Small businesses in the Midlands need to be savvier and start punching above their weight when it comes to buying business trips and travel, it was claimed today.

The warning comes ahead of the Business Travel Show to be held at the National Exhibition Centre from October 5 to 6.

"Small businesses believe the amount they spend on travel is simply not enough to give them any real buying power when it comes to negotiating discounts and deals," said David Chapple, the show's event director.

"But what they forget is, despite their size, it is still a buyer's market out there with plenty of opportunities for SMEs to 'savvy up' and reduce the amount they spend: from very simple money-saving ideas to tips about having a structured approach to booking travel."

Advice includes consolidating travel arrangements through individual suppliers, centralising business travel buying and going off peak where possible.

If you don't have the power to negotiate discounts with hotels at least ask them to throw in something for free, such as breakfast.

Resist the attraction of the hotel mini bar and use public transport rather than taxiis when you reach your destination.

The show, launched last year, attracted more than 1,100 visitors and 52 exhibiting companies.

This year's show has new promotions and includes a strong seminar programme.