6 key points to consider when writing a business travel policy
16th October 2015
It is vital for companies to achieve maximum value from business travel spend. Having a clear and well-conceived travel policy in place is the cornerstone on which good travel procurement can achieve the objective of controlling and reducing the corporate travel expenditure company-wide while minimising your legal liabilities. It is said that a clearly defined, well-implemented and well-monitored and well-communicated travel policy can on average reduce your company’s travel cost by up to 30%. Here we share key points you should keep in mind when writing your business travel policy.
1. Outline the purpose of your policy
Every company is unique, and travel policies vary widely from one company to another. Be clear and precise on what you want to achieve with your new travel policy. Is the main focus on reducing travel spend or on improving the overall well-being of your travelling employees? Typically a good travel policy should aim to improve both. The tricky bit is to ensure you, your travel arrangers and travellers don’t get lost along the way. So be clear and specific about the objectives of the travel policy.
2. Travel policy scope
Make clear who will be subject to your travel policy. Should it apply equally to all levels of employees? How forceful should it be? Should the travel policy be international or will the policy be different for each country?
3. Keep it short and simple
Try to keep your travel policy down to a maximum of 2 pages, if possible. Remember your policy should guide your travel arrangers and traveller, not confuse them by information overload or put them off with the view of having to read pages and pages filled with lingo they don’t understand.
4. Be specific about choices
A good travel policy gives your travellers choice and flexibility within clear boundaries. However, to ensure your employees know which options they have you need to be specific. Make sure you avoid wishy-washy formulations or ambiguity if you want the travel policy to work. For example, instead of stating “accommodation should be no higher than 3 stars or equivalent “the better option could be “maximum hotel rate allowed is 90 GBP and accommodation should be no higher than 4 stars”. Clear to the point information about preferred airlines or hotels with special negotiated rates and make statements about maximum levels to provide guidelines to work within. If, for any reason, travellers have to make bookings above the maximum business travel spend allowed they need to know how to deal with them. So, make sure you specify how these out-of-policy bookings are handled, who is responsible for pre-trip approvals, and what reasons are acceptable to justify an out-of-policy booking.
5. Internal communications
Companies can have the best travel policy written on paper. However, a business travel policy is only as strong as the traveller’s and travel arranger’s awareness of it. So having an effective strategy in place to communicate your policy is vital to ensure smooth implementation and achieve maximum compliance. Think about the best ways on how to communicate the policy and to whom it should be distributed. A good starting point to bring the message across is to consider having a business travel bulletin providing policy advice and updates on a regular basis to get the message across, distribute your travel policy via email and make it available to everyone on the company intranet, or to include it in the company newsletter with a message from the CEO.
6. Consult a travel management company
Liaise with your assigned corporate travel management company to ensure your travel policy built into your online booking tool. Business travel companies are the specialists and know what works well and can provide best practice advice on how to create an effective travel policy, help you communicate your travel policy and educate your travellers and travel arrangers.
Best practice advice or support for developing an effective business travel policy
Flightline Travel Management is one of the leading independent full-service corporate travel management companies based in the UK. We make business travel smarter, faster and greener – for everyone. If you would like to learn more about how our travel management team can help you create an effective business travel policy and achieve your goals, simply contact our business travel agents team and call on +44 (0)1844 299 750.