Why Do I Need a Travel Policy?
There’s little doubt that corporate travel is a major lever in powering company growth — 90% of travelers would agree.
However, there comes a point in every company’s growth when founders and business leaders recognize that the ad hoc, unspoken rule that team members book on their own and expense what feels right just does not work anymore.
The executive starts wondering why, and exactly how, they can build and implement a travel policy that ensures the positive impact of business travel influences the company’s bottom line while taking care of travelers. A corporate travel policy is an attempt to organize travel so it becomes as effective, cost-efficient, and easy for everyone involved.
The truth is that the cost of unmanaged travel becomes unnecessarily high as companies grow. Unmanaged travel limits visibility into what’s best for the traveler and what is most cost-effective for the organization. Without a proper policy or program in place, employees understandably book travel with their preferred airlines and hotels -- even if it is more expensive.
A corporate travel policy, implemented with a smart technology provider, offers business travelers the best available inventory at the most cost-effective prices, gives travel managers the ability to identify trends that cut costs, and provides the capability to build a travel program that scales with the business as it grows. A well-craft travel policy ultimately creates a better experience for travelers to drive higher adoption and satisfaction. It is the ultimate win-win-win.
Let’s dive into 7 reasons why your growing organization needs a travel policy:
1. Gain Visibility into Travel Spend
When embraced companywide, corporate travel policies give travel managers visibility and better control of how budgets are spent. They enable finance and procurement leaders to monitor everything about the performance of their travel program so they can identify trends and easily optimize for savings. Greater spend visibility provides better clarity when working with suppliers on preferred corporate rates.
2. Empower Employees to Thrive
A well-craft travel policy plays an integral part in enhancing employee happiness and productivity. Employees who travel for work feel more empowered, engaged, and energized in their jobs. Giving road warriors more choice and control amplifies the positive impact travel has on employee sentiment. Organizations are recognizing that happy employees help drive happy customers, achieve their business goals, and ultimately reap bigger profits. Travel policies help make this happen.
3. Increase Employee Productivity
An overlooked benefit of a travel policy implemented with a smart technology provider is the increase in employee productivity.
A recent TripActions survey found that 83% of business travelers spend more than an hour booking business trips. A six-minute booking average (possible with TripActions) is significantly better for productivity, and a proactive, global 24/7 travel agent support team means that employees don’t have to spend their valuable time changing flights or handling unexpected travel changes. They are able to arrive at their meetings refreshed and prepared, leading to more deals and deeper relationships.
4. Keep Employees Safe
Traveler safety is non-negotiable. When travelers are booking on their own, it is nearly impossible to keep track of schedules and where your team members are at any moment.
While corporate travel management solutions can offer duty of care features, if the platform itself is not traveler-friendly, travelers will still book elsewhere. If travelers aren’t using a designated tool, managers have little visibility into where they are at any given point in their travels, but still have the responsibility of keeping them safe.
Implementing policies, programs, and platforms that keep track of travelers before, during, and after their business trips helps ensure safety across the board. By leveraging tools such as a live traveler map to quickly understand where travelers are and who may be in harm’s way helps in times of emergency.
5. Reward Business Travelers for Cost-Saving Decisions
Business travel can be stressful, so it makes sense that employees are inclined to book based on their preferences — such as a favorite loyalty program or flight time — rather than the cheapest corporate options available. In fact, research suggests that price is typically one of the last considerations for business travelers.
However, by introducing the right hotel booking incentives into your travel program, employees can earn personal rewards and save the company’s money at the same time. Incentive programs encourage employees to spend more cost consciously by giving them a share of the savings.
6. Make Expensing Easier
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.
Leveraging the latest in expense management technology through integrations and partnerships will launch a 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.
7. Leverage the Power of Powerful Technology
Modern travel tools powered by AI and machine learning technology can use past search history, loyalty programs, and other information to quickly learn a traveler’s preferences and surface the results they’re most likely to book. They can also calculate and surface the median price per search to ensure your travelers are making the most responsible decisions for the business without sacrificing their needs.
By leveraging AI, business travel solutions can better match travelers’ personal preferences with inventory that adheres to company policy. By providing employees with flexibility throughout the booking experience, travelers are more likely to use the booking platform and - ultimately - stay in policy.
And in an age where many road warriors use their phones throughout the entire end-to-end travel experience — whether booking a hotel, boarding a flight, or hailing a ride — your corporate travel program should provide a mobile-friendly tool that works seamlessly across devices.
If you’re still wondering whether a travel policy is right for your company, and considering next steps, set up a call and our team will help you get started.