This week is National Small Business Week around the country, which means we all should be celebrating the little guys who make a big difference. While Expedia—the world’s largest online travel agency—certainly doesn’t qualify as “small,” we’re no strangers to small businesses. They book with us. They rely on us. They count on us to get them where they need to go. We’re incredibly grateful to be a small part of their huge success.
Recently we conducted a survey of 7,000 business travelers, and the results showed us that travel is critically important to businesses of every size. Specifically, the data indicated that travel is just as important for small businesses as it is for larger ones. For many small businesses, being able to manage travel in just the right way could be the key to closing an important deal that makes or breaks the company’s business and keeps its team employed.
Overall, respondents listed travel as critical as to facilitating business relationships and acquiring new work. One in four business travelers that we surveyed noted that travel is very essential to their company’s overall success. Roughly 75 percent of respondents said value is of paramount importance when booking travel for work.
Other interesting findings:
- 69 percent of respondents said they seek an easy booking process when making business travel arrangements.
- 65 percent of respondents said they book last-minute travel arrangements on their mobile devices.
- 26 percent of respondents said “lack of WiFi availability” on flights or in the hotel is their biggest business travel pet-peeve.
For more about our survey, click here. Also, click on the embedded video to watch a recent Google+ Hangout on Air we sponsored about business travel.
Meanwhile, our business travel experts have compiled a list of tips to make your next business trip easier and more efficient:
Have a pre-packed carry-on. Since so many business trips are of the last-minute variety, it’s a good idea to keep a pre-packed, easy-to-grab bag at your home. In that bag, make sure you have your toiletries in containers that won’t get flagged by TSA. To be on the safe side, it’s good to have a few Ziploc bags handy, too. And always go carry-on, lest your bag gets lost for the duration of your trip.
Book office/meeting space. Just as you can book travel on Expedia, so can you book office and meeting space through marketplaces such as LiquidSpace. To celebrate Small Business Week we teamed up with LiquidSpace to provide small business travelers with an exclusive offer of one free meeting space rental (a $100 value) at one of the 5,000 flexible workspaces available through LiquidSpace.
Go PreCheck. If you haven’t heard about TSA PreCheck, check it out. Offered at more than 115 U.S. airports, PreCheck is an expedited security line that moves efficiently because it only is open to travelers who have allowed the TSA to perform background checks before they fly. If you’re a member, you can leave on your belt, shoes and light outerwear. For business travelers who have spent hours on security lines, this is a huge innovation. It’s worth the enrollment fees.
Adjust your internal clock. If you’re traveling across multiple time zones, try adapting to the sleeping and eating patterns of your destination a few days in advance. No, this is not a foolproof solution to jet-lag, but it can certainly lighten the effects and help energize you for whatever meetings you might have immediately upon touching down.
Bundle flight, hotel, and car together. Booking flights, hotel, and car at the same time on Expedia (instead of booking them separately, through different transactions) saves an average of $500 per itinerary (and sometimes more, depending on the destination). There are added benefits if you’re an Expedia Rewards member; you get 2 points for every dollar you spend on a package (as opposed to 1 point for every $5 you spend on airfare alone). In many cases, you can save so much that it’s like you’re practically getting your rental car for free.
Reward yourself. Speaking of Expedia Rewards, there’s nothing better than being able to make the most of your travel through a great loyalty program. The Expedia Rewards program gives members extra points on airfare while also getting all the points they normally get through the carriers. Beyond that, you also earn points on every hotel stay, and can redeem those points for any other hotel stay, which means your trip to Cleveland can land you in a beautiful boutique hotel in Mexico, even if those hotels aren’t part of the same chain. And your points don’t expire, so long as you’re active in the program at least once every 18 months.
Small businesses, we salute you this week. Get out there and do the magic you do. Travel. Innovate. Create jobs. We’ve got your back.