OUTRAGEOUS EXPENSE CLAIMS SPELL DANGER FOR UK BUSINESSES
20th Jul 2005
...From helicopter re-sprays to hedge trimmers - Travelodge research uncovers the cheekiest expense claims submitted and highlights problems ahead for companies that don't control spending...
Research out today from Travelodge, the UK's fastest growing and most successful budget hotel company, lifts the lid on outrageous expense claims that are scamming employers out of hundreds of thousands of pounds per year.
Working with recruitment specialists Office Angels, Travelodge questioned secretaries and PAs about their experiences of submitting expense claims on behalf of their bosses. The surprising findings illustrate a trend toward dodgy dealings as bosses ask their PAs to claim back more than the norm.
The top five reimbursed expense surprises were:
* The £20,000 bill for the re-spray of a private helicopter
* Two tonnes of dried white bait to secure a hunting licence in Zimbabwe
* Two bills for entertaining the same client on the same day at the same time
* The dry cleaning bill following a four day trip to Cannes for five suits, three cocktail dresses and an evening gown
* The business meeting at a lap dancing club
Several finance departments did reject some claims including a new hedge trimmer and a replacement pair of shoes and trousers, claimed after the new employee stepped in wet cement outside the new office entrance!
As amusing as the claims may be, the serious fact remains that hundreds of businesses are inefficiently tracking staff expenses and consequently wasting money unnecessarily.
Business trips emerged as a major culprit in unnecessary expenditure, with food and drink cited as the most likely reason for exorbitant expenses. 69% of PAs reported a lack of restraint when it came to their bosses' food and beverage claims, with almost nine out of ten noting they had submitted questionable claims in this area. One example is the boss that was reimbursed for the flowers and dinner that wasn't with a client or even his wife!
On a more positive note, the findings indicated that businesses do have some level of financial conscience as over two thirds said they would book budget accommodation - a great way to keep costs down during necessary trips away. Despite this, 42% of businesses still said they currently budget between £100 and £200 for a night's accommodation, a figure that could be drastically reduced if they made the time to research cheaper alternatives.
Guy Parsons, Sales and Marketing Director for Travelodge comments, "I was really taken aback by the amazing expense claim examples we uncovered. I don't know how those businesses are going to survive in the long run - if you can't manage your expenses, can you really manage your company's profitability?
Travelodge enables organisations to control costs because we don't offer extras, such as room service, that encourage people to waste money. What we do offer is everything the customer needs for a great night's sleep and with facilities such as in-room Internet access* and room rates starting from just £26** it's the smart choice for sharp businesses, particularly given the handy locations of our 273 hotels across the country."
For more information, contact:
Tel: 0121 521 6624
Note to Editors:
* Internet access is available at most hotels but travellers should confirm at time of booking
** £26 is the average room rate for rooms booked online, outside London. The average price for London Travelodge hotel rooms is £46.
- The Travelodge/Office Angels survey was conducted in May 2005 among Office Angels members consisting of PAs and secretaries.
- Travelodge offers double, family and disabled access rooms. A family room caters for two adults and two children, both under 16 years. All rooms are en-suite, with luxury king size beds, colour TV and free tea and coffee making facilities
- Some Travelodge hotels have on-site licensed Bar Cafés, offering a full range of drinks, tasty snacks and evening meals. All Travelodge hotels have vending facilities for snacks and drinks and those without restaurants can still provide breakfast and evening meal options.
- Travelodge currently has 273 locations throughout the UK with a large proportion based in major city centres, near attractions and airports.
- Travelodge was the first UK budget hotel brand to launch in the UK in 1985
- The latest BDRC British Hotel Guest Survey (February 2005) named Travelodge as the joint number one hotel brand in the UK (with Hilton) and the number one budget brand.