Employees have to travel to different locations as part of their job profiles in business organizations. Hence, corporates have to book a large number of flights and hotels frequently. To set ground rules for booking of flights, hotels, etc., an organization has to formulate a sound travel policy. The business travel policy covers several aspects of travel and offers guidelines to employees, corporate managers, finance staff, and travel agencies. It details the expenses employees may claim during business trips for reimbursement.
The standard travel policy of an organization clarifies travel arrangement procedures, approval processes, the scope of business travels, expense reporting, and reimbursement processes. An ideal corporate travel management company‘s travel policy aims to facilitate safe and comfortable travel for higher productivity and greater control over travel costs.
Importance of business travel policy
Business travel with no proper policy in place can jack up travel costs and unnecessary delays in the traveling process. The lack of clear booking guidelines and inventory of preferred vendors makes employees or travel agencies book the trips without considering the costs.
A travel policy is a comprehensive set of guidelines for managing the entire travel management process. It provides the stakeholders with a one-stop resource to learn and adopt the best business travel practices. An exhaustive business travel policy ensures smooth execution of business trips while adhering to company’s guidelines.
It helps companies comply with Duty of Care obligations by securing business trips ahead of time. A travel policy is also a crucial tool to protect a company’s business interests. Creating a detailed business travel policy streamlines various aspects of business travel, including planning, approvals, and expense reimbursements.
Objectives of the travel policy
- The policy should be able to control cost
- It should facilitate corporate travel while abiding by the law
- The policy should be able to manage risks
- It should keep well being of employees as priority
- It should enhance the overall productivity and efficiency
Benefits of business travel policy
A corporate travel policy is a vital management tool to boost organizational growth by ensuring cost-efficient and productive business trips. There are several benefits of creating and implementing a business travel policy in the organization if employees need to plan business trips as a standard aspect of their job profile.
1. Cost savings
Business travel costs contribute significantly to the organization’s operational costs. Effective implementation of a custom business travel policy with pre-defined expense limits and choice of vendors ensures cost savings without impacting employee experience.
Creating a dynamic inventory of preferred travel and accommodation vendors assures better cost saving opportunities for organizations. The long-term effect on cost savings because of such an arrangement can be remarkable.
2. Streamlines the business travel
An efficient travel policy implementation streamlines each stage of business travel right from approval and beyond. It eliminates confusion by providing clear instructions on dos and don’ts in different situations. No business travel is devoid of uncertainties like flight cancellations, reservations, and other emergencies. A business travel policy offers an emergency protocol to mitigate stress and confusion. Streamlining the corporate travel process saves valuable time for all stakeholders.
3. Effective control and visibility into travel expenses
Extensive implementation of a uniform corporate travel policy helps travel managers and TMCs gain control and visibility. Travel management solutions offer real-time visibility into every travel expense and process of business travel. Continuous monitoring of business trips helps corporate travel managers and TMCs take corrective action in time.
4. Enhanced safety measures
Employee safety during business travel is critical, as employers must fulfill the duty of care responsibilities. Corporate travel managers can incorporate multiple elements of duty of care into the travel policy. They can ensure real-time tracking of their movements and whereabouts by adopting sophisticated travel management companies equipped with advanced travel tracking platforms.
5. Ensures employee-satisfaction
Implementation of business travel policies need not be at the cost of employees’ experience. A complicated travel policy will most likely fail on the implementation front. Corporate travel managers can design employee-friendly travel policies that are easy to understand and implement. Using travel management software with the facility of a mobile app eases travel policy implementation among employees while traveling. Employees need not prepare complex expense statements, as the software app allows a one-step submission of travel expense statements with the click of a button for faster reimbursement.
Steps to create an effective business travel policy
1. Outline the aim of the travel policy
The travel policy should have a clear aim catering to business travel. It can also include how employees must behave while on business trips to establish a company’s image.
2. Determining the scope
Identify the employees and agendas that can come under the purview of the travel policy. Line managers, TMCs, sales, and service staff are examples of some employees under the gamut of travel policy.
3. Establish travel request procedures
Authorizing a staff member or TMC to control and process travel requests will reduce the time while getting approvals and streamline the activity. Create the procedures and timelines for approvals.
4. Fixing the daily allowance system
Decide whether employees will receive a daily allowance to cover routine expenses like meals, refreshments, local transport, and laundry. It will simplify expense reporting and reduce the need to provide multiple bills for minor expenditures.
5. Determine the range of traveling expenses
Defining the limits of travel and accommodation expenditures will reduce confusion while ensuring employee satisfaction. Further, it helps organizations maintain high ROI.
6. Simplify expense reporting
Put an expense reporting system in place by defining the process of expense reporting, submission, and receipt management. Establish an approval system and define timelines for submission and reimbursement of expenses.
Things to Remember while implementing the business travel policy
Effective implementation by employees is the key to the success of a business travel policy. Selling your travel policy across stakeholders by using proper communication methods is essential. A simple and intuitive travel policy is crucial for its acceptance by employees.
Limitations of the travel policy
- It limits the flexibility as per individual circumstances
- Become redundant with the evolving travel environment
- Can hamper the overall satisfaction of the employee
- It may not include measures for unforeseen situations
Setting up rules, authorities, and expenditure limits will reduce deviations. Do not adopt a legal tone while wording the travel policy. It should sound simple and friendly for better acceptability. Developing a concise pocketbook with FAQs is also helpful for effective execution. Further, employed TMC should be well-versed with the travel policy for better assistance. Travel managers can integrate corporate travel policy in the booking platforms such as Paxes, and streamline the overall booking adhering to the individual policy for the organization.
Suggested Read: Top Benefits Of Corporate Travel Management Companies
Business Travel Policy FAQs
What is the purpose of a business travel policy?
A business travel policy is a set of rules and regulations designed specifically for employees traveling outside the country on business. Business travel policy helps cover all aspects that are related to business travel leading to a smooth flow of processes for employees.
What are the advantages of a business travel policy?
The advantages of business travel policies are that it helps keep track of all activity and expenses related to business travel, along with making the process of approval and cost-saving a seamless experience for the employee and the organization.
How can travel management platforms help in upholding travel policy
Business travel policies can be well integrated with travel management platforms and software programs which helps companies to keep track of all the transactions and approvals pertaining to the business travel policy.
How can one ensure that employees follow business travel policy?
The structure of any organization includes top management, managers, and employees. With the help of TMCs, managers and colleagues can enforce and encourage employees to abide by the business travel policy and not misuse the option to travel for business.
Why is Duty of Care essential for sound business travel policy?
Duty of care is a policy enforced by TMCs that provides easy support services to the employee 24x7. It is an essential policy that every organization should imbibe through TMCs for the safety and security of the employee.
How do I submit travel expenses?
To submimt travel expenses, you have to review the expense policy, collect receipts, complete an expense report, attach receipts, and submit the expense report.
Can I choose my own accommodation?
Depending upon the travel policy of your organization, you may or may not be able to choose the type of accommodation.
How can I book a business trip?
Plan out the itinerary, refer to the company policy, book transportation and accommodation, gather the reciepts, and notify relevant properties.
What expenses are reimbursable?
Business related travel expenses, accommodations, meals, communication, supplies are some of the reimbursable expenses.
Are there any restrictions on luggage?
Yes, there are weight and size related restrictions along with the luggage type for any travel by flights.
Who can go for corporate travel?
Registered employees of any organization can go for business travel on behalf of the company.
Can I extend my business trip for personal reasons?
To extend your business trip, you will have to review company policy and inform the relevant parties.