expected value definition within your policy. Ensure consideration of the widest range of fares, airlines and itineraries (alternate airports and connections) and benchmark results.
  3. Address miscellaneous costs like baggage fees and Wi-Fi as they continue to rise; be sure to address them in your travel policy.
  4. Leverage automated expense reporting and meeting-management tools. Both are attached to corporate online-booking tools and are useful technologies that save time and ensure control of these items. Lastly,
  5. Protect international travelers. Security and systemic changes to the international travel system continue to be an issue. Have emergency plans in place.

 “We all complain about the price of travel, but compared to other goods and services like prescription drugs, college tuition, gasoline and even movie tickets, the increase has been a great deal less. So get out there and get the job done – rationally,” MacNair urges.

For more information contact Mike MacNair at or visit:


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