business travel guidelines

It is without a doubt that the business travel industry is constantly growing. Industry standards, policies, and practices are also rapidly evolving. Hence, if you are an HR or a finance manager, it is imperative that you regularly update the business travel guidelines to maximize the value and effectiveness of each business trip.

However, ensuring that the company’s travel policy guidelines are suited to the current times is no child’s play. Most companies often struggle to do this either due to a lack of resources or inefficient processes.

So, to help you make your travel guidelines more effective, we have compiled a list of strategies you can use. Read on to learn more about how to keep your business travel guidelines relevant and up to date.

1. Review your Travel Policy Guidelines on a Regular Basis

One of the most important things you can do to keep your corporate travel guidelines relevant and up-to-date is to review your travel policies regularly. This means reviewing your policies at least quarterly or yearly and making changes as needed based on employee feedback, industry changes, and new international or domestic travel regulations.
For instance, if your employees frequently travel to countries with high crime rates, you may need to update your travel policy to include security measures such as travel insurance, accommodations with high-level security, and local security escorts. Similarly, if your employees frequently travel to countries with high rates of infectious diseases, you may need to update your policies to include health and safety precautions such as vaccinations and hygienic measures as suggested by WHO.

2. Solicit Feedback from Employees who Frequently Travel

Most finance managers/HRs/travel managers often ignore taking feedback from employees after a business trip. Taking employee feedback into account is essential when keeping your business travel guidelines relevant and up-to-date. Employees who regularly travel for business can provide valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t regarding travel policies and procedures.

There are several ways to gather employee feedback on business travel. One effective approach is to conduct surveys or group discussions where you can ask employees about their experiences with travel, including what they find helpful or challenging about current policies and procedures. You may also want to ask employees for suggestions on improving the travel experience or what additional resources or support they would find valuable.

Once you have gathered feedback, it’s essential that you act on it. This may involve making changes to existing policies or introducing new ones based on employee suggestions. It’s also important you communicate any changes or updates in your business travel guidelines to your employees. This helps ensure they have the necessary resources and support to comply with them.

3. Stay Informed on the Latest Travel Advisories

Another crucial factor HRs or travel managers usually ignore is staying informed about travel advisories issued by governments and health organizations. A travel advisory is a set of guidelines issued by government authorities to inform about the safety situation of foreign destinations and update visitors about their country’s travel regulations. These advisories provide the most recent information regarding matters such as terrorism, civil unrest, political instability, public health and safety, and natural disasters. 

You must keep an eye out for these advisories and update your business travel guidelines accordingly. This not only ensures the safety of your employees but also helps improve your business travel management process. 

4. Consider the Latest Technologies to Streamline your Travel Process

In today’s fast-paced business environment, technology plays a crucial role. Technology can now assist businesses in streamlining their travel management process and updating travel guidelines. Here are some examples of how leveraging the latest technology can streamline your travel process: 

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning: AI and machine learning can help you analyze travel data to identify cost-saving measures, safety risks, and other trends. For instance, AI can help you predict flight delays or cancellations and recommend alternative travel options. Machine learning can help you identify patterns in travel expenses and suggest ways to reduce costs.
  • Mobile Apps: Mobile apps can provide employees access to travel information, such as flight schedules, hotel bookings, and emergency contacts. They can also help employees submit expenses on the go, saving time and reducing the risk of errors. Some apps can even give employees real-time updates on travel disruptions or safety risks.
  • Online Travel Management Software: Online travel management software solutions can help you streamline your travel booking process and track expenses. It can also help you implement safety measures, such as tracking employees’ locations in real time, sending alerts in case of emergencies, and providing employees with relevant travel information.

5. Ensure Compliance with National Laws and Regulations

When traveling for business, employees must comply with laws and regulations related to visas, work permits, taxes, and customs. Failure to comply with these laws can result in fines, legal issues, and even deportation. 

Hence, ensuring that your business travel guidelines provide clear guidance on compliance with national laws and regulations is important. Here are some tips to help you achieve this:

  • Conduct Through Research: Before sending employees on business trips, it is important to research the laws and regulations of the destination country. This can include researching visa and work permit requirements, taxes, and customs regulations. You can consult with experts or corporate travel management companies to ensure your employees have the necessary documentation and information to comply with laws.
  • Train Employees: Training your employees on compliance with local laws and regulations can help ensure they know the requirements and how to comply with them. You can provide training sessions, online courses, or travel guides to help employees prepare for their trips. You can also provide them access to local experts who can answer their questions and provide guidance.

Business travel trends are constantly evolving, and it’s important to consider the impact of emerging trends on your corporate travel guidelines. Here are some examples of emerging travel trends and how they may impact your guidelines:

  • Bleisure Travel: Bleisure travel combines business and leisure travel, where employees add a few extra days to their trip to explore the destination for personal reasons. Bleisure travel is becoming increasingly popular, and it’s important to consider its impact on your guidelines. For instance, you may need to clarify your policy on using company resources for personal travel and provide guidance on safety measures for employees traveling alone.
  • Sustainable Travel: Sustainable travel is becoming more important to travelers, and it’s important to consider its impact on your guidelines. You may need to provide guidance on eco-friendly travel options, such as public transportation or bike rentals, and encourage employees to reduce their carbon footprint while traveling. You can also include a green travel policy to ensure sustainable travel. 
  • Personalization: Travelers are increasingly looking for personalized travel experiences, and it’s important to consider their preferences and needs when developing your guidelines. You may need to provide options for travelers to personalize their travel arrangements, such as choosing their preferred airline or hotel chain.

Get the Latest Business Travel Guidelines by Employing a TMC

Regularly reviewing and updating your business travel policies is critical to ensure they remain effective and relevant. This requires staying up-to-date on changes in the business and legal environment.

If you face challenges keeping your business travel guidelines relevant and up-to-date,  it is high time you invest in a TMC such as ITILITE. ITILITE is a SaaS TMC that offers helps you with all your business travel needs, such as leveraging the latest technologies, creating itineraries as per employees’ preferences, and ensuring travel policy compliance. Our in-house travel experts are always up-to-date with the latest business travel trends, travel guidelines, the latest travel advisories, and many more. 

To know more about ITILITE, get a free demo!