It’s a drum that I’ll keep hitting, but every company, no matter how small or large their travel expenses, should have a simple, easy-to-follow travel policy.
Before “You’re Silent” became part of our everyday vocabulary, travelers were happy to be alone. But things have changed since the dark days of 2020, and instead of pursuing minimum fare or loyalty points, bookers and travelers are focusing on information, communication, flexibility, durability and security.
There are new questions to ask and answer. For example, what steps has your company taken to ensure the safety of female travelers? How do you support the health and well-being of your team when they are out on the streets? Do you offer opportunities for more sustainable travel?
A well-planned travel policy solves all of these problems, as well as balances your people’s personal preferences. This will put you at lower risk, eliminate leakage (aka rogue booking) and help you manage your travel costs.
Sun Xu said that if you “sweat more in peace, you will bleed less in war”. And while this may sound dramatic, the truth is that if you spend a little time and effort fixing your travel policy, you are setting yourself up for huge profits (and much less stress) in the long run.
Here are just five reasons to lay the foundation:
It’s the glue that holds everything together
In today’s global business environment, the old ‘Nine-to-Five’ model is no more. Instead, companies are working with office-based employees, employees who work from home, and consultants and teams that are spread across continents. Present tight budgets, new sustainable goals, and ongoing COVID-19 complexities and there’s more to consider.
A travel policy ensures that your team knows exactly how to book; Those who sign off on the trip; Cost management and submission process; Your company’s security protocol; And what to do in an emergency. There’s no room for explanation, and your policy will become a sticky one that holds your entire travel program together – making life easier for everyone involved.
Even ‘baby steps’ make a big difference
Creating a travel policy should not be a difficult or arduous process. In fact, a really tough ‘starter policy’ covers only the basics, such as:
- Are there any restrictions on who will travel locally or internationally? In other words, which destination is considered high risk?
- Are there any restrictions on travel within a specified period, for example, during an audit or at the end of a financial year? And how long can your travelers stay out of the office?
- How to book a business trip? Online or with a preferred TMC?
- Are there any preferred partners for flight, accommodation and car rental?
- Who is responsible for signing off on the trip – and what is the process?
- How do travelers pay their bills and what can (and cannot) claim?
It will save you money
The last row? Having a travel policy in place is still the number one way to save money for a business. And the numbers don’t lie.
With a new travel policy in hand, one of our clients, Angus Knight, was able to save:
- Accommodation £ 10K per year; And
- Airfare £ 15K per year; And
- 47% of their total travel expenses by switching to our online booking tool.
By forcing and combining their travel expenses with preferred suppliers, they suddenly got access to volume discounts, exclusive rates and lots of benefits. Importantly though, they were able to fix the loopholes – where money was lost, often invisibly, because there were no guidelines (or accountability) on how, where and when employees could book trips.
It helps with planning, booking and reporting
A good travel policy supports a good online booking platform and vice versa. With Corporate Travelers Melon, travel bookers have access to a wide range of travel content – linked to your company’s travel policies and goals. What does this mean? You don’t just have to book and manage
Traveling has become a lot easier for travelers and bookers but all of a sudden you will have access to clean actionable data, which is a powerful tool.
As Angus Knight realized, full visibility of your travel expenses means you are able to gather insights into your company’s travel behavior, identify potential savings, manage your budget, and report with confidence.
In this perilous age, it is more important than ever
Covid on the one hand, business travel can be unpredictable. Any travel policy needs to cover the safety and well-being of travelers. For example, how do you communicate with your passengers on the road? How do you track everyone’s location for security and safety purposes? Emergency protocol What should happen?
Trust your TMC to help you create a comprehensive risk management strategy that covers everything from how many passengers can fly on the same flight to insurance and medical cover.
Truly, a travel policy should be the cornerstone of your travel program. It is a living document that should be regularly reviewed and updated to meet the changing needs and sustainable goals of your organization.
No SME should be without one, so we’ve covered it in Corporate Traveler’s SME Corporate Travel Toolkit. This free resource will guide you on how to create the perfect travel policy, where to store without compromising traveler’s safety, loss of unmanaged travel and much more.