When a new client comes aboard with Christopherson, one of the first items on the agenda is aligning their goals with the right corporate travel policy. But what is a corporate travel policy anyway? And how does it influence or affect the success of a company’s travel program? As part of our definition series blogs, we’ll examine this business travel industry topics, along with its subtleties and additional items to consider.

Definition: Corporate travel policy

A corporate travel policy is a set of guidelines created by a company for their business travel. Used by their travel managers and employees as they plan trips on behalf of the company, to typically outlines protocol on travel. For example, the requirements needed to book business class seats. The main objective of an effective travel policy is to keep travelers safe, while also adhering to the company’s guidelines. Reducing travel costs is usually a high priority too. If a corporate travel policy is easy to understand, oversees traveler’s security, and up-to-date; overall compliance of the policy will likely be higher as well.

Creating a travel policy for everyone

This is one of the most difficult parts of creating a travel policy. How can you make a travel policy as efficient as possible for company’s bottomline, but also easy to use and convenient for the employee traveling on the policy? For example, a company creates a policy that requires the traveler to always select the cheapest ticket possible. Sounds like a solution for reducing travel costs, right? What’s often overlooked is the added stressors put on the traveler. What if the cheapest flight is a red eye with a 5 hour layover? Yes, it’s cheaper, but it’s hard to sustain employees morale when they’re facing the brunt of the ramifications. As Scott Gillespie, a travel industry expert, points out, an unhappy business traveler often leads to ineffective work. This ultimately results in lower ROI and even employee’s leaving the company. Is saving on travel costs worth possibly losing accounts or going through the rehiring process?

An effective travel policy finds the right balance of rewards and pleasures for the traveler, while also limiting what is ultimately unnecessary. For example, most companies have found that travelers are more compliant with the policy if they keep their accumulated flight and hotel reward points from their trips. A restriction may be a certain length of flight is requires before business class seats are considered for travel. By understanding the desires of your traveler, and setting reasonable limits, a company is more likely to find the middle balance of corporate travel policy.

Anything else I should know about travel policies?

Getting employees to comply to a travel policy is always difficult. And it’s usually for a few different reasons. One, is not enough education on the new policy. Sometimes travelers just don’t know they should be booking flights a certain way. Another is difficulty reporting travel. If expenses are missing or late, it could be a user experience issue. Business travel is hard enough, adding on a bulky or slow expense reporting system is usually a recipe for disaster. One interesting item that should be noted is the rate of compliance by different generations. How Baby Boomers and Millennials prefer to interact with data and compliance is quite different. Not surprisingly, Millennials are often more compliant when it can be done quickly through an email or app on their smartphone. Having a reporting or booking process that aligns with the behaviors of your business travelers is often essential. Read more about it in our in our Millennial travel policy blog.

Because the corporate travel policy is often the heart of a travel program, it is one of the first items we create or adjust when a client joins us. Our experienced account managers know what will work to reach your goals, alongside your company culture. Combined with our vendor relationships and specifically created technology to adhere to your policy, we ensure your travel program goals are always met. To learn more about our approach, technology, or cost-savings tactics, please feel free to contact one or our experts.

For a more thorough look at corporate travel policies, read our guide to creating an effective travel policy.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee

Kevin is a Business Development Executive from Montgomery, Alabama. He has more than 15 years of experience in the travel industry, with a specialized interest in higher education and government contract travel management. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

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