Developing a Corporate Business Travel Policy
Putting together a corporate travel policy is not for the faint of heart - organisations of all sizes can attest to the vast amount of resources required to make it comprehensive.
While various companies have different definitions of what constitutes as a sound travel policy, there are two requirements that such a plan must meet:
- a) It must enable an organisation to have a firm control over its corporate travel spend
- b) It must empower its business travellers and offer them great flexibility prior, during and after the trip.
With that said, let's explore some tactics that would help a CPO or Travel Manager put together a successful travel plan.
1. Alignment of company goals
A great policy is crafted with a specific objective in mind - basically, it must be fit for a particular purpose.
Ask yourself, what do I (and the company of course) hope to accomplish with this plan? Costs savings? Reduction of travel spend? Traveller safety?
But remember to be practical and think of the big picture. For instance, while scoring a cheap plane ticket meets your cost saving objective, what effect would it have on your employee? They would most likely have so many layovers and be fatigued by the time they arrive at their destination (which would negatively impact their productivity).
2. Keep your corporate travel policy simple
Keep your plan short and sweet. The reality is that your employee or travel booker would be less likely to go through a document with so many pages.
3. Be explicit about out-of-policy bookings
It is important to be very clear about the procedure(s) involved with bookings that don't fall into the confines of the company's travel policy so as to prevent reckless spending.
This is not to say that out-of-policy booking should be abolished, the point here is that companies need to ensure that they develop clear criteria of situations that permit such activities; it closes any loophole and prevents employee abuse.
4. Short-term hotel policy
You might want to consider having a distinctive hotel rate cap for both short business trips (where the traveller spends one or two nights) and long-term travel (three nights and over).
It is a practical cost-saving strategy to have a plan that distinguishes between what an employee can spend during a short trip (where a full hotel service, for instance, isn’t needed) and another for long trips (where extra facilities make sense).
5. Champion advance booking
Booking flights in advance is a winning strategy to get the best prices and travel seats - and for this reason, make sure that this is clearly mandated in your travel policy. The benefit of adding this in is that it reduces late bookings and ensures that other departments become proactive and plan ahead.
6. Check in with your travel management company
Once you've finally put the travel plan together - and have stakeholder alignment - don't forget to run the document by your travel management company. They could act as "consultants" and provide you with a much-needed objectivity that would make your policy airtight.
Hopefully, these points have given you a starting point for assembling a great travel plan that makes your company proud.