Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@.

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Datchet
    • By Datchet 11th Nov 17, 9:20 AM
    • 63Posts
    • 358Thanks
    Datchet
    Working Away From Home - Company Travel & Hotel booking
    • #1
    • 11th Nov 17, 9:20 AM
    Working Away From Home - Company Travel & Hotel booking 11th Nov 17 at 9:20 AM
    I frequently work away from home and use trains and hotels. The company have a sole Travel Agent we must use ( that the company pays direct ) , or else we buy the tickets / pay for the hotel ourselves then claim back. This sounds reasonable until you add in the following;
    1. The Agent has 'Partner' hotels that it selects and they are are horrible & horribly expensive
    2. There are "policy maximum rates" which mean last minute rates can't be attained and exclude nearly all available hotels.
    3. They don't include Tr@vel0dge or Pr€mier Inn or any other budget provider.
    4. They dont search for advanced or split train or plane tickets - so the cost is v high.
    5. The Agent charge a fortune in commission and won't clear up problems when asked.
    6. If we book ourselves the expenses are not paid for up to a month and a half.
    7. Company will not provide personal credit cards

    You are probably asking the question " if the company settles these high prices direct - then what's the problem?" Well the problem is that the excess charge/cost comes straight off my team and personal income on which we are paid!!

    I have kept a tally. Booking myself saves £200 to £500 per month, but it means I'm carrying £700- £2,000 of costs myself ( that's right, TWO THOUSAND POUNDS at any one time) we are a single income family, so it's hard.

    I have a credit card and try to fastidiously pay off in full but the monthly payment cycle is often out of Sync with expenses payout.

    I'm registered on line for all hotel chains and train companies, have the apps and collect all points and Nect@r.

    Any suggestions?

    This Forum tip was included in MoneySavingExpert.com's weekly email!
    Last edited by MSE Andrea; 29-11-2017 at 12:35 PM.
    "Is it that the future is so uncertain, the present so traumatic that we find the past so secure? " Spike Milligan
Page 1
    • badmemory
    • By badmemory 11th Nov 17, 11:32 AM
    • 1,071 Posts
    • 1,138 Thanks
    badmemory
    • #2
    • 11th Nov 17, 11:32 AM
    • #2
    • 11th Nov 17, 11:32 AM
    Find out who at HO is getting the backhander? Obviously not the suggestion you were looking for but no-one/no company is going to pay more than they need to unless it is in someone's interest.
    • pjcox2005
    • By pjcox2005 11th Nov 17, 11:43 AM
    • 480 Posts
    • 528 Thanks
    pjcox2005
    • #3
    • 11th Nov 17, 11:43 AM
    • #3
    • 11th Nov 17, 11:43 AM
    If the company allows you to book yourself just with a delay on being reimbursed then I’d do that.

    Get a 0% card ideally with points, air miles etc and use that, depending on credit given it should allow you to carry it all on credit only making a minimum payment then paying off once costs are reimbursed. You should be able to get a 12 month or higher period and then get a new 0% card closer to expiry date.

    Add in the fact you can use quidco or become a member of a hotel scheme then you could benefit. If I recall quidco used to be 10% cashback in hotels.com and hotels.com also have a scheme of getting 1 free night every 10 away which could be used for family breaks. Effectively 20% back.

    There is a question as to whether company would be in favour or should get the saving, but given you’ve reduced the cost for them and the savings won’t show on invoices then it feels fine to use the benefit.
    Last edited by pjcox2005; 11-11-2017 at 1:17 PM.
    • keith969
    • By keith969 11th Nov 17, 3:02 PM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 888 Thanks
    keith969
    • #4
    • 11th Nov 17, 3:02 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Nov 17, 3:02 PM
    I have a credit card and try to fastidiously pay off in full but the monthly payment cycle is often out of Sync with expenses payout.
    Originally posted by Datchet
    Can you get them to give you an advance perhaps, so you can pay in full every time?

    Failing that, charge them for the interest you accrue if they pay late.
    Heaven wasn't built in a day
    • anto164
    • By anto164 12th Nov 17, 8:13 AM
    • 135 Posts
    • 63 Thanks
    anto164
    • #5
    • 12th Nov 17, 8:13 AM
    • #5
    • 12th Nov 17, 8:13 AM
    We have the same where i work, and i have the same problem as you, i.e. paying through an agent for standard pricing + matrkup, or pay myself for cheaper and using cashback tools. And i feel the values too. I ws travelling for months on end to ireland and paying for everything myself, and feeling thhe credit limit hit on the ccd.

    I would just ensure that all expenses reports are done sooner. Im lucky where i am in regard to thhere being 2x expenses runs a month so normally get paid within 3 weeks.

