In a 2016 global study of business travellers conducted by Egencia, the corporate travel brand of the Expedia group, findings revealed that only 38% of business travellers are satisfied with their company travel policy. What this means for companies is that travellers are likely to book out-of-policy, costing the company more money.
What is a travel policy?
Travel policies exist to help business travellers follow travel booking and reimbursement procedures. There are many benefits to a company travel policy, such as keeping the travel booking process organised, streamlining the reimbursement procedures for travellers, enabling more savings, avoiding fraud and protecting employees through clearly defined safety and security procedures.
How to write a travel policy
When creating your travel policy, be sure to provide options and include employees in the decision-making process. “This is because employers will prioritise cost-effectiveness, while travellers will prioritise quality services and support,” says Chantal Kliche, Retail Manager of Thompsons Travel, Cape Region. “Outline specific guidelines to ensure that all employees are on the same page when it comes to their travel arrangements, responsibilities and budgets.”
While many variables drive decisions around a company’s business travel guidelines, every policy should cover the following:
- Preferred suppliers: the airlines, hotel chains and car hire providers they should utilise.
- Advance booking requirements: where applicable, you may require employees book hotels and flights at least two weeks in advance.
- The online booking tool the traveller should use to search for travel and if the use of the technology is mandatory or optional.
- The payment process: defining specific categories in which employees should use a company card versus a personal card and whether all bookings must be completed through the chosen tool.
What to include in your travel policy:
Your travel policy should detail the expense categories for which you will reimburse travellers. These should include reimbursable travel and entertainment items, as well as non-reimbursed items.
“It is a good idea to encourage travellers from the get-go to book the most cost-effective rates which meet business travel needs,” says Kliche.
2) Expense reporting and reimbursement process
Whether you explain expense reporting for each expense category or offer a separate section describing the reporting process, you should address the following:
- Required documentation (such as forms and receipts) for reimbursement
- Expected timeline to submit claims after the trip and how long it will take for reimbursement
- Non-compliance procedures when travellers have booked out-of-policy
- Pre-approval process for expense categories
3) Safety information
It is necessary to outline any travel safety procedures in your policies to help you accomplish your company’s duty of care. You should consider:
- Providing contact information and resources for travellers in the case of different types of emergencies
- Defining any insurance the company holds for travellers and what assistance is available
Consider bleisure (business and leisure) when crafting business travel guidelines to prepare travellers for their responsibilities when adding on personal travel days to their business trips.
“It is important to clarify when the company’s coverage of costs ends and when the traveller’s begin,” says Kliche.
How we can help you:
If you partner with Thompsons Travel, not only can you ease your travel budgets with our global buying and negotiating power, but you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your travel policy is in place and being met by an experienced travel management team. Additionally, you get access to Amadeus Mobile Messenger to provide real-time assistance to your corporate customers or employees, wherever they are. Contact us today.