Corporate travel is essential for any enterprise looking to grow and expand. It helps build a productive network, and increases the company’s exposure and visibility. Further, business travel is gradually picking up pace and coming back to normal post-pandemic. Executives are making business trips all over the world to hold meetings and strike deals. Therefore, corporate travel planning has become all the more important. Efficient travel management provides a great experience to their employees and gets a good ROI for their efforts.
Additionally, a sound corporate travel management policy can address all functions associated with supporting business travel. It takes into account the needs and conveniences of the employees, customers, vendors, and business partners. Companies generally rely on a combination of corporate travel management teams, travel agencies, and online booking to manage their business travel needs smoothly.
Challenges of corporate travel management
- Employees look for flexibility and desire better comfort while on business tours. This can be at variance with the company’s efforts to keep costs under control.
- Miscellaneous services were earlier included in the airfare or hotel booking may now cost extra. This creates a disparity in company policies.
- If booking errors occur, managing cancellation or change of fees can become a hassle.
Many companies lack ways to regulate the needs of the business with costs.
- They cannot deal with the ever-changing business conditions in travel situations.
- The reimbursement process is manual, and it takes a long time to verify receipts for travel expenses.
4 steps on how to plan corporate travel better
Every organization needs to have a documented travel management policy. It must be practical and enforceable. Input and suggestions from employees who travel on business frequently must be considered. This can help minimize non-compliance, a major problem many organizations face.
The management must have a flexible approach to corporate travel. They must be ready to make changes in the policy based on the unique travel situations and needs of some business trips. Here are four effective steps for doing great corporate travel planning.
1. Choose a reliable TMC
TMCs are the first and foremost requirement to manage a big organization’s travel needs. These travel agencies have customized packages and services as per the requirements of the organizations. Further, modern TMCs have access to online booking platforms. The best platforms are designed to be user-friendly and come with a range of features.
Employees can create their preferred itinerary without going beyond the stated travel policy, budget, or other restrictions set by the company. Manual budget management is not needed with such platforms. One just has to enter the travel destination and book from many choices available without breaking travel policies.
2. Create travel policies
You need a travel policy in place if you want your employees to remain within the allocated travel budget. The policy must also consider employees’ freedom to plan their own trips. A well-drafted travel policy is the best way to manage corporate travel. With proper execution, you can ensure compliance and curtail errors.
In most organizations, enforcing the same policy for all trips may not be possible. Some employees need a bigger budget, while others may have different travel needs. Your travel policy must consider these diverse needs and provide the flexibility necessary so that there are no hassles while claiming reimbursement post-trip.
3. Provide 24×7 support
When your employee is away on a business trip, they depend on you for support and guidance if things do not go as planned. They may face various types of problems. Employees may have to fulfill specific tasks within tight deadlines but may need some input from the team back home. They may face accommodation issues at night or have flight-related problems. Hence, corporations need TMCs to provide all round support during an employee’s trip.
When you’re searching for the best travel management companies, make sure you look for the following services:
- Round-the-clock availability and hassle-free contact options
- Support in the same language as that of employee
- Availability of experts who can provide solutions to specific travel-related problems
4. Streamline the approval process
You must implement the travel policy and ensure the process is streamlined and flows without hiccups. Create authority for approving requests or take decisions for out-of-policy decisions in specific cases. Corporations can also outsource the whole process to TMCs by keeping the primary decision making power with the inhouse team.
Corporate travel is on the rise, and it’s booming after the COVID-forced hiatus. Now that companies are returning to their feet after the pandemic, it is only fair to expect business travel to surge. That’s why it is crucial to focus on managing corporate travel efficiently and affordably. The suggestions provided will help you in fool-proof and efficient corporate travel planning.