    One question... if you are using a ccd then surely you should have enough delay on that before payment date is here, making sure you have received the funds?
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 12th Nov 17, 10:16 PM
    • 3,276 Posts
    • 6,944 Thanks
    jackyann
    • #6
    • 12th Nov 17, 10:16 PM
    • #6
    • 12th Nov 17, 10:16 PM
    I presume you have pointed this out to management? I have a friend who works for a big charity who says just the same - when she pointed it out, she was told that overall, it works out cheaper to use to use the booking agency, even if individuals can sometimes get better deals. She is not sure she believes that!

    I worked for the NHS for all of my working life, so we rarely went away, but there was the odd training or conference. For many years, there was a standard 'no receipt needed for expenditure under £10'. So many of us would stay with friends or family, buy a bottle of wine or flowers and claim a few quid.
    Until auditors decided this was ripe for misuse! I pointed out that in order not to be out of pocket on a training planned for later that month, I would:
    Pay B&B for 2 nights + 2 dinners, total cost (at that point) about £120. This was apparently a better use of public money than claiming under £10 to buy my friend in the next road a bottle of wine (I'm a nurse so I didn't understand)
    • keith969
    • By keith969 13th Nov 17, 5:43 AM
    • 1,267 Posts
    • 888 Thanks
    keith969
    • #7
    • 13th Nov 17, 5:43 AM
    • #7
    • 13th Nov 17, 5:43 AM
    I presume you have pointed this out to management? I have a friend who works for a big charity who says just the same - when she pointed it out, she was told that overall, it works out cheaper to use to use the booking agency, even if individuals can sometimes get better deals. She is not sure she believes that!
    Originally posted by jackyann
    Your friend is right to be dubious.

    In a previous company I worked for, I was the only UK employee, so booking flights, hotels, hire cars etc for travel round Europe and the Middle East was up to me. At first I thought Iíd get a small travel company to handle bookings for me so I didnít have the hassle. Their rates were (iirc) £30 just for booking short haul and £50 for long haul flights, for example. Needless to say I didnít bother.

    Another company I worked for did a deal with a well known travel / charge card company, and made it compulsory that everyone booked through them. In return the senior management got automatic upgrades to business/first class tickets. Perks like that are often the real reason behind the excuses given.
    Heaven wasn't built in a day
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 13th Nov 17, 10:28 AM
    • 1,315 Posts
    • 1,072 Thanks
    Comms69
    • #8
    • 13th Nov 17, 10:28 AM
    • #8
    • 13th Nov 17, 10:28 AM
    I frequently work away from home and use trains and hotels. The company have a sole Travel Agent we must use ( that the company pays direct ) , or else we buy the tickets / pay for the hotel ourselves then claim back. This sounds reasonable until you add in the following;
    1. The Agent has 'Partner' hotels that it selects and they are are horrible & horribly expensive
    2. There are "policy maximum rates" which mean last minute rates can't be attained and exclude nearly all available hotels.
    3. They don't include Tr@vel0dge or PrÄmier Inn or any other budget provider.
    4. They dont search for advanced or split train or plane tickets - so the cost is v high.
    5. The Agent charge a fortune in commission and won't clear up problems when asked.
    6. If we book ourselves the expenses are not paid for up to a month and a half.
    7. Company will not provide personal credit cards

    You are probably asking the question " if the company settles these high prices direct - then what's the problem?" Well the problem is that the excess charge/cost comes straight off my team and personal income on which we are paid!! - Explain that, because it makes no sense whatsoever.

    I have kept a tally. Booking myself saves £200 to £500 per month, but it means I'm carrying £700- £2,000 of costs myself ( that's right, TWO THOUSAND POUNDS at any one time) we are a single income family, so it's hard.

    I have a credit card and try to fastidiously pay off in full but the monthly payment cycle is often out of Sync with expenses payout.

    I'm registered on line for all hotel chains and train companies, have the apps and collect all points and Nect@r.

    Any suggestions?
    Originally posted by Datchet

    Unless you can explain how company policy directly affects you, which makes no sense, I cant assist.


    The fact the company allow you to book yourself and claim back is a bonus.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 13th Nov 17, 10:30 AM
    • 1,315 Posts
    • 1,072 Thanks
    Comms69
    • #9
    • 13th Nov 17, 10:30 AM
    • #9
    • 13th Nov 17, 10:30 AM
    I presume you have pointed this out to management? I have a friend who works for a big charity who says just the same - when she pointed it out, she was told that overall, it works out cheaper to use to use the booking agency, even if individuals can sometimes get better deals. She is not sure she believes that!

