30/07/2010

By Ursula Morgenstern

Regardless of whether you are going on a short business trip or a longer one that will take several hours or more, train travel is often cheaper and faster than other forms of UK business travel.

The advantages of travelling by train

New research from redspottedhanky.com compared the most popular UK business-related rail journeys against air and hire car travel for a single passenger. The findings demonstrated that on average, rail travel is the fastest mode of transport for over half of the journeys (once air check-in and arrival times were taken into account) and costs almost a fifth of the price of flying and a third of driving to your destination.

The frustrations and time-wasting element of airport check-in queues and traffic jams are all too well known by business travellers. As the research showed, rail can save companies valuable money and time - both of which can be re-invested. Companies need to start factoring time and cost implications in for more informed business travel decisions.

But speed and cost aren’t the only advantages of rail travel. It is a widely reported fact that travelling by train is also the greenest way of travelling for domestic business, helping companies to reduce the carbon footprint of their business travel, which can be quite extensive depending on the business in question.

Train travel can offer many facility-based advantages for business travellers as well. One example of this could include in-station and on-train Wi-Fi, which enables passengers to stay connected while on the move — something which is not possible, for example, if travelling by car. The ability to book a table seat in advance means that the passenger can keep working whilst on the journey, maximising their time out of the office, catching up on actions before the next meeting or simply debriefing / making notes from the previous meeting while still fresh in their mind. Many travel sites offer passengers the opportunity to check the latest journey information (e.g. delays or problems en route) before leaving for the station, as well as the ability to receive SMS alerts direct to their mobile device — business travellers are strongly advised to download these where available prior to travel to keep up to date whilst on the go.

The benefits of booking tickets online

Business travellers and corporate travel buyers have the opportunity to cut the cost of business travel even further and book tickets in a way that makes the journey as convenient as possible for the passenger. Online booking and advance planning have many benefits for businesses, as outlined below.

There are lots of reasons to book travel tickets in advance, not least the fact that it is very convenient. For starters, business travellers don’t have to queue to get tickets, which can be a frustrating process for the passenger and a waste of valuable staff time for the company. Instead, they just have to go online and search for the required train tickets. Once booked, travellers can simply pick them up from the station on the day, which they can do within two hours of booking. This means that instead of joining the long queue of people usually waiting to get their tickets at the station and risking missing the train all together, the self service machine can be used, making it much faster and easier for the time-pressed business traveller.

Booking online also makes it easier to find the best route to take for maximum time efficiency and minimum inconvenience. This is particularly useful if the business trip is long distance, requiring a change of trains or perhaps even a stop-off en route. No matter which web site is used to book tickets, they will all allow customers to try different ways of getting from A to B. A better route may be found.

Similarly, business travellers can use online booking sites to research different train times, enabling them to find the one which best fits their busy schedule.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of all is the lower prices that businesses can take advantage of. Whether a business traveller yourself or someone who books business travel for colleagues, it can be surprising just how much lower the prices can be. Since it is also easier to look for different tickets and find cheaper options, businesses can save a lot of money by going online instead of staff buying tickets at the station — something which every business will undoubtedly be keen to do in these tough economic times.

Summary

It obviously pays to be prepared and to book tickets as far in advance as possible — when staff know about meetings they need to travel to or events they need to be at, it pays to book early. Even booking a day or two in advance can make life a lot easier. And knowing which method of transport offers the most convenient and cost effective way of travelling for business can be of huge benefit to everyone. Sites such as the new redspottedhanky.com enable businesses to book cheap train tickets online, saving them up to as much as 80% on advance tickets as well as the advantage of a loyalty scheme for business travellers. In fact there are so many plus points for booking your tickets in this way, you really wouldn’t want to go back to doing it the old fashioned way at all.