Cutting the cost of business travel

Peter Stephens, managing director of Lotus Group, owners of DialAFlight
Peter Stephens, managing director of Lotus Group, owners of DialAFlight

AWARD-WINNING travel company DialAFlight has helped almost 900 companies cut the costs of corporate travel in the past six months.

DialAFlight, run by former Kent Messenger Group journalist Peter Stephens, is the largest UK flight retailer and uses its buying power with airlines and hotel groups to cut clients' travel spending.

The £200 million turnover company was this year listed in The Sunday Times top 100 survey of the country's most successful independent companies for the third year running.

It was the only travel company to be featured.

DialAFlight is part of the Lotus Holiday Group and managing director Mr Stephens, who spent several years as a sub-editor on the former Kent Evening Post, lives at Keston, near Bromley.

A company spokesman said: "We have noticed a huge surge in companies looking hard at their costs since the beginning of the current downturn.

"Some had actually been buying their travel quite well but some have managed to save themselves thousands of pounds simply by changing the way they buy."

The company uses a different business model to the traditional business travel agency which normally offers a month's credit or payment by the 15th of the month.

In this case travel is paid for as it is booked, usually with a company credit card or Amex card, and this enables big discounts to be made on the flights, hotels and cars.

"The biggest hurdle is persuading the companies to move away from their traditional credit system," said the spokesman.

"But usually when they understand how much they can save then they bit the bullet and after that they never look back.

"A company which came to us recently was spending about £1 million a year but was reluctant to give up their current way of working until we explained to them that they could save themselves between £40,000 and £70,000 annually.

"The most they could have expected to earn under their credit arrangements was less than £4,000."

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