    I worked for the NHS for all of my working life, so we rarely went away, but there was the odd training or conference. For many years, there was a standard 'no receipt needed for expenditure under £10'. So many of us would stay with friends or family, buy a bottle of wine or flowers and claim a few quid. - Im not sure if the policy has existed always, but my trust pays you to stay with friends and family
    Until auditors decided this was ripe for misuse! I pointed out that in order not to be out of pocket on a training planned for later that month, I would:
    Pay B&B for 2 nights + 2 dinners, total cost (at that point) about £120. This was apparently a better use of public money than claiming under £10 to buy my friend in the next road a bottle of wine (I'm a nurse so I didn't understand)
    Originally posted by jackyann
    I suppose the potential for misuse was the issue. IE 20 claims for under £10 which cant be verified.
    • Datchet
    • By Datchet 14th Nov 17, 6:47 PM
    • 63 Posts
    • 358 Thanks
    Datchet
    Comms69
    Unless you can explain how company policy directly affects you, which makes no sense, I cant assist.


    The fact the company allow you to book yourself and claim back is a bonus.
    Originally posted by Comms69
    Let me explain : we are each run with our own P&L and given a bonus based on personal profit. Therefore if the travel expense quantum is £5k higher than it needs to be over a year then that netted off my profit and therefore income.

    What's more is that I incur much more travel expense than other colleagues as I have a roving brief.

    Many businesses are moving to this model

    Any advice welcome
    Last edited by Datchet; 14-11-2017 at 6:49 PM.
    "Is it that the future is so uncertain, the present so traumatic that we find the past so secure? " Spike Milligan
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 15th Nov 17, 8:42 AM
    • 3,276 Posts
    • 6,944 Thanks
    jackyann
    I suppose the potential for misuse was the issue. IE 20 claims for under £10 which cant be verified.
    Originally posted by Comms69
    Yes, indeed, I think they new management forgot they were dealing with nurses who have 'no unnecessary expenditure' drummed in to them from Day 1, and go away so little that 20 claims would be immediately noticed!

    However, I think this had to apply to everyone. And they got their wish to save money as I stayed with my friend and paid for the wine & flowers myself!
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 15th Nov 17, 10:34 AM
    • 1,315 Posts
    • 1,072 Thanks
    Comms69
    Comms69

    Let me explain : we are each run with our own P&L and given a bonus based on personal profit. Therefore if the travel expense quantum is £5k higher than it needs to be over a year then that netted off my profit and therefore income.

    What's more is that I incur much more travel expense than other colleagues as I have a roving brief.

    Many businesses are moving to this model

    Any advice welcome
    Originally posted by Datchet
    Ah so it's a bonus, not wages.


    In which case the company is perfectly entitled to set whatever conditions they want. They could actually insist on you using the agent.


    You doing more travel is a double edged sword. You have higher expenses, but presumably more opportunity to make sales?


    I appreciate you want to have a legitimate argument to make more money. BUT bonuses are almost always discretionary.
    • rpc
    • By rpc 16th Nov 17, 7:39 PM
    • 2,302 Posts
    • 3,497 Thanks
    rpc
    Put out a tender for a different travel agent to work with your team?
    Register your team for corporate amex or similar? You are a separate accounting group so presumably you can agree contracts. Show the company (in £) how much money could be saved. Your profit is, presumably, their profit.

    This sounds like someone is winning somewhere. Agent is a friend, perks for senior management, whatever.

    We have to use a specific travel agent, but their extra charges aren't too bad and it all goes on the company amex. Any personal expenses are reimbursed within a week of claiming (usually faster).
    • Datchet
    • By Datchet 20th Nov 17, 10:02 PM
    • 63 Posts
    • 358 Thanks
    Datchet
    Thanks for insights
    Only just took stock of replies - because...,, I've been away!

    All who replied thanks for help, examples and suggestions. Personal action plan is to tally all savings And prove how wrong their approach is.
    I'm getting a new credit card.

    Will submit more claims.

    Best wishes!
    "Is it that the future is so uncertain, the present so traumatic that we find the past so secure? " Spike Milligan
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 24th Nov 17, 10:31 PM
    • 36,211 Posts
    • 153,074 Thanks
    silvercar
    You need to play the game.

    Always submit expenses promptly.

    eg always book British Airways or its One World Alliance airlines. Register for Avios, get yourself an Avios earning credit card. Pick a hotel chain that suits (or use hotels.com) and register for their scheme and build up points for bonus nights.

    Before long you will be in a situation where your expenses are paid before your credit card payment hits your bank account, you will have built up a nice balance of Avios and hotel reward nights and will be in a position to enjoy holidays that you could never otherwise afford.
    • 2030mike
    • By 2030mike 30th Nov 17, 4:42 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    2030mike
    Warning
    Some years ago a colleague of mine had circa £1000 outstanding expenses. When the company went bust he was left in debt.

    Apologies for a message of doom but better to be aware than not!
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

3,956Posts Today

7,135Users online

Martin's Twitter