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Airfare and accommodation cost containment strategies

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A pre-emptive strike can stop the squeeze

Heading to Sydney in October? A recent ‘Sydney Alert’ issued by Flight Centre Travel Group’s 4th Dimension (4D) Business Travel Consulting division warns that the city is virtually booked out, highlighting how unexpected demand can tip your travel budget into the red.

“While Stage and Screen clients are pretty plugged in to peak period travel (because sometimes they are even the reason for it, such as a major concert event), demand in a particular city can still sneak up on business travellers,” said Stage and Screen General Manager, Tiz Galipo. “And the situation in Sydney during October and early November is one such example.”

Sydney accommodation is in very high demand due to the clash of a number of events, with the city hosting the Invictius Games, X Games, multiple cruise ships, Cher concerts and a number of large, high profile annual conferences.

“So where does that leave business people who still need to travel? There are a range of strategies businesses can adopt to contain both airfare and accommodation rates at peak times and to also help mitigate the impact of annual price rises,” said Tiz.

Beating sky-high airfares

According to the latest report by 4D (purchased) domestic economy corporate ticket prices rose, on average 3.5% in 2017. Plus when benchmarked against 2016 prices, tickets purchased through FCTG’s corporate brands in 2017 increased from a 1% to 9% on key routes – with a 2.5% increase for corporate domestic fares predicted during the next 18 months. So now’s the time to ensure you’re taking advantage of the following airfare strategies.

  • Large companies with high volumes can benefit from having airline contracts in place to get the best contracted rates all year round and avoid peak prices.
  • Leverage your volumes to secure value-adds, rewards and loyalty extras, such as free upgrades.
  • Review contracts regularly to ensure they are still competitive.
  • SMEs with smaller travel volumes can benefit from the flexibility to book the Best Fare Of The Day or lowest logical fare.
  • Reconsider non-essential travel at peak times – could a video conference replace a face-to-face meeting?
  • Book as early as possible – before fares increase or availability becomes tight. This alone can save up to 15 per cent on the total cost of a company’s travel.

Don’t take accommodation price hikes lying down

There are a number of ways to get the jump on other business travellers and to secure the best accommodation prices, especially when demand in capital cities skyrockets and supply tightens.

  • If you have special year-round rates negotiated by your TMC – you are no doubt already ahead.
  • If you don’t, now could be a good time to review your annual room volume and get contracts in place for 2019.
  • Know your room night volumes and use them to leverage better rates and to seek added value – such as free breakfasts, parking or Wi-Fi.
  • Consider booking non-CBD accommodation.
  • Have your contracted rates ‘front and centre’ on your Online Booking Tool, so travellers see them first.
  • Ask if you TMC has access to exclusive room prices, last minute rates or special industry sector rates.
  • Be flexible with your travel dates and avoid peak periods.

For more tips on containing airfare and accommodation costs contact your Stage and Screen Account Manager.