I am a huge fan of such sites as Expedia and Hotwire. I also am a big AirTran user. I’ll see if that changes now that they’re part of Southwest. I’ve even used Spirit Airlines for vacations. I had a couple of awesome deals to/from Bogota, Colombia and to/from San Jose, Dominican Republic a couple of years ago. On the business side, the Internet and email are wonderful tools. They allow for more frequent communication and enable such options as video conferencing, webinars, CRM-based tools, and other technology that helps build and strengthen customer relationships. But sometimes there is nothing better than meeting with a customer face-to-face. When your customers need to feel the “love”, perhaps because there’s been an ongoing issue or they just haven’t seen a human in a long time, there is no substitute for a visit.
If you have customers out-of-state or several hours away (i.e., I can pass through five states in the time it take me to drive from El Paso, TX to Houston, TX!), you may need to hop on a plane. One way to stretch your business budget is to take advantage of airfare discounts. Sometimes the best deals come up when you don’t necessarily have specific travel plans. One way to catch all the deals on a weekly basis is to use an entity like Airfarewatchdog. It’s a great business bargain because the service is free! Let’s say you have a customer in Denver whom you need to visit in the next 2-3 months. You see a great deal on Airfarewatchdog for a RT flight to Denver in the next two weeks. You call your customer and say you’d love to visit, what about the end of next week. They are pleasantly surprised and say yes. Money saved. Business relationship strengthened. And you didn’t spend an hour (or have someone else spend an hour) searching all the sites for the best prices to Denver.
I do use Airfarewatchdog and have for ~ one year now. Admittedly, however, this post was inspired by the article “Get the Best Airfare Deal” by Lou Dobbs of Inc.com. This is what he had to say, “Airfarewatchdog is one of the best websites to filter through the madness and get the best deals on your next business trip.” Click here to read his article. Just another tip from your friendly cash management cfo. Have business bargain tips of your own? Please comment or send me an email.