Employee travel plays a crucial role in business growth for organizations of all sizes and industries, and as every travel manager knows, balancing traveler needs with company expectations is easier said than done. When employees feel at odds with their organization's travel policy or programs, it can discourage them and push them further from where you want them to be — consistently and happily booking within the designated travel management solution.
After working the past few years to help thousands of global customers build and implement successful travel programs, TripActions has uncovered five of the most common travel policy pitfalls, as well as how businesses can identify — and fix — them within their own organizations:
The Deal Breaker: Travelers have become accustomed to the personalization, limitless options, and flexibility they find when booking leisure travel. More often than not, the rigidity of corporate travel tools makes employees feel their preferences aren’t valued by their company.
The Fix: Companies should opt for travel booking platforms that provide the widest array of available inventory, as well as clearly showcase what’s in and out of policy. That way, travelers have visibility into which fares and hotels fall into the overlap between their preferences and their organization’s policy.
The Deal Breaker: Encouraging employees to travel for work isn’t enough — they want to feel they can get what they need across different travel scenarios. When they go to book their travel, a strict policy can lead to frustration fast. Too-tight restrictions that don’t account for differences in the trips employees have to take make travelers feel like their needs aren’t being met.
The Fix: Organizations should adopt more flexible travel policies that account for variables including time of day, destination, booking history, and market rates on dates of travel for the destination to adjust spending caps and give travelers back some of their autonomy when it comes to trip booking.
The Deal Breaker: If it’s not clear to your travelers where they should book, it’s almost guaranteed they’ll do so elsewhere. Out-of-program bookings tend to not only cost more, but T&E managers get no visibility into trips until expense reports roll in much later.
The Fix: Aside from clearly defining the organization’s travel policy, regular trainings and a user-friendly solution will ensure your travelers understand the program and feel good adopting it.
The Deal Breaker: Any road warrior can tell you that business travel challenges don’t stop when the return flight hits the tarmac. Legacy travel platforms and programs often create additional roadblocks when it comes to travel expensing and reimbursement processes.
The Fix: Leveraging the latest in expense management technology integrations and partnerships will launch your company’s travel program into the future. Road warriors can organize their expenses quickly and easily on-the-go. Finance teams won’t have to deal with month-old invoices, ensuring better visibility and control into travel spend.
The Deal Breaker: Traveler safety is non-negotiable. While corporate travel management solutions can offer duty of care features, if the platform itself is not traveler-friendly, travelers will book elsewhere. If travelers aren’t using the designated tool, their managers have little visibility into where they’re going, but all the responsibility to keep them safe.
The Fix: Implement policies, programs, and platforms that keep track of your travelers before, during, and after their business trips. Leverage built-in tools like a live traveler map to quickly understand where your travelers are and who may be in harm’s way in times of emergencies.
If any of these travel policy deal breakers sound familiar, check out our latest ebook on travel policy oversights — and learn how to correct for them.