Revisiting Your Travel Policy

Catherine-Craig-RTBy Catherine Craig, Regional Director – APAC

One of the largest controllable costs for businesses is T&E. As we near the end of the first quarter of the business year for many companies, it’s an ideal time to take a good look at your travel policy and get a feel for how it is tracking in terms of efficiency.

The Sharing Economy as well as generational shifts, where we are now seeing a new generation of business travellers – who tend to be far more technologically sophisticated and resist traditional processes – are some of the changes that need to be considered when structuring an effective travel policy for your organization.

In the face of change, it’s important to regularly review your travel policy to make sure that it reflects the latest industry benchmarks.

The following highlights key areas for a travel policy that will keep your travellers safe and protect supplier relationships and drive compliance.

  1. Identify the type of policy that suits your company. Just as each business is unique so are their travel policies. The luxury of a blanket policy suitable for companies big and small doesn’t exist. It’s important to consider factors that include cost-efficiency, employee satisfaction and the type of relationship your company will have with different travel companies and suppliers.
  1. Get buy in from stakeholders. Make travel policy decisions inclusive and they will be received well. The travel department or travel manager shouldn’t be the only person or team involved in writing up your company’s travel policy. Other stakeholders can provide some very useful insights to help you design the perfect policy for your company. Consider bringing in accountants and human resources personnel and even some of the most regular business travellers will have the most valuable input to help you create a corporate travel policy that is most suited to your business’ needs.
  1. Ensure the document is effective and complete. Make the case to  support the processes and direction of the policy; make clear the company’s objectives and importantly make the document user friendly. All employees of the company need to understand what is covered by your business’ travel policy. Are they required to book through certain travel sites such as Expedia and Skyscanner? Or is there a customised online booking tool specifically designed for your company? It’s important to have a guide to distribute to employees so they understand the processes involved with corporate travel. Make sure your company’s travel policy is a part of an ongoing conversation with your employees. If you’re making changes, implementing cost-saving initiatives, let them know. Provide direction, tools, hints and even a “go to” employee in each department who has had involvement in the production of the policy and can provide guidance if needed.
  1. Set goals for cost-efficiency. When you’re reviewing your company’s travel policy, it’s important to identify where you’d like to be in terms of cost savings and areas to improve. You should be regularly assessing your travel program to find areas where your company can become more efficient. Look at what’s driving your business travel costs and then set achievable goals to lowering travel spending. Track spending trends to see what’s working and what’s not. Don’t forget to reward teams or employees that save. Many businesses now embrace technology tools that can help employees on the road while collecting more effective data
  1. Provide cost-efficient alternatives. Companies should take advantage of the popularity of sharing economy companies such as Airbnb rather than resist the obvious advantages that they offer. According to a Rocketrip report, business travellers can save up to 32% by booking a stay on Airbnb rather than a hotel. An added bonus of accommodation such as those offered by Airbnb and Wotif is the feeling of home. Incorporating such alternatives not only helps your company save money, but it also reflects a modern and flexible approach to corporate travel policy. It is important however OH&S parameters are not compromised.
  1. Give employees an incentive to save. Give your employees a reason to save. To motivate your employees, you may consider offering a trip to the most cost-effective traveller, or allowing your employee to keep half the savings (which has proven very effective).
  1. Lead by example. While creature comforts are always nice, you can give your employees an extra incentive to save by doing so yourself. If they see that executives are making cost-sensitive decisions when it comes to corporate travel, employees will take note. What action do you need to take? Now how do you incorporate all this into your own travel policy?  Start with a review and end with a plan.

A review looking at your company’s corporate travel trend will help identify what savings and improvements you can make to your travel policy.

GoldSpring Consulting is one of the foremost, independent, global Business Travel Consultancies to provide exceptional, expert travel advice. We have local expertise in each region to truly provide accurate advice.

To find out how GoldSpring Consulting can position your business travel program for success email me at catherine@goldspringconsulting.com or via Linkedin.

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