Business travel sounds simple. Book the ticket, reserve accommodations and make it to your meetings on time. However, anyone who has traveled for business knows it’s not that easy. Companies that require employee travel must implement travel policies. These policies are in place to ensure all employees who travel for business follow the same steps in planning, booking and receiving expense reimbursements. 

But travel is unpredictable. Flight cancellations occur, hotel stays are upgraded and food expenses can vary greatly. Creating a business travel policy that addresses every eventuality can feel impossible — but not having one in place can cause unnecessary confusion and even hurt your business’s bottom line. The following guidelines will help you create a corporate travel policy that’s a win-win for your company and your employees. 

Aim for Balance 

A corporate travel policy that’s one-sided, whether in the employer or employee’s favor, won’t work. An effective policy will understand the employee’s need to have some decision making power and flexibility. It also will require complete and accurate records on business expenses. A thorough and effective business travel policy will include the following: 

  • Arrangements that employees are allowed to make on their own. 
  • Arrangements that require approval. 
  • Reimbursable expenses and how to report them. This also can include when a company credit card may be used.  
  • Expenses that will not be reimbursed, such as pet boarding, in-room movies, laundry service and parking tickets.  
  • The company’s preferred sites for booking online when arranging flights and accommodations. 
  • The company’s preferred airlines, accommodation options, rental car companies and restaurants, if applicable.  
  • Parameters, such as a daily allowance, for approved accommodations, meals and transportation.  

Corporate travel policies can vary greatly from business to business. It’s also important for certain companies to include exceptions that are unique to their individual business needs. 

Don’t Forget Safety Information 

Travel safety information is an essential part of every business travel policy. After all, employee safety should be a priority for every business. One safety precaution to include in your travel policy is the requirement for employees to submit their itineraries prior to travel. This enables you to know where your employees should be and when. Employees also should provide accommodation phone numbers and emergency contact information. The employer should make the employee aware of any travel insurance policies they have available. These are simple steps that can greatly aid both parties in the event of an emergency.  

Use Technology to Your Advantage 

Technology plays an important role in business travel, and it can be a significant help in the creation and execution of your corporate travel policy. A number of digital tools are available online to help employees record expenses on the fly and submit them quickly upon arrival back at the office.  

Businesses can use online resources such as Google Drive spreadsheets to record expenses or invest in corporate travel management software. These programs can help employers create travel policies that also address the employee booking process. Because they record purchases and expenses in real time, employees and employers are always on the same page.  

Using technology to help create and enforce your corporate travel policy leaves less room for confusion or error. This can result in happier employees and fewer unnecessary expenses.  

What to Avoid 

It’s easy to make a number of common mistakes when creating a corporate travel policy. Companies can get carried away and create too many restrictions, which can make employees dread business travel. Examples include implementing unrealistic pricing requirements and causing employees to waste valuable time and energy looking for deals or stressing about costs.  

An out-of-date policy also can cause problems, as the travel industry is constantly in flux. It’s important to read your company’s corporate travel policy often and adjust restrictions, pricing guidelines and other directives to suit the current travel market.  

Creating an effective corporate travel policy doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Start with the simple guidelines above, keep employee safety a top priority and remember that your policy can always be adjusted as needed.  

Author bio: Matt Singley is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Pinnacle Furnished Suites, a provider of short-term, fully furnished apartments and temporary corporate housing. Singley is a mechanical engineer by training, but an obsessed entrepreneur at heart. His light-hearted and friendly management style complement a serious dedication to the use/advancement of technology and enhanced customer experience to create a winning product and client journey.  

Linked URL: 
https://www.pfsuites.com/nashville  

Sources: 
https://www.lola.com/learn/building-a-corporate-travel-policy 
https://www.30secondstofly.com/corporate-travel-management/how-to-write-a-travel-policy/ 
https://www.g2.com/categories/travel-management 

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