By Carlson Wagonlit Travel

For everything you need for effective, easy and stress-free business travel, Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) has created a guide of top tips, which will make it easy for companies to plan and save on their business travel in 2011:

1)Buy, comply and fly

In 2011, company travel policy will be more important than ever and making sure your travellers buy into it will be key in ensuring your success in keeping costs under control.

Understand the trends in your company’s travel and where the demand is coming from. Make sure policy reflects your business objectives and that people are complying with policy.

2)Expect the unexpected

First there was 9/11, then SARS, right through to 2010 volcanic ash and snow — there will always be an unexpected event that causes huge problems for international business travellers and company travel managers.

The way to combat this is being able to communicate with your travellers, so companies need to equip themselves with up-to-date security information and the ability to track, contact and inform travellers more than ever.

3)Supersize my airfare

In a recent survey*, it was shown that extra costs such as luggage charges and seat reservations were making airlines over $13.5 billion in revenues in 2009.

Make sure you have good management information reporting. Use it to get a grip on the total cost of travel, not just the headline fare. By encouraging compliance to your travel policy, your management information will become increasingly valuable.

* Amadeus Guide to Ancillary Revenue by IdeaWorks

4)Deal or no deal?

With the economy on the up, 2011 will see increasing demands leading to higher air fares and hotel rates. Daily hotel rates are forecasted to increase 6.4-7.4% in 2011 by CWT, while airline association IATA predicts $9.1 billion in profits for the industry.

Try to leverage your spend if you’re a large company by looking at previously negotiated deals. For SMEs, CWT programme managers are on hand to advise on airline deals.

5)Crowded trains, higher fares

As people think more about the environment and carbon emissions, the numbers of passengers for rail will increase in 2011. High-speed rail links make journeys faster, but this may all come at a cost.

Overcrowding will increase as the government failed to increase the extra seats needed on key journeys. This is in addition to rail fares increasing dramatically on some routes.. Civil servants have been told to decrease their use of first class, meaning there will be less space in standard class. Companies are advised to book earlier and travel off-peak (while checking the equivalent first class fares).

6) Going green...again

The recession meant many companies pushed environmental issues down the agenda, instead focusing on saving money and making cutbacks. Now that the recession is dissolving, it is now time to go greener again.

By looking at business travel costs, companies can cut back in terms of damaging the environment and their own expenditure. Companies can help by using travel alternatives such as telepresence, audio and web conferencing and adding carbon reduction objectives to their travel policies.

7)The mobile traveller

For the modern traveller, a mobile phone is another travel essential. Smart phones such as the iPhone or BlackBerry are perfect for e-ticketing and downloadable apps for destinations and itinerary management.

With all the information and services travellers need available it’s possible to plan accordingly and use CWT’s range of mobile tools or other commonly used apps.

It won’t be an easy year, but it is a time for the travel manager to continue to shine in front of the board, helping to manage costs with demand.