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Your corporate travel policy lays the foundation for your company’s entire travel management process.
If you have employees traveling for business purposes, especially during these times, you must build a travel policy that balances business outcomes on mobility and cost and yet enables procedures to keep employees safe.
Let’s see the best practices for drafting and implementing a clear and concise travel policy, along with a customizable template for your use.
A corporate travel policy should include a list of guidelines and rules for the travel your employees undertake. The policy should be concise and specific so that employees don’t get confused or bored while referring to it.
While there is no one approach for creating a travel policy, we believe the best travel policy document should cover the following:
A smart corporate travel policy should always include an objective. Why? It should clarify who the policy is for and the goals you want to achieve by revising or formulating it.
For instance, is your top priority to control travel costs, offer more flexibility to employees when they travel, or increase policy compliance?
Moreover, the policy objectives be defined as bullet points. Don’t forget to include benefits for employees that the company seeks to deliver.
This section should include everything your employees would need to know about where, how, and when to book travel.
You’ll likely want to start with a statement encouraging employees to book responsibly and affordably, (if they are allowed to book themselves).
Having generalized guidelines for domestic and international travel can leave employees confused and result in involuntary policy violations. Hence, there should be different sections for domestic and international travel booking guidelines. It should define what employees need to take care of while booking domestic or international travel respectively.
For instance, the guidelines can define separate expenditure limits for domestic and international flight and hotel bookings. Moreover, you can also include whether the flights will be direct or indirect according to the destination.
Including a centralized booking procedure in your travel policy can make booking flights and hotels easier for your employees. Therefore, you should include the process for booking business travel through a T&E platform or a travel agent.
If your company has implemented a T&E solution, provide the link of the platform so they are redirected to the platform for booking. Otherwise, write out the name and contact details of the travel manager they are supposed to contact to request a booking or for travel details.
You should also include the latest booking period for employees to organize everything well before time. For eg., at least 10 days before the trip. The booking period should be different for domestic and international travel.
Encourage employees to avoid last-minute bookings as it increases the cost of travel dramatically, providing only a few options to choose from.
Frequent last-minute cancellations or re-bookings can drive up your travel costs. Therefore, the policy should clearly state if there will be any extra charges for rebooking the flights, etc. Most airlines today provide flexible booking policies. You can provide a link to the cancellation policy of respective airlines for better clarity.
Rewarding employees who pick economical booking options will drive massive travel cost savings. Therefore, you should let your employees know if your company’s T&E management tool provides rewards or loyalty points for cost-conscious employees.
You can simply add a line “Employees may choose hotel/flight below their policy limit only to get rewards.”
Bleisure (business+leisure) is the practice of extending business trips to include leisure activities. Sometimes, employees may want to extend their business trips or use some of their vacation days to relax on business trips or explore local tourist destinations. For such cases, the travel policy should provide rules around what cost difference is allowable for the returning flight or extended hotel stay.
This is a vital section of any travel policy. It should include information regarding all expense categories such as flights, accommodation, ground transportation, meals, client entertainment expenses, and telephone usage.
Here’s the information that you can include under each category.
Share in detail with all employees travel expenses that your company would NOT reimburse. Create a list with some examples of non-reimbursable items such as:
You may have covered some of the items in the expense categories section but it’s useful to have an entire list like this available for the convenience of the employees.
This section clearly defines the expense reporting and reimbursement process. Your policy should clearly state the following:
An important goal of your travel policy should be to spread awareness about your company’s steps for ensuring travelers’ safety. It’s much needed in the current COVID situation, and your employees would be interested in knowing about it.
So, make sure to include information regarding travel support, travel insurance, emergency contact numbers, etc. A few of your pointers could include information on:
Emergencies can occur anytime while your employees are on a business trip. Therefore, it is important that you keep track of your employees’ location while they are traveling to intervene and help them in case of an emergency.
Include how and when the employees will be tracked to ensure their safety during travel while also taking care of privacy.
While traveling internationally, your employees might need some help navigating the new place. For instance, they might need a location-based recommendation about the nearest public transportation. Therefore, you need to ensure they have 24/7 support.
Include contact details of the travel support provider. Let them know that the support is available through easily accessible modes like chat and calls.
Make sure you highlight the emergency contact details of your travel partner or an SOS helpline number in case of untoward incidents
Business travel insurance is extremely important to protect the life and property of your business travelers while they are on a business trip. Therefore, you should invest in a good insurance plan and include the details in your policy so that your employees know about the aspects that are covered.
List the details of the travel insurance you are providing to your employees (if any) i.e. the vendor, insurance amount, policy, etc.
A travel policy should be built keeping travelers in mind. Employees should not struggle to know which hotel they can book or not. Showing them what’s in and out of policy while they are booking the tickets will enhance their experience.
Your travel policy should be easy to understand and include the information most pertinent to employees. If the policy is clear, employees will comply with it. If not, they might end up booking out of policy. You can also include a glossary section if your travel policy includes complex terms.
Your travel policy should be granular and comprehensive. You should have separate guidelines according to various employee levels, departments, functions, trip destinations, and duration.
With detailed policy guidelines, your employees will be clear about the travel-related rules that apply to them. This will increase travel policy compliance in your organization and help you meet your travel goals.
The travel policy should be flexible so that your employees cancel/reschedule their travel easily. Your policy should also make it simple for travelers to overspend if there are safety concerns.
While this may partly increase costs for the company, it will give you and your employees peace of mind.
Your employees should have a say in your travel policy. Gather feedback from survey post trips, and include the most valid points in the policy.
Making all stakeholders and employees a part of policy creation will increase adoption as well.
The duty of care plan includes the steps you take to minimize risks while sending employees on business trips.
You should highlight your duty of care plan in the travel and support section so the employees know all the initiatives – tracking of employees, 24*& support, SOS helpline – the company is taking steps to ensure their safe travel.
Now that you know how to create an effective corporate travel policy for your business, make sure you implement it via an automated T&E management solution that gives your employees a great user experience so compliance follows naturally.
ITILITE is an integrated travel and expense management platform that will help you implement your travel policy seamlessly, with unrivaled inventory choice and 24*7 customer support.
To see for yourself, get you free demo now.
Having a clear corporate travel policy will help you keep your employees happy & safe, and save money for the company. We created a travel policy template that will help you do just that.
Get you travel policy template free of cost by clicking on the below link.