How to Revamp Your Corporate Travel Policy
Booking business travel can be a bit more tedious than planning a family vacation to an all-inclusive resort. Companies often implement a corporate travel policy to manage costs, the employee experience, safety, and liability. These policies can suggest or mandate actions, such as which vendors an employee should book travel with, information on meal budgets and the process for reimbursement if personal payments are used.
If you’re looking to update your corporate travel policy or build one out altogether, we have a few tips to ensure you cover the essentials and ensure employee compliance.
Benefits of a Corporate Travel Policy and Why Your Company Should Have One
Any company that sees even some business travel per year should have set guidelines to avoid confusion and shooting past budgets. Travel policies for corporate employees can make the process from booking to submitting expenses quick and efficient.
Streamlining the reimbursement process: When your employees are away on business, providing clear direction on where to submit receipts creates peace of mind and saves time. Consider using a mobile application for digital receipt upload.
Clarity on booking channels: We’ve all been there. Scouring the web for hours (sometimes days), searching for the best price on flights and accommodations. When employers provide direction on where to book travel, employees save time and are reassured that they booked using an approved source.
Knowing what to expense: Your employee is about to leave on a business trip, and you hand them the company credit card with what could be seen as having an endless spending limit. The company expense policy should outline how much you can spend and on what type of activities. This is very helpful for employees, as it can ensure they aren’t stuck paying for things they ‘overpaid’ for – unless done intentionally
Enhance employee morale and productivity: When employees are clear on the process, they can spend more time on what matters most – serving your business while away from the workplace
Ready to Write - What to Include in a Corporate Travel Policy
Ready to write? Before you get typing, it’s important to remember that your corporate travel policy should be simple to read, understand and remember.
If you have an existing policy, analyzing the original components is a great starting point. Consider things like the number of trips scheduled per quarter and the average cost of domestic and international trips, as well as expenses that are not claimable.
A new or updated policy should detail the organization’s stance on the following essential categories, indicating the preferred booking channel, spending limits and acceptable booking timeframes.
Transportation: Flights, taxis, rental cars, or public transportation
Accommodation: Hotels, short-term rentals, or secondary residences
Spending: Limits for meals, entertainment, and other discretionary costs (ex. toiletries, office supplies)
Safety: Guidelines for remaining safe while away, including the protection of work-related gear like laptops
Employees may have additional questions or requests, so also consider the following scenarios in your corporate travel policy.
Extra legroom or business class: Will you allow flexibility of cabin choice for longer flights?
Accommodation extras: Will you allow an employee to expense pay-per-view movies or drinks from the in-room fridge?
Bringing company: Being away from home can get lonely. Can employees bring friends or family along – either paid for by the company or at their own cost?
Employee negligence: Missed an alarm or got stuck in traffic? What happens if an employee misses a flight or meeting? Who pays for new bookings and lost time?
Who gets the extra points? As employees travel, they earn more points towards complimentary rooms, flights, and rewards (if enrolled in a frequent traveller program such as Choice Privileges). Can they use those points for personal travel, or will it only be applied to future business travel?
How to Improve Employee Compliance
You’ve reviewed existing protocols and written up the corporate travel policy. It’s been checked by other members of senior management and sent off to employees for acknowledgment. Over time, perhaps you notice some employees who aren’t following the rules. They’re booking flights through a third party and over-spending on entertainment. What do you do? You may want to talk to the employees in question, but you might need to review your corporate travel policy to ensure a higher rate of compliance. Keep reading for a few tips.
Create awareness: Are your employees aware of your corporate travel policy? If they aren’t, you can’t expect them to be compliant. Ensure it is communicated via the company intranet, email or even as a reminder during meetings
Make it an easy read: If the policy is complex or involves too many intricate processes, employees will be less likely to comply with it. Consider inviting feedback and suggestions from employees who are frequent travellers in your organization
Consider employee satisfaction: Ensure your corporate travel policy allows for employee flexibility. Perhaps allow for a personal ‘high-end’ meal or two and preferred seating on flights. Little perks like this can enhance an employee’s experience, while remaining compliant
Should You Sign Up for Travel Programs?
The answer is almost always ‘yes.’ Travel programs, like BizCount, provide organizations with several benefits to promote savings and convenience.
There are a few key reasons why organizations should consider a travel program. They can help save money with set discounts, based on the amount of travel occurring, they provide clarity to employees on booking sources and they offer added perks. For example, BizCount partners with the Choice Privileges loyalty program so that employees earn points for every stay. This translates to rewards of their choice, like free room nights, gift cards and partner deals. These are all beneficial perks for a current or future business or leisure trip. Best of all, signing up is easy & free.