A well-crafted business travel policy is essential for every organization to increase the ROI of business travel. In addition to streamlining business travel management, the policy helps employees accomplish business travel goals without increasing business trip costs.
But you cannot make and implement a robust travel policy for your company or startup without understanding employee expectations, considering the latest trends, and leveraging real-time data. A travel management company (TMC) helps you implement organizational travel policies as well as ensure policy compliance.
The information, ideas, and insights shared by the company will help you make a policy that controls costs without impacting the business travel experience and safety. However, you should not forget to adopt a slew of travel policy best practices while working with the company.
9 Best Practices to Adopt While Making Travel Policies with a Travel Management Company
- Define and Prioritize Policy Goals
In addition to streamlining business travel management, the policy will help you accomplish multiple goals – controlling average business trip costs, boosting business travel experiences, and making business travel sustainable.
The travel management company will align the policy with preset goals by forming rules and guidelines. Hence, you must define and prioritize the travel policy goals before working with them.
- Accommodate Multiple Prospective
Travel and expense (T&E) is a multi-departmental process. You can make a well-rounded travel policy only by understanding and accommodating the needs of finance, human resources, and other departments. That is why; you should involve the head of various departments in the policy-making process.
It is always important to collect their views and address their needs before making the travel policy. You can make it easier for the company to make a custom travel policy by sharing the inputs shared by various departmental heads.
- Centralize Business Travel Booking
When you centralize business travel booking, it becomes easier for the travel management company to control costs and ensure policy compliance. The centralized business travel booking will make the company make business travel arrangements on behalf of employees.
The corporate travel consultant deployed by the company will book travel products according to preset policies. At the same time, he will control costs by getting corporate rates and opting for flexible tickets. Hence, you should allow the company to centralize business travel booking while making policies.
- Consider Travel Choices and Preferences
Travel choices and preferences of work travelers change from time to time. For instance, many employees these days prefer staying in homestays and airBNBs instead of conventional hotels during business trips. Likewise, most employees reduce airtime by opting for direct flights instead of connecting flights.
Hence, your policy must provide a wider range of booking options to employees. If your travel policy supports self-booking, you need to ensure that each employee can book his choice of travel products.
The travel management company must enable the employee to access a diverse travel inventory. Otherwise, the travel consultant must consider the employee’s travel preferences and booking history while booking business trips for him.
- Implement Pre-Trip Approval
Corporate travel consultants have to cancel or reschedule bookings when employees plan business trips without the required approvals. You can help the company save time and avoid additional costs by making pre-trip approval mandatory.
This requirement will ensure that the company starts business travel booking only after an employee’s business trip request is approved by the appropriate authority. However, your travel policy must define the approval workflow clearly and speed up business trip request approval.
- Improve Travel Risk Management
Your employees can accomplish business travel goals only by managing a variety of risks effectively. Your travel policy must help them minimize travel risks by providing information, training, and information.
The corporate travel consultant deployed by the travel management company helps your organization run travel risk training programs. However, your policy must make the company help employees manage flight cancellations, delays, and similar minor travel risks by delivering up-to-date information as mobile alerts.
At the same time, you must ask the company to assist your organization in meeting duty of care obligations. Your employees must be able to contact a travel consultant directly to avail of the information and assistance required to mitigate unexpected travel risks.
- Focus on Policy Communication
In addition to implementing a well-crafted travel policy, you need to ensure that each employee understands what to do and what to avoid during business trips. You can make it easier for an employee to access relevant rules and guidelines by implementing granular travel policies.
At the same time, you must convey travel policy changes and updates to employees proactively. It is always advisable to work with the TMC to ensure that each employee knows the latest guidelines before engaging in business travel.
- Get and Leverage Data-Driven Insights
In the age of big data, you must focus on implementing a data-driven travel policy. Leading travel management companies these days gather travel and expense data of employees. Also, they detect trends and patterns by analyzing real-time data using analytics tools.
You should ask the TMC to share data-driven insights regularly. At the same time, you must leverage actionable insights to make work travelers happy and control costs by refining the travel policy.
- Review the Travel Policy
You cannot manage a complex business process like travel management without implementing dynamic travel policies. The dynamic and flexible policy will help you optimize the process by adopting emerging trends and leveraging next-generation technologies.
However, it is also important to review and evaluate the travel policy from time to time using KPIs like employee satisfaction, the average business trip costs, negotiated savings, and business trip outcome. The review is essential to keep the travel policy relevant in the long run by making necessary changes and updates.
Your firm cannot increase the ROI of business travel without implementing a robust travel policy. You can work with a travel management company to make and optimize travel policies by adopting best practices, following business travel trends, and leveraging data-driven insights.
But you must adopt several best practices while leveraging a travel management company for travel policy making. The best practices will ensure that the policy helps you streamline business travel management and meet business travel needs simultaneously.