Technology-Enabled Travel Policy FAQs: What Employees Want to Know
This is the final post in a three-part series focused on corporate travel policies. Be sure to check out Part I: Essential Travel Policy Parameters and Why They Matter and Part II: Designing a Travel Policy that Fits Your Corporate Culture.
After careful planning, and considerations of your organization’s culture, you’ve shared your corporate travel policy with your employees. Great! Everyone’s now on the same page regarding business travel. The policy is well-crafted and serves to define processes, support traveling employees, save money, and maximize productivity. Surprisingly, once a travel policy is rolled out, managers and the finance department often notice an uptick in questions about compliance.
Supporting Employee FAQs with Technology
Fortunately, by utilizing a travel management company, such as TravelBank, technology can assist throughout the process by offering prompts and notifications regarding policy compliance. Through our app, employees are provided with moment-to-moment responsiveness that is both convenient and reliable. Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) and possible responses as to how technology is utilized to streamline travel policy compliance.
How will the booking process change with the new travel policy and technology?
Good news! Even though a travel policy has been implemented, the majority of the TravelBank booking experience will stay the same. You can continue to conduct hotel and flight searches as usual. One area where there is a change pertains to any itineraries that are over the recommended travel budget. These options will be flagged with an over budget indicator.
What if my trip is over budget?
If your upcoming travel booking is over the budgeted amount for the trip, you can request to book and the request will go directly to your department manager. You will receive an email copy of the request, and your manager will receive an email notification that they have a request to review.
The reservation will appear in your TravelBank trips as “pending”. If your manager approves the trip, it will automatically be booked. If the request is declined, your manager can include a note as to why and with guidelines for booking another travel plan.
Does requesting travel hold airfare and hotel rates?
Airfare and hotel rates are not held upon travel request and fares are subject to change. If fares change on a pending request, your manager will get a notification of the fare change and is still able to approve or decline the request. It is worth noting that if the fare class or hotel room type is sold out, the travel request will expire and the employee you will need to find available travel to book, so it’s important to process requests in a timely manner, which our customizable notifications help your team to do.
How can I earn rewards?
If your company has elected to provide employee rewards as part of its policy, you will receive points when you choose less expensive options that save your company money. Each lodging booking that is below the budgeted amount will show a rewards value when you book, allowing you to factor TravelBank points into your decision. You book first, come in under budget, earn rewards, and expense later as we auto-generate an expense for your booking. Essentially, TravelBank’s Rewards program gives you more points when you choose less expensive options, saving your company money.
What about expense reporting and reimbursement?
TravelBank’s app makes expense reporting and attaching receipts beyond simple. Photos of your receipts are digitally attached to the report and there is a section for notes to be backfilled. Once all of the information for your trip expenses are ready to go, the report is submitted via one-tap or click of your mouse.
When it comes to reimbursements, TravelBank accelerates the speed at which you get your money. Adding your bank account is super easy and can be done from both the mobile app and the desktop.
Is bleisure an option?
Travel Pulse highlights bleisure as the biggest trend in business travel today, stating: “For business travelers, the benefit of bleisure travel is one of the biggest perks and helps establish a better work-life balance. Those who engage in bleisure travel are significantly more likely to be satisfied with their quality of life (93 percent vs. 75 percent) as well as their work/life balance (87 percent vs. 64 percent) while on the road than non-bleisure travelers.” Bleisure is awesome; however, there are a few things to keep in mind from a policy perspective:
- Costs incurred for personal trips in conjunction with business travel will not be reimbursed by the company.
- You may not prorate a vehicle rental expense. Please obtain a separate personal contract.
- Combining business and personal travel may interfere with tax deductibility of business-related expenses, and may be taxable to you, the employee.
Flexibility Boosts Engagement and Compliance
As we’ve mentioned previously, “We believe that 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.”
We hope these FAQs are helpful. If you have other questions regarding your travel policy, compliance, and how technology can help, please reach out!
In the meantime, check out our guide, 5 Scenarios Your Travel Policy Should Cover.