By Katrina Suppiah
During these difficult economic times, business travellers are doing their best to save both time and money.
Here, PrivateFly, the online private jet booking network, offers its top ten tips for ‘better business travel’ — helping to save time and money for today’s busy business executives, and making their lives easier.
1/ Shop around online
Whatever mode of transport you are taking it pays to compare operators. Prices can vary considerably and a quoted price can contain 'hidden extras' so ensure you are comparing like with like. Online price comparison platforms can make this a less time-consuming process.
2/ Travel as light as possible
Not only will you be more comfortable but you could save a significant amount of time, money and avoid the aggravation of lost luggage by just having carry-on luggage. Scheduled and low cost airlines are increasingly adding extra costs to their fares if you want to check in a bag.
3/ Consider private aviation
It can be cheaper than you think. Many people assume that chartering your own plane is only for the very wealthy, but with some careful planning it can be surprisingly cost-effective. We recently flew a team from a City law firm from Nantes in France, to Fairoaks in Surrey at a cost of £440 per head. Using scheduled airlines, the firm would have paid £541 per head, even for an economy class fare.
4/ Use time in the air to save costs (and time) on the ground
If you go by scheduled airline, work away on your laptop. If you take a private jet, then hold meetings and eat lunch en route.
5/ Avoid overnight stays, wherever possible
This will help you to save hundreds of pounds in hotel and restaurant bills. With private jet charter, outbound and return flights can be timed to fit in with your busy schedule.
6/ If you do need to stay over, choose your hotel carefully
You can make significant savings on the rack rate by booking ahead or searching online for deals. And choosing a hotel closest to your destination can obviously have an impact on taxi fares, not to mention your schedule. For frequent travellers it pays to choose the same hotel or group each time you travel: you can use their loyalty scheme.
7/ If you can be flexible on your timings, you can often make savings on any mode of transport
For private jet travel, many operators offer 'empty sector' flights, which mean they sell the return portion of a single journey at a highly-subsidised rate, as the operator needs to get their aircraft back to base.
8/ For those choosing private aviation, it also pays to consider your booking options
Fractional ownership or card schemes, (where you buy a block of flying hours) are available and do guarantee availability — but come at a cost to cash flow as they involve upfront financial commitment. Ad-hoc charter (i.e. booking a plane when the aircraft’s owner isn’t using it), is effectively subsidised flying and allows you to choose the most suitable aircraft for each journey, rather than being committed to one aircraft type (as is usually the case with fractional schemes). So you can ensure you get the right aircraft for the best possible price.
9/ Minimise taxi, parking and hire car costs
Select airports closest to your departure and destination points. There are many airfield finder tools online
10/ Think about your technology
You can easily avoid paying for internet access if you plan ahead — many airports and hotels offer free WiFi. You should also check the rules for bringing telecoms equipment such as a personal VPN device into some countries. And, don’t forget to take pen and paper, in case your technology fails!