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NEW YEAR, NEW CORPORATE TRAVEL POLICY

Have you ever heard of the saying, ‘new year, new me’? Well, it’s time to introduce you to our favourite saying: ‘New year, new corporate travel policy’.

If you’ve travelled for business for any length of time, you will know that a businesses travel policy is their travel bible. Including everything from what hotels and airlines you can use to what to do if you get stranded overseas, your corporate travel policy is vital to ensuring your business trips not only run smoothly, but also run to budget.

A 2015 study undertaken by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives found that 72% of travel managers were unhappy with their level of travel compliance. If this sounds like you, why not take the opportunity to grab the bull by the horns and update things this year? The team at Pulse Travel are professionals at creating and updating corporate travel policies, and they have a few tips on what to consider when you start strengthening yours:

1. Is Your Corporate Travel Policy Still Valid?

There’s no denying it, the way we travel has changed vastly over the last two years. While corporate travel is slowly returning to more normal levels, there are still plenty of new hurdles to jump over before your employees jet off on their next business trip, and your corporate travel policy needs to reflect that.

A few things you should consider are:

  • What are the valid reasons for business trips?
  • Are your preferred hotels still COVID-safe and operational?
  • Is it still appropriate for your employees to use rideshare vehicles?
  • What happens if your employee becomes unwell while travelling?

Business travel is certainly going to look vastly different compared to 2019. There are several benefits of a strong, valid corporate travel policy, so ensuring that yours is up-to-date is vital. If you’re not sure how to write or update your travel policy, the team at Pulse Travel will be happy to assist.

2. Consult With Your Employees

If you want to ensure that your corporate travel policy is followed to the letter in 2022 and beyond, the best way to do it is to communicate with your employees about their wants and needs.

Now, before we go further, we should caveat all of this with the knowledge that you can never please everybody. Suggestions may be unrealistic, out of budget, clash or be outdated, but if you want to ensure your policy is followed, the best way to do it is to consult with the boots on the ground (or in the air).

Depending on the size of your business, there are a few ways you could do this. Larger businesses may wish to send out a company-wide survey inviting people to give their opinions, while smaller businesses may wish to sit down with each travelling employee and discuss their wants and needs. Consulting your employees may help not only uncover policies that no longer serve your travellers, but also help to discover new ways to cut costs without significantly impacting travel, giving them a sense of inclusion and involvement that will make them more likely to follow it.

3. Are Your Employees Appropriately Educated On Your Policy?

Ensuring that your corporate travel policy is followed requires two ingredients: Communication and education.

The start of the year is commonly the most popular time for hiring new staff, and if they’re likely to be embarking on business trips, they need to be trained on what they can and can’t do.

Having a strong business policy is all well and good, but if your employees aren’t clear on what’s included, there is no point in having one at all –  they need to be clear on what rideshare services can be used (and whether rideshare during peak hours is approved), which restaurants are approved and what expenses can be reimbursed at the end of the trip, among other things.

While educating your new staff on your travel policy is essential, it’s also a wise idea to require regular refresher courses with your existing staff, ensuring that they’re kept in the loop with any updates and changes that are made. Employing a corporate travel management team such as Pulse Travel can go a long way to assisting with all of this.

4. Is Your Policy Clear And Accessible Enough?

Have you ever tried to follow a set of instructions that you didn’t understand? It can often work out badly, and it’s the same for your corporate travel policy.

Your corporate travel policy is your travel instruction manual, and if you want your business trips to be a success, it needs to be clear and accessible.

When your corporate travel policy is originally written, it will likely include a wealth of complex terms that can easily confuse your travellers and lead to accidental non-compliance. A simple way to avoid this is to ensure any key terms are defined, and any key areas clearly noted for people to refer back to when required. Having your travel policy readily available through your travel policy will also mean that it’s there when people need it the most, making it easy to refer back to and thus easier to follow.

5. Have You Taken Appropriate Advantage Of New Technologies?

The land of travel technology is always improving and transforming, and in a generation where technology is as familiar as the backs of our hands, incorporating it into your corporate travel policy is important.

Travel technology can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Online booking tools can be used to track expenses and manage compliance, while end-to-end solutions can help you keep track of the entire process, from booking flights and hotels to post-travel reports. Many corporate travel managers utilise online booking tools to ensure seamless travel for their clients, and it’s recommended that you include the details of your travel manager in your travel policy for your employees to use.

Apart from travel specific technology, there is also a range of other non travel-specific technologies that you may want to enforce in your updated corporate travel policy. Online, company-wide calendars can help coworkers to keep track of each other’s meetings and movements, and internal communication such as Microsoft Teams can ensure efficient communication.

Changing and strengthening your corporate travel policy is not something that can happen overnight. As your business slowly returns to corporate travel, it’s important to check that you have a strong, clear and valid travel policy to ensure your employees are happy and compliance levels are high.

If you’re considering returning to corporate travel throughout 2022, the experienced team at Pulse Travel would be happy to update your existing travel policy with you, or help you to create a new one that’s modern and ironclad. Don’t leave it to the last minute and get caught out with a policy that’s out of date and hard to understand – get in contact with our team today.

I can’t figure out how to do an emdash on a Mac. Fight me.

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