Businessman standing in airport

A new report by Capital One found that 88% of small business owners enjoy business travel. Whether the purpose of travel is for meetings or training (82%), entertaining clients (46%), or winning new business (38%), business travel remains a key activity. Of the vast number of people who go on the road or fly for business purposes annually, more than half of small business owners (55%) travel at least once a month for work – most (60%) spend over three nights away from the office.

The majority (72%) of small business owners who travel for business wish they traveled more often. However, not all trips go as planned. For those who don’t enjoy business travel, mishaps account for almost half (46%) of their aversion to traveling – including lost luggage, loss of ID and flight delays. Being away from loved ones (39%), uncomfortable accommodations (29%) and lengthy travel processes (28%) also factor into “bad experiences.” Only 20% dislike being away from the office.

According to the study, more and more businesses are recognizing the need for employees to take time away from the office. The majority of employers (94%) now say work-life balance is important to keep employees happy. Some now offer generous paid time off packages to employees, saying travel motivates staff (94%) and increases productivity (93%). As such, 83% of small business owners encourage their staff to use their vacation days.

The study noted that “un-managed” travel costs can make a huge dent in a company’s bottom line. Business travel is among the most difficult expense categories to control. By understanding the costs of business travel in detail, businesses can gain deeper insights and better solutions. It is recommended that employers specifically earmark a budget for travel. Also: a pre-travel approval process, with corresponding travel plans for employers and employees alike.

Reducing travel costs does not mean cutting corners resulting in unreasonable per diems or putting staff in flea motels. The goal is to bring balance and cut unnecessary spending. Implementing simple and smart measures can help bring sustainability to business travel.

Since business travel expenses are a part of business, they can be tax deductible. Travel expenses can include airfare and lodging, transport services, cost of meals and tips, use of communications devices and others. For taxation purposes, well-organized records, keeping receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support a deduction can come in handy when preparing tax returns and answering questions from the IRS.

Source: Small Business Trends

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