The travel industry has changed in recent years, and your travel policy should change to reflect the new reality. Here’s a checklist for creating an effective travel policy that’s helpful now and in the future.
Things are different in both the corporate world and the travel industry than they were just a few years ago. Has your travel policy changed to address the new environment? If not, it’s time to rethink your policy and create one that can guide your travel program for years to come.
If you need help getting started, here’s a 6-point checklist for you to walk through as you update your travel policy to maximize your program’s success for the long-term.
1. Evaluate Your Existing Travel Policy
As a Travel Manager, you’re likely already aware of gaps or shortcomings in your existing travel policy. That doesn’t mean you need to start over from scratch. But you should identify areas that need to be adjusted, as well as new sections that need to be added to your policy.
For example, does your current policy help you live up to your duty-of-care responsibility to Travelers? Does it reflect how business travel has evolved in recent years? (Including a focus on health and wellness plus considerations for sustainable business travel.) Does it factor in your corporate culture? For your travel policy to remain effective over the long-term, you’ll need to be comprehensive when addressing emerging areas and needs.
2. Outline Your Goals
What are your goals in creating a new travel policy? Your goals will likely align with your existing pain points. For example do yo want to:
- Limit questions and support needs from Travelers?
- Reduce administrative paperwork?
- Reduce travel spend?
- Streamline the booking and approval processes?
- Boost overall Traveler satisfaction or compliance?
- Reduce your carbon footprint?
The answers to these questions, and similar questions unique to your business, can help guide the policy creation process. By identifying them at the beginning of the process, you can use them as a north star that will help you create the best policy possible for your company and team.
3. Get Input From Stakeholders
Many team members are affected by your company’s travel program and policy. Make sure you get input from these team members before you start creating a new policy.
Get input and feedback from Travelers, from Executives and from other Travel Managers. Talk to the human resources department and office managers about the travel process and how it impacts their work. Get in touch with IT about travel technologies and opportunities for improvement.
Each of these groups, and perhaps others, will have information that’s valuable during the policy creation process.
4. Create an Outline
Now it’s time to start creating your travel policy. Based on the first three steps above, create an outline of everything that should be included: processes for booking and expenses, spend limits, pre-trip approval requirements, allowable and non-reimbursable expense categories, key contacts, plus more. Again, it’s important to create a comprehensive policy that addresses as many questions and topics as possible.
5. Socialize a Draft Copy
Once you’ve created a first draft of your new policy, go back to the same group of stakeholders listed above to get their opinions. A travel policy should reflect the needs of many different groups within your organization, and you’ll want early feedback from those groups.
Keep in mind that you won’t be able to please everybody all the time. A good travel policy brings balance to the program, allowing burdens to be shared broadly across the organization. A good travel policy also positions the company to save money and Travelers to be as productive and comfortable as possible.
6. Find Opportunities for Automation
This is where travel technologies come into play: Find ways to automate as many tasks as possible. This reduces the burden on Travelers and on Travel Managers. When you incorporate the right travel technologies for your organization, booking and approvals move more quickly, risk management becomes simpler, expense management is streamlined, and your organization enjoys a range of other benefits. Automation is impossible without the right mix of tools and technologies.
Get Travel Policy Support
You don’t have to create a new travel policy in a vacuum. At JTB Business Travel, we regularly work with clients who need support crafting the right policy, choosing the ideal technologies, plus more. We use a common-sense approach to business travel to provide services and make recommendations.
Contact us to learn more about how we can support your travel policy needs