How to Cook Up a Successful Travel Policy from Scratch
Travel Policy Recipe
- Cross Functional Collaboration
- Dash of Research
- Persona Development
- Managed Travel Technology
- Compliance Enablement
Mix all ingredients together for a successful travel policy.
Corny recipes aside, corporate travel policies provide guardrails for employees to follow when it comes to business travel logistics. Typically booking parameters, expense reporting, travel safety, reimbursement guidelines, and safety requirements are outlined.
However, when it comes to designing a travel policy from scratch for your business, it’s important to remember that the culture of your organization and your business goals are essential to consider. Afterall, if policies are too rigid, employees will be unhappy. On the flipside, policies that are too relaxed aren’t responsible or scalable, and travel spend will be through the roof.
Cross Functional Collaboration is Key
To get started, we suggest pulling together a cross functional team to help facilitate the policy development process. In addition to your human resources and finance departments, include representation from leadership and members of your traveling workforce.
The team should keep in mind that an effective travel policy provides direction and requirements while also striking a balance between the financial needs of the company and the safety and convenience considerations for business travelers. Some things for the group to focus on include business goals, budgets, flight policies, approval processes, and reimbursements. We also recommend reviewing industry trends and benchmarks, checking out the policies of similar organizations, and researching the benefits of technology-enabled managed travel.
Outline Traveler Personas
As your team evaluates priorities and looks into options, it’s important to create traveler personas. For example, you might want to allow frequent travelers premium economy flight classes, a higher rated hotel, or the option to rent a car. With personas created, your committee can design policies based on role, department, travel frequency, and even if a trip is domestic or international.
Technology-Enabled Best Practices
When it comes to building a successful travel policy, technology can and should play a key role. As your team vets available managed travel tools, think about the user experience, available traveler support, and if it will build policies directly into the system.
Another key factor to consider is the benefits of an all-in-one travel and expense tool. Rather than managing multiple integrations and the need to jump from app-to-app, this functionality eliminates the need to add expenses one-by-one in another system and expedites the approval and reimbursement process for employees.
Set Your Team Up for Success
To ensure that your newly created travel policy is mainstreamed into the culture of your organization, it is imperative that you enable your staff. Here are a few ideas:
Plan a Policy Rollout
Once the document is ready-to-go, we suggest presenting it to your organization–this can be a recording, a segment in an upcoming town hall, or even a less formal lunch & learn.
Share the methodology behind the policy development, how it will improve employee satisfaction, make life on the road easier, and take some time to walk through common use cases with the new technology.
Be Prepared, But Also Open to Feedback
Change can be difficult, but if you’re prepared and have resources in place, your travel policy is far more likely to be viewed as a positive shift for your organization. Be sure to allocate time for questions and be sure to remind your team that you are open to feedback.
Travel Policy Compliance: There’s an App for That
A policy doesn’t do any good if adoption is low. One of the best ways to ensure compliance is to wrap your policies directly into your booking tool. As a result, staff will save time and achieve compliance faster. Some key areas where you can expect a noticeable difference include travel spend, advanced booking requirements, expense report accuracy, and faster reimbursements.
Speaking of saving time, did you know that a compliant expense report is a finance team’s dream? It not only expedites the approval process, but it also makes auditing and reimbursements far easier as expenses are categorized according to the parameters of your system.
In short, a user-friendly technology like the TravelBank app can manage the entire T&E spectrum—from booking, to expense reports, travel policy compliance, reimbursements, budget forecasting, and more.
Change is Hard, We Can Help
As we highlight in our Travel Policy Guide, “The key to a well-balanced travel policy all comes down to flexibility. By being flexible on a number of variables, you can create dynamic options that single-handedly boost employee engagement and compliance.”
With the number of employees traveling for business continuing to increase, a comprehensive travel policy created specifically for your organization is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have. TravelBank can help your organization transition to a new, comprehensive travel policy that will save travel costs and provide clear guardrails for your team. We’re even available to make recommendations to your team as you design the policy. Ready to get started? Let’s chat.