How to Create a Badass Business Travel Policy
Now that the new year has begun and your holiday hangover has worn off, it’s time to refresh your corporate travel policy or to create one from scratch. There are several things to keep in mind when coming up with an effective policy that will maintain balance between company needs and employee satisfaction. Read on to find out how you can kick off the new year with a business travel policy of steel.
PLANNING THE POLICY
Before you begin writing the travel policy, make sure you set goals and negotiate deals.
Okay fine, when most people use the popular “#goals” hashtag, they probably don’t have corporate travel policies in mind. But most people aren’t you! As Travel Manager, it’s important that you set goals before writing up the policy. Meet with the relevant people in the office to discuss the business plan for 2019 so that you can create a travel policy that’s the right fit for your company this year. Goals can include anything from cutting corporate travel costs to making your employees happy so they stick around longer. Once you’ve established what your goals are, you can get to work on ensuring the travel policy matches those goals.
Now that you’re clear on your goals, you’re ready to negotiate. All employees appreciate the flexibility, so you’ll want to negotiate travel discounts with various hotels in specific cities to keep your travelers’ options open. The idea is to save your company money through great discounts while giving your employees as much of a selection as possible. Not a great negotiator? Ask your accommodation partner to help you close deals. We’re an excellent haggler.
WRITING THE POLICY
You’ve set your goals and negotiated deals with hotels. Next, you’ll want to include the following elements in your travel policy.
Even the most loyal employee can exaggerate their travel expenses. By writing a crystal clear section on expenses, your employees will know what they’ll be reimbursed on, and you’ll limit the element of surprise when it comes to crazy expenses. No more “Surprise! I bought my dog a cashmere sweater with company money, because of course I had to take him with me on the business trip, and he gets cold.”. A travel management platform can greatly help you establish approved expense categories and non-refundables so your employees will know exactly what they will and won’t be reimbursed for.
Expense reporting process
You’ve listed the allowed expenses. Now you need to lay out the process for reporting expenses and getting reimbursement. This can vary from company to company, so it’s up to you to choose what works for your business. Be sure to describe what documentation you’ll require from your travelers (such as receipts), and when the deadline is for submission. Do you require pre-approval for any expenses? Mention that in the policy, as well as who should be contacted for pre-approval. The more specific you get, the less room your employees will have for asking for reimbursement on irrelevant expenses.
If you want your employees to be an asset to your company, you’ll probably need to keep them alive! Detail safety procedures in your travel policy so your travelers can stay protected. Explain what kind of travel insurance the company has, and who should be contacted in case of emergency. Also, a little light stalking never hurt anyone! Use an online booking tool that lets you track your travelers during their trip. That way, if anything goes wrong, you can know where they are. Not in a creepy way.
Of course, there are more details to consider when creating a business travel policy, but these points should help get you started! To best manage employee travel, try Arbitrip’s personalized travel platform.