03/10/2016 09:11 BST | Updated 03/10/2016 09:11 BST

How To Manage Travel As An SME

Everything you need to know about managing Business Travel

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Much of our day-to-day communication with clients can be made online, but when it comes to getting the businesses in and negotiating the best deals, nothing beats the face-to-face meeting. And for that, travel is a must.

That’s a given for any large company, but for SMEs, it’s something that needs to be considered carefully. The travel and networking expenses has to be weighed against the time you spend away from your hub, chasing a contract that could potentially lead you down a blind alley.

Following hunches and taking risks is part and parcel for a small company, but it shouldn’t have to come at a price. For those who know that to really stand out in a world of emails, videos and conference calls, you have to physically shake a hand and keeping the costs down is an absolute must.

Managing the travel budget, of course, is easier said than done. Opportunities can pop up at any time and rushing to the Internet to find last minute flights when you should be preparing for the meeting ahead is an extra headache and rarely the cheaper option.

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Many SMEs we’ve spoken to who travel regularly swear by On Business. The travel budget programme by British Airways is a great way to manage every aspect of your trip, earn rewards and discounts, including Avios points (for travellers who are members of British Airways’ Executive Club), not to mention peace of mind along the way. Last year, On Business Members saved £47 million through reward flights alone.

This means no longer having to settle for the usual low-cost airlines that have you arriving late and feeling worn out, with three major airlines covering a worldwide network of destinations at your disposal – American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia. As well as luxury flights, the expected quality of service, On Business customers can also gain access to exclusive rewards and discounts, meaning the more you fly, the more points you earn, making budgeting all the more satisfactory.

Naturally, all this puts you in good stead for reward flights and cabin upgrades. Although it isn’t just beneficial for the frequent flyer – new business members receive triple On Business Points for the first year and the traveller will also earn Avios.

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The best part is the handy online Management Information tool. Simple and easy-to-navigate, the portal gives you access to custom reporting, as well as all the necessary info on how best to redeem your points.

There are other considerations the travelling businessperson has to take on board. Will I be able to stay in touch with my team and other clients when I go away? Will I be able to access Wi-Fi wherever I go? Do I risk being hit by roaming charges for making calls? Can I make financial transactions with my client while abroad? Where’s the best place for me to stay? Is it tech-friendly?

All of which you can research without stress, knowing the actual business of getting there and back is taken care of, with plenty more opportunities flying your way…

For more information, log onto OnBusiness