Working Away From Home - Company Travel & Hotel booking

Datchet
Datchet Posts: 117
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edited 29 November 2017 at 12:35PM in MoneySaving dads
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?

[purplesignup][/purplesignup]
"Is it that the future is so uncertain, the present so traumatic that we find the past so secure? " Spike Milligan
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Comments

  • badmemory
    badmemory Posts: 7,494
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    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
    pjcox2005 Posts: 1,013
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    edited 11 November 2017 at 1:17PM
    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.
  • keith969
    keith969 Posts: 1,571
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    Datchet wrote: »
    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.

    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.
    For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.
  • anto164
    anto164 Posts: 174
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    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
    jackyann Posts: 3,433 Forumite
    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
    keith969 Posts: 1,571
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    jackyann wrote: »
    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!

    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 I’d get a small travel company to handle bookings for me so I didn’t 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 didn’t 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.
    For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.
  • Comms69
    Comms69 Posts: 14,229
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    Datchet wrote: »
    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!! - 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?


    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
    Comms69 Posts: 14,229
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    jackyann wrote: »
    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)
    I suppose the potential for misuse was the issue. IE 20 claims for under £10 which cant be verified.
  • Datchet
    Datchet Posts: 117
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    edited 14 November 2017 at 6:49PM
    Comms69
    Comms69 wrote: »
    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.

    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
    "Is it that the future is so uncertain, the present so traumatic that we find the past so secure? " Spike Milligan
  • jackyann
    jackyann Posts: 3,433 Forumite
    Comms69 wrote: »
    I suppose the potential for misuse was the issue. IE 20 claims for under £10 which cant be verified.

    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!
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