Being an executive entails a lot of responsibility. Apart from dealing with your company’s daily operations, you also need to travel a lot, booking flights from one state or country to another to seal the deal and expand your business.
While this is essential for your business, you need to follow a set of rules to ensure that all the bookings and expenses are in accordance with your company’s guidelines. A corporate travel policy is a solution.
What is a corporate travel policy? Simply put, it’s a set of rules and procedures that specifically outline how you and your employees can book, spend, and approve all travel for business purposes. It details elements like who can fly business class, how many days or weeks are allotted for trips, and what precautions employees must take when travelling solo.
To avoid any miscommunications or complications among the parties involved, it’s important to create a corporate travel policy that’s comprehensive and well-thought-out.
Why Should You Write a Corporate Travel Policy?
It’s true that creating a corporate travel policy is tedious and time-consuming. But it’s important to provide a set of clear rules for everyone in the organisation to adhere to. It can help your employees narrow their choices and make travelling more convenient. By providing a focused list of preferred airlines, travel arrangements, a list of hotels, and so on, you and your employees can reduce the amount of time and resources you spend on planning a trip.
How To Write a Good Corporate Travel Policy
When writing a corporate travel policy, there are some best practices you need to adhere to. Below are just a few tips to keep in mind when drafting your travel guidelines.
Always Explain the Reason Why
It’s not enough to enumerate the do’s and don’ts of travelling. You also have to explain why the rules are the way they are. Usually, you can do so by enumerating your objectives or business goals. By doing so, you allow your employees to understand where you’re coming from, so they can make better and more appropriate decisions when travelling.
Go Straight to the Point
Another important thing to consider is the wording of the policy. Remember, a good corporate travel policy doesn’t necessarily need to be lengthy. All it needs to be is comprehensive and detailed. Get straight to the point, avoid any fluff, and keep your document as concise as possible.
Creating long-winded policies makes them harder to read, follow, and understand. What’s more, it can be virtually impossible to remember. Always keep it short and sweet. Should some special terms and concepts need further explanation, provide the descriptions on the document. This will allow you to convey the message clearly and avoid miscommunications.
Make the Policies as Clear, Accessible, and Up-to-date as Possible
Make your corporate travel policies as clear and accessible as possible. After finalising all the details you want to include in the guidelines, make sure to inform your employees where they can access the file. While it’s good to have a physical copy available in the office, try to create a digital version where employees can read through it anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
Throughout the years, you may find that there’s a need to update the policy based on the changing travel guidelines and new business objectives. In such cases, inform your employees about the amendments and keep them posted on the latest upgrades via your chosen communication channels.
Use the Right Technologies
If you want to lessen the stress of writing a corporate travel policy from scratch, a good tip is to take advantage of the technologies and software available to you. For instance, platforms like Locomote can provide end-to-end solutions to keep track of your travels and provide post-travel reports, which you can use as a basis when making policies.
Likewise, exploring new technologies can enable you and your employees to work within a given system throughout the travel process to manage policy compliance, track expenses, and maintain equality.
Want to know how to interest your employees in learning about your travel policy? Make it creative and interactive. You can use social media strategies and gamification to entice and excite them. Although this approach is not necessarily mandatory, it can enhance the experience of corporate travel policy-making.
What Should Be Included In Your Corporate Travel Policy?
Now that you have the “how” aspect down, it’s time to tackle the “what.” In this sense, we’re answering the question: what does your corporate travel policy need to include?
Start with an introduction. In this section, expound on what the document is about and provide a brief description of what your employees can expect to see as they continue reading.
Purpose or Objectives
Explain the objectives of the document. This can include:
- An outline of the travel process from arrangements
- An established set of protocols to ensure the safety of all travellers
- A list of possible expenses
At the onset, establish a specific scope of what your document will cover. Make sure to include the parties affected by the policy (executives, paid interns, full-time employees, seasonal employees, etc.), the allowed destinations to travel to, and the number of hours or days they’re authorised to stay away from the office.
Authorization and Reimbursements
Next is the authorization and reimbursement section. This part of the document should inform your employees who they need to coordinate with to get full authorization. In addition, it should detail the step-by-step process of how to obtain reimbursements.
If you want to require your employees to submit a travel expense report that covers the number of days they were out of the office and their expenses during this time, provide a template for the report that they could follow.
Make sure to update this section regularly as any changes occur.
Going into more detail regarding travel arrangements, your policy should establish rules for fundamental factors, including:
- Airline, hotel, rental car reservations
- Allowance for business activities (e.g., food, transportation, office supplies, etc.)
- Rules for phone calls, entertainment, and on-site expenses
- Security requirements for personal safety and work equipment
- Allowable additional travel costs for business purposes (e.g., events, meetings, and training)
Local and International Travel
Of course, travel requirements may vary depending on the employee’s final destination. As such, it’s imperative to distinguish the boundaries for both local and international travel.
Between the two, international travel may have more travel requirements like visas, business travel insurance, transportation, and medical expenses. It’s vital that you enumerate each component and thoroughly explain how these can be obtained.
The content of the corporate travel policy often differs depending on the business objectives. But the details listed above can be used as an initial template or a jumping-off point. Feel free to modify the content as you see fit. As long as all the details are explained clearly and thoroughly, you should have a good corporate travel policy in your hands.
Benefits of Having a Corporate Travel Policy
Once you follow these tips and include all the necessary components, we believe that you can create a corporate travel policy that’s beneficial for everyone. Here are some benefits you can experience when you write a good policy.
It Keeps Travelers Safe
More than benefiting the company, a good policy should focus on the safety of its travellers. By expounding on certain concepts like business trip travel insurance, flight classes, transportation stipulations, and so on, a company can implement their duty of care to ensure the well-being of its employees.
It Can Allow the Company to Save Money
Travelling — even for business — can be rather expensive. By creating a set of rules that includes budget restrictions and expense limitations, you can protect your business profits and even save money in the long run.
It Streamlines the Entire Process
Aren’t you tired of organising business travel all the time? By setting out ground rules for everyone to follow, you can let go of the heavy workload and narrow down the process in a way that’s beneficial for everyone.
From booking transportation and accommodations to setting up meetings, attending events, and even dealing with potential incidents, your policy can inform your employees of the actions they need to take to ensure maximum comfort, safety, and security.
Luggage Contains Important Documents
If, for instance, something goes wrong — like your luggage getting stolen or lost, your corporate travel policy should provide further instructions on the importance of annual business travel insurance to avoid such inconveniences.
Business travel insurance can cover your expenses in the face of unexpected events, whether it be lost or stolen luggage or an illness. It encompasses emergencies, trip cancellations, and 24/7 travel assistance so you can minimise the impact of losses on your company.
Therefore, it’s essential to finalise all company travel policies with elaborate business travel insurance to further protect your organisation and your employees from unfortunate incidents while outside the office.